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Bridgetown High

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Is revenge truly justice.... or just a sure path to more tragedy.

Bridgetown High is an intriguing look into the minds and motives of teenagers during the 1960s.

Seventeen year old Mark Wilkerson has no memory of the fiery crash that killed his family on the Carquinez Bridge…

Now, living with his grandmother and burdened with guilt, Mark vows to find the hit-and-run driver and take his revenge. But, the only detail he remembers is round taillights swerving in front of his family’s car, and he’s shocked when he notices the car of the high school’s bully, Jeff Marino, has identical taillights—and a suspicious dent. Now he wants revenge more than ever…

Jeff believes Mark is an anti-Vietnam War activist like his cousin Gary—and despises him for it. To make matters worse, when Jeff’s girlfriend, Genie Lombardi, dumps him for Mark, it kicks Jeff’s hatred for him to a dangerous new level.

Lies and threats escalate, until drugs and a shocking death send Jeff over the edge, and his campaign to get Genie back any way he can turns violent.

When Mark’s memory begins to return, it leads to a terrifying confrontation. Will he finally prove the identity of the guilty driver? Or will he and Genie become one more tragedy associated with the Carquinez Bridge?

378 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 6, 2015

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Paul W. West

1 book47 followers

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5 stars
12 (42%)
4 stars
11 (39%)
3 stars
3 (10%)
2 stars
2 (7%)
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Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Lustful Literature.
1,822 reviews325 followers
December 2, 2015


It is hard to believe that this book is this author’s debut novel. I have to say the author’s note referencing that the setting behind this story takes place in the mid-1960’s, had me nervous going in. However, I have to be honest, the way this author wrote this story I didn’t feel lost or unaware of the surroundings within. The start to this story nearly broke my heart. AND THAT WAS ONLY THE FIRST PAGE! After that I knew I would not be able to put this book down. The story is told in multiple POV’s which I happened to enjoy a great deal.

I do not want to say much or give anything away because this one needs to be read going in blindly. I will say, once I got to that Aha moment I was floored. I really enjoyed the how the author used words, landmarks and life events to describe a setting or scene so that I really could imagine how it was in the 60’s. I can tell that this author researched a lot and put a lot of effort into this book. The conversations and language used in the book is how I would have expected it to be like in the 60’s. Like the close family unit, people’s view points on the Vietnam War and music.

Mark’s pain, anguish, grief, rage and guilt over the loss of his parents and sister is felt on every page. I can’t imagine losing my family in such a tragic way, but his author was able to have me emotionally connect so much that I felt like I was there with him sharing his pain. Mark’s need for revenge of the person responsible for their death was palpable. The three characters that surround this book were very well developed. Mark, Gina and Jeff each have a story to tell and while their lives are connected in some way. As the year unfolds secrets, manipulation and danger will follow the lives of these 3 teenagers.

I got more than what I imagined I would have when I started this book. The drama and angst level was over the top. If you love a book that has drama, action, suspense, jealously and fast cars than this is your book. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I can’t wait to see what this author brings us next.
Profile Image for Sylvia True.
Author 2 books209 followers
Want to read
September 27, 2017
Very well done book about a young man dealing with a tragic loss. The main character is written with great emotional depth. I can see how this book would appeal to a young adult audience, who would certainly relate to the main character and even learn some life lessons from him. But I also believe this novel will be compelling to all ages. The story is intriguing, and there's a good mystery woven throughout, and some vibrant characters. Great debut.
Profile Image for K.L. Byles.
Author 1 book24 followers
June 3, 2016
I enjoyed getting to know the characters in this book. We meet seventeen year-old Mark Wilkerson attending the funeral of his parents and little sister and learn they were killed in a car accident on Christmas eve that he and his other younger sister survived. The story follows him as he deals with this immense tragedy by trying to find out exactly what happened and who was responsible. There is a message about forgiveness and healing in this book.

This is a good novel in the young adult genre and the author has a great understanding of the teenage years with all their complicated emotions involving friendships, love interests, and learning where one belongs in the swirling sea of on again-off again romances. I found the minute details of who was going to the Junior Prom with whom somewhat tiring, but I understand the method behind the madness. I also questioned whether seniors would go the Junior Prom at all, but traditions may be different on the west coast where the story takes place and the east coast where I attended high school over a quarter century ago.

I liked the emphasis on forgiveness from a Christian standpoint. I enjoyed the parental wisdom of Mark’s grandmother, who courageously takes over the care of Mark and his sister while dealing with the death of her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchild. She often quotes her mother and one of the best is “’what we see today as a tragedy, we may look back at tomorrow as a blessing’”. Of course Mark balks at this advice, but the reader hopes he will one day accept what has happened and begin to enjoy life again. He does, and the reader gets to go along for the ride.

I gave this novel four stars because I felt the ending, which I will not reveal, left the reader asking too many questions. The book is enjoyable and exciting but I felt the author didn’t take enough time to tighten all the threads. That said, this book is worth the read and stays true to the genre with no profanity or sexual content, though some of the characters use alcohol and drugs. There is some violence, but no more than is seen in any television program. I highly recommend it for adults and young people alike.
Profile Image for Squid McFinnigan.
Author 4 books31 followers
July 29, 2016
I have to be honest and say that when I started reading Bridgetown High I feared it may be too much a Young Adult read for me but I was wrong. Yes, it’s a great young adult book, but it’s a book that anyone will take something from. The author did a great job of building believable characters and getting me engaged in their lives very quickly. His use of dialog in this book is excellent, and it really adds to the atmosphere of the story. I wondered if some of the emotional reactions of the characters might have been exaggerated too much until I remembered what it was like to be a teenager myself, that was when I remembered that every crush was love, every setback was a disaster, and every slight was tantamount to treason.

All in all, Bridgetown High for me was a very very enjoyable read and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone.
Profile Image for Peggy.
2,202 reviews37 followers
November 15, 2015

Absolutely loved reading this book! Fast paced and well written. The characters and story is fully developed and well balanced! Page turner at it's best right here!

*Received for an honest review*
Profile Image for Apex Reviews.
98 reviews10 followers
June 26, 2017
Set in late 60s Northern California, Bridgetown High follows a select group of teenagers throughout a year in their lives in the city of Richmond. The in media res start of the plot makes the story immediately interesting and compelling. Revenge and love are the main driving forces throughout the story, along with a few talks of the Johnson era, communism, and the Vietnam War.

The dialogue is speckled with dialect that makes the speech in itself a bit unbelievable but serves to exacerbate the characters’ unique personalities and set the story in time. The narrative jumps between different points of view to provide an omniscient perspective for the audience.

The main character, Mark Wilkerson, survives a car wreck on top of the Carquinez Bridge that kills his parents and baby sister, leaving behind just him and his sister, Amy. They are forced to move to Richmond to live with his grandmother and be near his Aunt Beatrice, Uncle Jack, and his cousin, Gary Taylor, the last remaining family. Mark remembers nothing of the wreck but is determined to find out who was driving the car that caused the accident and claims he will get vengeance.

But his life changes in this new high school, Bridgetown High, where he meets the head cheerleader, Charisse Davis, the school’s “cute girl”, Genie Lombardi, and the two troublemakers and local bullies, Bobby Baker and antagonist Jeff Marino.

What ensues is a pursuit for teenage love, including rivalries, swing dancing, lies and threats, and an eventual deathly rivalry between Mark, who thinks Jeff is responsible for the car wreck that turned his life upside down, and Jeff, who blames Mark for the negative things in his life. The rivalry culminates in drugs, alcohol, a gun, and the Carquinez Bridge, where Mark, Genie, Gary, and Jeff all face the end of their plight.

The rug is swept under the reader at the end of the book when the big finale not only reveals who is the culprit responsible for the death of Mark’s family, but also the inevitable fate of one of Mark’s love interest, Genie Lombardi.

Quick paced and full of turns, this YA romantic historical novel will captivate the reader and raise questions well after the book is over.

Ximena Blanco
Apex Reviews
Profile Image for Bennita.
1,014 reviews29 followers
August 8, 2017
It took me awhile to get pulled into the story and I think it was because I didn't feel there was a strong story goal, so I wasn't sure where the story was going. I was drawn in but the villain was so obsessed that at times he turned me off from the story. His hatred didn't felt over the top. Initially it didn't make sense, but then I considered the villain's age and how teenagers can be rather irrational and self centered so that pulled things together for me. I wish there were more happy moments for the characters. It seemed as though they were all dealing with conflict constantly and didn't have time to be kids.
February 19, 2018
It was okay

I had a hard time getting into the book and the whole story is at the end of the book. I did not care for it much at all.
Profile Image for Marsha Ceniceros.
Author 7 books15 followers
February 14, 2017
Nice suspenseful read!
Author Paul W. West, a great author and wonderful storyteller; this book is great for teenagers too. On that point is, no cursing, nor sexual content, just a downright nice read that brings the reader back to the 1960’s. The characters are filled with emotions that truly stand out, especially, Mark Wilkerson, who bears a terrible sum of guilt which leads to some scary moments. I found this story to be an overall great read, very realistic in many ways and would make a great movie! Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Kelsey.
318 reviews3 followers
December 14, 2015

I have to say...this novel surprised me. While I am one for novels set in different time frames, it's always been fantasy, or historical romance (I know, I know...). While I like my detective/mystery novels this one really took the cake, and I think it was due to the fact that it was set from a high school aged student's perspective. Not only does the reader get to experience this novel from Mark, the main character's point of view, but the reader also gets to see how others around him react to him, his devastating accident, and how that affected him, and those that begin to care about him.

The beginning of this novel started off with a bang. I was pleased that the author started off the novel with something as drastic as Mark's accident. The only problem is that Mark doesn't remember much before the accident, and is often visited by the round taillights that linger in his memory as the car sped off into the foggy, cool night. But can he bring his past to the present and finally get the revenge that he so desperately seeks??

This was a great debut novel for this author. It was a fun read, had plenty of mystery, and depth to it that had the reader asking what had really happened that night on the bridge. When you think you have an idea of who it is, and what really happened, it changed. Instantly. The moment that everything is revealed...hold on to your pants! A well written novel by a debut author. This certainly wasn't a novel I would have picked up off the shelf, but I am looking forward to further work from this author.
Profile Image for Lindsey Elyse.
Author 3 books45 followers
April 30, 2016
The longer I read this book, the more I liked it. Everything seemed real meaning that I could see everything within this book happening to a real person. Afterall, high school can be rough. Mark was thrown into a new town and new school after the tragic death of his family and younger sister. In this new town, he meets people who like him and others who don't. Each new encouter brought forward another element to his life. All the while, Mark is dealing with his loss. There are times where he shoves it under the rug, but memories are hard to keep down. Mark is the classic high schooler, a good kid, smart, and managed to regain his popularity after a little prank. Catching the eyes of Genie, Mark unwittingly becomes the target of Jeff's growing anger toward him. Without saying too much, the explosive conclusion is when Jeff goes one, or three steps too far. I really enjoyed "Bridgetown High" and hated when I had to put it down.
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews

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