Broken Bridge

Lynne Reid Banks, Author HarperCollins $16 (272p) ISBN 978-0-688-13595-9
The target audience wasn't even born when this book's predecessor, One More River, was published 22 years ago. No matter, because this gripping novel stands-indeed gallops-just fine on its own. At the behest of his father Noah, who turned his back on Israel and his first family years earlier, Glen, a rich Canadian teen, reluctantly accompanies his cousin Nili (the daughter of the heroine of One More River) to her native kibbutz, which he imagines as a ``weirdo farm village in [a] crazy country filled with barbarians.'' Readers expecting a formulaic YA story, in which Glen overcomes adversity and learns to love his new surroundings, are in for a rude shock: almost immediately he is murdered by an Arab; Nili, the sole witness, refuses to identify the assassin's companion, who unfathomably spared her life. Banks takes an unflinching look at Israel today: at the eroding kibbutzim, at the unwelcome yet much-needed Russian immigrants and, most courageously of all, at the bloody and seemingly irresolvable conflict with the Arabs. Interwoven throughout are resonant themes of homecoming, family and forgiveness. A powerful, moving tale that provides no easy answers for Jew or Arab, this novel should provoke much thought and discussion. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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