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Under The Bridge

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  685 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Who were the seemingly ordinary teenagers who beat and killed a girl who longed to be their friend? And how could they hide the murder from their parents and teachers and the police for "eight days?"
Drawing on six years of research -- including interviews with the accused -- acclaimed writer Rebecca Godfrey answers these questions in this stunning account of the notoriou
351 pages
Published September 14th 2006 by Harper Collins Canada (first published September 19th 2005)
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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
Emily Luba
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
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
♥ 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)
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
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
Eileen Granfors
Rebecca Godfrey's fiction book, The Torn Skirt, included references in the author interview to this non-fiction book, Under the Bridge.

I realized that I had seen the 20/20 show about this murder and was interested in getting more information.

The story is a true story of school kids in Victoria, BC. These are the punk rockers, the wild-child types, whose family histories are a mess of drugs and foster homes and alcoholic parents.

Godfrey's focus is on the victim, Reena Virk, a lonely girl with few
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
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
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
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.

"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
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.
Kristina Roy
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
David Quinn
A good book with no particular flaws but nothing special to set it apart from other books in this genre. The most interesting aspect is that the victim and most of the defendants were girls in their early teens.

Books in this genre I much preferred were Victim: The Other Side of Murder (Gary Kinder); Judgment Ridge (Dick Lehr); Columbine (Dave Cullen); and In Cold Blood (Truman Capote).
I grabbed this paperback to take on the plane and it was really good. I'm a true crime junkie and this one was really chilling. A group of teenage girls get into a fight, and it spirals out of control. The author did a great a great job of getting into the heads of both the victim and the perpetrators.
Great true crime, told mostly from the perspective of the shockingly young perpetrators. I appreciated this viewpoint, but would have liked to hear more about Reena. Who was she? What were her dreams and fears? Her voice was missing. Still, this was a well told story.
This book was interesting, it gave some insight to a real life case about a 14 year old girl that was murdered. I recommend it only for the understanding of teenagers and how following a crowd can get them into some real trouble. The writing style wasn't one that I particularly liked, I know that the book was based on interviews and police reports but it would have been better if the book was written in such a way that the content wasn't interrupted constantly by quotes from those interviews and ...more
Sarah Gorr
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.

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
The characters (as portrayed) fall somewhat flat. A somewhat superficial attempt.
I found Under the Bridge to be very similar to Truman Capote’s masterpiece, In Cold Blood , except that the crime seems more horrendous. Rebecca Godfrey writes the true story of a fourteen-year-old girl who is murdered by acquaintances (also in their teens) and the investigation and trial that followed.

Godfrey culls information from court records, newspaper articles, and interviews; she writes stunningly about a very sad occurrence. This book is not for the weak-hearted or -stomached, though. I
This book is highly readable but very disturbing! I just finished it last night and lay in bed for ages afterward wondering how teenages could be so cruel, trying to remember what my friends and I were like at that age.

The book itself is not like your normal cheesey true crime paperback. It really draws you in, a real pageturner. The author must have certainly done her research on this one. The only drawback is that you never get a sense of who Reena was or why the other girls were so vicious,
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
Mark Foley
Amazing book!!! A real page turner. Very interesting. I recommend this book strongly!
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