Under the Bridge
Michael Harmon's fast-paced and highly charged novel captures the enduring bond between brothers and their struggle for survival on the gritty streets of Spokane.
“Under the Bridge” follows Tate, a seventeen-year-old high school boy whose life revolves around skating at the local skate park and hanging out with his crew. That is until his younger brother Indy decides to get himself kicked out of school, get in kahootz with the new meth dealer in town, and become an accessory to a brutal murder here and there. Now Tate has to find a way to save his brother from a life in prison without getting himself thrown behind bars.
After reading just the synopsis of Tate’s story, I think we can all agree that a malfunctioning DVR doesn’t even come close to a real problem. Tate’s ordeal really slapped me in the face as to how lucky I am to have a life that is relatively problem free. This is such an important message for teenage readers out there, especially at such a hormonal and emotional time in which every slight glitch seems like such a CATASTROPHE! Seeing Tate actually have to fight for the life of his loved ones really puts things into perspective. Maybe getting turned down by your crush, or having to stay home to do chores around the house, or missing out on that spot on the varsity team isn’t so bad after all. What Harmon shows us through Tate’s story is that it’s not giving up that matters. Tate’s determination shows readers that if you fight for what you know is right, things will eventually work out. Sure, it might not be in the most graceful of ways, but eventually, the pieces will all fall into place.
Another great aspect of Harmon’s writing is that his depiction of Tate’s struggles physically affects you. Seeing Tate go to drug infested warehouses in the search for his brother left my heart pounding to know if he was going to get out of there alive. I found myself saying “Ooooooooh” out loud as my brain didn’t know any other way to let out the tension I was feeling when Tate discovered his brother was using hard drugs. I clutched my heart as Tate risks his life and his freedom to scheme Indy out of the destitute situations he has put himself in.
Despite the cliché, Harmon keeps you on the edge of your seat, and there were literally times where I was perched on the edge of my seat with anxiety. Ultimately, I was able to lean back and take it all in, as Harmon delivers a solid finish that could have gone sappy, happy go lucky, but didn’t. Instead, there was a nice balance of the good and the bad, and really, that’s what life is all about: Finding the good things in life that encourage you to keep fighting and move forward despite the things that make you want to call it quits.
A great example of how not to lead your life.
Lessons on learning to make seemingly cumbersome rules work to your advantage.
This is a story about love, but it's also a story about hate. What happens when one teen is pushed too far over the edge could very well be what happens to anyone. The streets claim you and when there is nobody left fighting for you there is no way out. Luckily for Indy his brother never gave up on him, no matter how angry he became and Tate would stop at nothing to save his brother and bring him home.
This is one of those books that will stay with me a long time. It's hard to forget about the struggles these characters went through, not because they're extreme or disturbing, though they certainly are, but because they're real. Any number of the events that take place in this novel can happen to anybody, and they do.
The whole skateboarding aspect adds a happier, more entertaining edge to this otherwise gritty novel. I don't skate and I don't pretend to know anything about it but the author made it like you knew everything these teenagers were doing. Besides the tricks there is no extreme skater lingo in this book and for that I was glad because it probably would have taken away from the other part of this story.
I liked Tate and Indy. They were two kids who may not have had the best lives but proved that you can fix your mistakes and still have a future no matter where you come from. Just because they come from the wrong side of town and grew up surrounded by drug dealers does not mean that their lives are set to follow that path. After all of the mistakes, Indy finds the strength to turn his life around.
I really would not reccomend this for younger audiences, the topics include drugs and violence and would be better suited for more mature Young Adult fans.