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Under The Bridge

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3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  952 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
The murder of Reena Virk in 1997 is one of the most notorious and heartbreaking casesin Canadian history. In Under the Bridge, acclaimed author Rebecca Godfrey revealsthe stunning truth about a Canadian tragedy that captured international headlines.Godfrey spent six years researching the case, conducting exclusive interviews withparents, classmates, police, prosecutors and ...more
Paperback, 351 pages
Published September 14th 2006 by Harper Collins Canada (first published September 19th 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Matthew
Jun 21, 2016 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, true-crime, 2016
I thought the first third of the book was just so-so (I thought the writing felt immature), but then it grabbed me and drug me in. I was thinking maybe it had an immature feel to highlight the immature actions of the kids being discussed. In the end, it was perfect in the way it was written because I went back and forth between thinking I knew exactly what happened to questioning everything.

One of the saddest parts was seeing how these teenagers acted. I have two little kids and it scares me to
...more
Vicki Willis
Jul 15, 2016 Vicki Willis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime, z-2016
This was so depressing, but a great book. It was about a 14 year old girl murdered by her classmates. It makes you think about mob mentality, being able to speak up, parenting, teenagers and socio-economics. If it wasn't true, I wouldn't have believed it could happen.
The one positive thing in the book was the way Reena's parents were able to handle her murder and their ability to forgive. I would not be able to do that and their grace was admirable.
The only thing that kept it from 5 stars was
...more
Rainbow
Anyone who was living in Victoria in the early 1990s knows all about what happened to Reena Virk. This book attempts to explain a little bit about WHY it happened, who the major players were, and what happened to them. Unfortunately, the saga of one of the two accused, Kelly Ellard, is still going on as of the date I'm writing this, so that part isn't completely covered in the book.

This book is very difficult emotionally to read. As someone who was bullied throughout my school years, I identify
...more
Emily Luba
Dec 05, 2011 Emily Luba rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Under the Bridge is a grime portrait of teenage life gone seriously wrong. I had heard the story of Reena Virk's murder on the news a few years ago, when it was going on, but this book really showed me a different side of the case. Read for my grade 11 english class, this novel terrified me, but in a good way. It is so raw, full of pure emotion, that I could clearly picture the events as it happened. I've never really been interested in crime books, but Under the Bridge really opened my eyes. Th ...more
Stacy Fetters
Nov 26, 2016 Stacy Fetters rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sneaky-librarian
Did Not Finish! Got to page 101 and had to leave this book in the dust.
My Saturday nights are simple. I'm in comfy pajamas, dog beside me sleeping, a glass of wine, and some kind of murder mystery blaring on the television.
So I'm no stranger to true crime. I breathe it in like a second air.
Under The Bridge is nothing like any of that. Yes, it's true crime, but not as mysterious and thought provoking.
What captured my attention was the prologue. Searching for the missing body and little by littl
...more
♥ Marlene♥
On Saturday, June 30, 2007 I wrote about thsi book:

I completed this 2 days ago. Really a good read indeed. Shocking story how teens kill a young girl.
Very well written and a book you can't put down once you start reading.
9I see I gave it a 9 out of a 10)
Christina
Sep 12, 2011 Christina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-10
I really can't stand the cover of this edition of the book, but since we aren't supposed to judge books by their covers, I'll try to focus on its insides. The book's topic is very appealing to high school students, so last year I had a lot of students select it as their literature circle book. However, of those students, I don't think any of them loved it. I think a lot of them liked it, but just kind of in a "ho hum, it's okay" kind of way. My personal problem with it is that I just don't think ...more
Jessica
I did not care for the writing of the book, I wouldn't say she is a good author at all but the story was good. I did get a little confused when she kept adding more characters and then jumping through their stories to much, I felt like I was constantly waiting for the connection. I do remember when this happened and feel more knowledgeable now. I have been in Reena's shoes through high school and I am greatful that I was able to overcome any obstacles. Kids can be cruel and I just hope that I am ...more
Ali
Mar 16, 2011 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had been meaning to read this book for a long time. It's a horrifying subject and Godfrey does a very good job of relaying the emotions and fears and challenges of troubled teenagers in a small town, while recounting quite clinically the evidence, trials and lives of those involved in the murder of fourteen-year-old Reena Virk. The reader gets to know each of the key players - though Reena remains quite shadowy - and in knowing them, is left still with so many questions as to how this senseles ...more
The Hunter
1-terrible-horrible-awful-star

I’ve read a lot of true crime back in the days. And I believe there is a specific professional format that you have to follow as a true crime writer. But today I guess every murder deserves a book. Because why not? I wonder who bought copies of this book. Mostly Vancouver Island residents I bet.

Well, where do I start? Do I start with the point that this book had NOT enough actual case files? Or should I rage first that every other chapter was a filler? I mean, real
...more
Jackie
Dec 11, 2007 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This was my first nonfiction true crime book. After I finished it, I looked up the "main characters" on google and I think that really made it real to me. It wasn't just a story, but was actually true. In 1998, a bunch on young teenage girls got together and beat up another girl so badly that she died. All to teach her a lesson. Many participated in the beatings, but did stop at a certain point. However, in the end, one girl and one boy followed the beat up girl and drowned her. It is still unbe ...more
Nina
This was a difficult read for various reasons. Reading a book about the true murder of a teenage girl by her peers is never going to be a walk in the park, but for those who grew up on Vancouver Island it will almost certainly hit closer to home. My family moved to Canada in 1996, just under a year before Reena Virk was killed. My mother would talk constantly about how SAFE Canada was, especially Victoria, compared to where we lived just outside of London, and as an 11 year old this idealistic v ...more
Darby
Jan 08, 2014 Darby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never heard anything about this crime and it was a shocking one, a gang of girls beating up a fourteen year old schoolmate and then drowning her. I usually enjoy reading true crime books, the putting of all the pieces together. I finished this book, but I will agree with other reviewers that there was something awkward in the way the book was put together, even just the writing. Only one 'awkward family photo' of the victim and the author kept referring to her as fat or unflattering. It was ju ...more
Jessica Jesko
Overall I think that Under the Bridge was a great book but I think that Rebecca Godfrey is a poor writer. There was a lot of rambling on about things and too many characters that didn't matter. The book dragged a lot. This book has taught me how crew kids can be and the extent they will go. I liked how the author used very detailed emotion and fears through her words. One of the reasons why I kept interested throughout the book was because it was a true story so it felt so real. I think that i w ...more
Peachy
Oh, how kids can be cruel, especially when they have been given poor example and little love from the adults in their lives. This is the tragic and true account of bad parenting and the sociopaths and wayward teens it creates. We learn of a story where mob mentality, boredom, jealousy and the persecutions that often surface because of someone being different, come together and result in a young girl’s brutal murder in British Columbia. Add to all of this a ridiculously unjust and bureaucratic Ca ...more
Katie
Jun 01, 2012 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The summary of the book "Under the Bridge" was interesting to me. But the book got boring after a while. It was dragging along and some of the items that was in the book was unneeded. The first thirty pages were pretty good but it went downhill from there. I'm not saying the book was horrible but it wasn't good as I thought it was going to be. Also, the author didn't write the story very well either which was also disappointing. Overall, the story was satisfactory and could be better written.
Kristina Griffin
I remember when this "event" took place, and I was disgusted with how anyone could do that to another person...once I read this book, it made me even more sick to think what they did to this poor girl, Reena Virk. Lots of details that were not in the media (newspapers, etc).
A good read, but heart wrenching
Wolfram
Feb 06, 2010 Wolfram rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The murder of Reena Virk was a terrible crime. Ms.Godfrey tries to explain how the crime came to be. The story is disturbing and made me shiver with the subject matter. I would reccomend this to any one who wants to read a crime story that had imapcted a sleepy town like Victoria. My only complaint was that the author seemed very biased when it came to the accused.
Teresa
Mar 07, 2017 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't say that I've been looking forward to reading this one, but I also feel as a parent that it was an important read.

In the late 90's Reena Virk, considered to be a middle school outcast, shows up at a party after being heavily persuaded by her "friends." Her friends had other things in mind however, and a week later, Reena is no where to be found. After the worst is finally verified, a looong series of interrogations and trials ensue.

First off, kudos to the author who made this very reada
...more
Anna
Mar 01, 2017 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a sad, depressing, story. Kelly Ellard doesn't deserve to see the light of day. She recently gave birth. I am wondering who would ever want to have a family with a killer? Who in their right mind would do that?
Amelia
Feb 23, 2017 Amelia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the first third of the book was just so-so (I thought the writing felt immature), but then it grabbed me and drug me in. I was thinking maybe it had an immature feel to highlight the immature actions of the kids being discussed. In the end, it was perfect in the way it was written because I went back and forth between thinking I knew exactly what happened to questioning everything.
Jess Wisloski
I read this because I found it, and it was free. It was utter crap. Godfrey's prose is retarded. She writes as if she thinks she's doing a great job, but we all know better. Or maybe she really writes like crap, and her editors intone a touch of ego so she's at least got something going for her. I only gave this tale - the true crime retelling of a teenage girl's murder in a small Pacific, Canadian island town - two stars because the book used a lot of found photographs. Pictures, especially in ...more
April Horak
Apr 01, 2008 April Horak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this book after learning about the incident in one of my criminal justice classes. Had it been a fiction novel,I may not have enjoyed it as much. It was a true story, however, and it broke my heart. I began looking at all the people I had known in my life that longed to fit in to a group. I thought about how people had used, lied an manipulated to get what they want. I never would have thought, though, that a group of friends would kill someone so desperate to fit in for no app ...more
Nancy
Feb 08, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caitlin
Jan 23, 2017 Caitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a spine chilling novel that is based on the true story of the murder of Reena Virk. "Under the Bridge" took an event that happened in Victoria, British Columbia, and made sure all the facts were known to the reader. Rebeca Godfrey did an absolutely incredible job researching about the murder and creating a novel that was so realistic and packed with all the facts of the murder. Godfrey took a horrible story and wrote it for the world to see just how cruel people can be. This murder was u ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life
3 STARS

"Many twists and turns, "Under the Bridge" examines a terrible crime in which middle-class teenagers obsessed with film idols and hip-hop culture turn on one of their own with tragic results. Who were the seemingly ordinary suburban teenagers who found themselves under the bridge on a moonlit Friday night? Why would a girl who longed to be their friend be beaten and killed? And how did so many teenagers keep the knowledge of a murder from parents, teachers, and police for eight days? "Und
...more
Lauren
Feb 09, 2009 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Under the Bridge gave a strange, personal insight into the lives of a group of seemingly average young, Canadian teenagers. These kids were not much younger than me at the time and that struck me even more. On the outside, what these kids did hanging out would look like basic, small town, bored kids - hanging out in a field, at convenience stores and the like. But their secret lives gave a different side of their personalities and realities. And on that one night, an overwhelming pack-mentality ...more
Berni
May 07, 2010 Berni rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Haven't read a True Crime story for a long time. The writing style was very choppy and I didn't enjoy it. There weren't enough photographs to keep all the characters in this horrible story straight. I googled the names but came up short in photos. The behaviours and choices of the murdered teen Reena Virk revealed her as troubled which was much different than she was represented in the media.


For the level of sadistic violence that this murder involved, the motivations of Kelly Ellard and Warren
...more
Sarah Gorr
Sep 20, 2013 Sarah Gorr rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
I read 155 pages of the book because it was on the free library shelf in my hotel room. The story is interesting, but the prose isn't very good. It comes off as highly stylized to the point of distraction.

I also thought her constant references to the kids' interest in hip hop came off as pretty racist. The kids like 2 Pac so they killed someone? I don't think so. It's like the stories on Columbine that blame it all on video games. It's lazy writing/research and its honestly kind of offensive.

I
...more
Anna Karen
Nov 24, 2015 Anna Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought it was an interesting story but the book was such a pain to read that I can only give it one star. Its BADLY written. The dialogue between characters is weird and never believable (no one talks like that ever) and the way every sentence is written just seems incorrect. Maybe if it was a modern poem it could work but as a book its terrible. So overall this book is just strange and could have used about 50 or so proofreaders before it got published. I was interested in the story in the b ...more
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Mystery/Suspense/...: June/July 2016 - True Crime - Under The Bridge 22 9 Aug 30, 2016 08:26AM  
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