Rating: 3/5 stars
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
Release Date: February 18, 2020
Drought and wildfires have created a climate disaster in southern Europe. When twelve-year-old Caleb and his mother travel north in hopes of seeking refuge in the habitable northern areas, they’re separated, leaving Caleb to deal on his own. After falling prey to traffickers, Caleb is put to work in an enclave outside Manchester.
When he’s befriended by a fellow victim—a neighbor with whom he can only communicate via notes left in bottles—he’s offered the chance to set out on his own and maybe craft a better life for himself. They escape together, but Caleb is soon faced with making the decisions that will shape his life forever—as a minor without his parents, it may be better for him to trust the government, hoping to eventually gain the right to remain in the country, but on the other hand, he may have more control over his own fate if he continues as an undocumented migrant worker.
Bridge 108 is the coming-of-age story of a boy making his own way in a hauntingly familiar world where it’s never clear who he can trust and where he fits in.
** Thank you to Netgalley and 47North for providing me with an eARC of this book**
There’s a lot to be admired with what this book tries to do. It’s an honest and relevant critique of some of the issues that we’re faced with today and presents a very believable scenario of the near future. But unfortunately, for me, it felt like it didn’t quite accomplish these goals.
Caleb is an interesting and motivated young man, who is just trying to make his way in the world. He’s easy to relate to and cheer for. All of the points of view have distinct voices and make clear the differing goals of the characters. It works well in that it provides a clear panoramic of a world that we can’t get from Caleb’s point of view, it also offers some perspective on where the other characters of coming from.
I can’t really pinpoint what it is about the book that doesn’t work for me. On the surface, it seems to raise some important and thoughtful questions, but I also didn’t feel like it quite accomplished its goals. Not to mention, I didn’t have a clear picture of the world, and often felt a little like I was drifting, rather than being pulled into the world.
Overall, I’d recommend this to people who are looking for near-future science fiction, especially those who have enjoyed books with a more literary bend. It didn’t quite work for me, but I’m sure it’ll be a good fit for others.
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