Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Peterson

By , Norridge, IL

I recently just read the novel Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Peterson and I am absolutely astonished. I have never read a book more realistic than this one. The genre of this book is Children’s Literature. The characters all live in a small town called Lark Creek. This story was taken place in the 1970’s in Virginia. The story is mostly taken place in the school, the woods, Jess’s house, and Leslie’s house. The book was published in 1977 by Thomas Crowell and it won the Newbery Medal in 1978.


The major characters in this novel are Jess Aarons and Leslie. They are both entering fifth grade and 11 years old. They are both outcasts so they spend a lot of time together. Jess’s dream is crushed when he finds out that a new girl, Leslie, can run faster than him. Later on, he becomes best friends with her. Before Leslie, Jess would mostly talk to May Belle, his younger sister. Jess’s family doesn’t have much money to work with, so he isn’t some sort of rich kid who dresses up fancy to school every day, but he’s very prominent. Leslie spends her holidays with his family, this shows how much closer she’s gotten to him. He treats her like family. They both go on amazing adventures together where they build a town in their imaginations called “Terabithia.”


Jess’s younger sister, May Belle, is a minor but important character in this novel. Jess never had a great relationship with her, until he introduced Terabithia to her and she became interested. Every day after school they would go to the woods, cross the bridge, and let their imagination wander. May Belle agreed to not let anybody know about this secret, it was their own little promise.


The story starts off with Leslie moving to Virginia, which means a new school and new friends. Jess was always known as the fast kid who races everyone at recess, but not until Leslie arrived. He never knew that a girl would be faster than he ever was, not until they raced. She beat him to the finish line, it was a bad day for Jess. Shortly after, instead of becoming enemies, they became close friends. They come across many difficulties such as the rainfall being hard. That made it very hard for them to cross the bridge. The climax of the story is when Jess comes back from Washington with Miss.Edmunds. He finds out that Leslie has drowned and she might not make it. This happened within a split second because Leslie swung onto the rope from one side of the lake to another and rope snapped off. Sadly, she never learned how to swim so that didn’t help her. When Jess’s dad tells him, he doesn’t believe him and tries to deny it while accusing his dad of lying to him. Leslie is known as the Queen of Terabithia forever.


I recommend kids in elementary schools to read this novel, it’s so inspirational in many different ways. It taught me that you don’t have to be popular to have good friends. Everyone is different and as long as you choose the right friends, you’ll be happy with them. I was really said when I read the part where Leslie passes away, but I was happy that Jess spent his fifth-grade year with someone he loves and enjoys being around. I think young kids have trouble finding good friends these days, but once you read this book, you’ll understand the true love of friendship.






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