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Jess never thought that he would not be the faster runner in fifth grade. After all, he had trained every day of the summer to claim the title. Moreover, he was topped off by the new girl named Leslie. In the book Bridge to Terabithia by award-winning author Katherine Paterson, Jess learned to accept the second place and gradually became best friends with Leslie, who happened to move into the house next door to his.
Leslie wasn’t very welcomed at school ever since day one. She wore pants instead of dresses, ran faster than all the boys at school (which they hated), and she was considered the teacher’s pet. Although Jess was annoyed in the beginning that she had beaten him in a running race, he began to think she was cool and friend-worthy. At first, Jess was afraid of being seen at school with Leslie, but he decided that he didn’t care what others thought of him and started to hang out with Leslie at home and at school.
After a while, the two best friends decided to create Terabithia, a secret magical place just for the two of them– Jess the king, and Leslie the queen. Located in the woods, Terabithia was reached by swinging by a rope across a river. Meanwhile, when everything started going in the direction that Jess wanted, they got into trouble with a big, daunting 7th grader at school, once she even caused Jess to have a suspension. Seeking revenge, they embarrassed her in front of the entire school with a clever prank from Leslie. Even with all this drama around them, they knew that they could always find peace and happiness in Terabithia, their sanctuary.
One day, a terrible accident occurred and affected one of them deeply. But no matter what happens, Jess lived happily, bold and strong-willed, because Leslie had changed him into who he truly was.
This heartbreaking novel will move you to tears. Paterson tells a story of friendship bonded together through an imaginary world, Terabithia. If you enjoy Paterson’s other books, I can guarantee that you will absolutely love this one!
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, HarperCollins, 192 pp.
Age Range: 12-14
Grade Level: 6-8