Bridget reigns over her high school like an ice queen. Teachers, geeks, even so-called friends are treated with near equal contempt and with such a brazen manner your jaw aches with being dropped. Backstabbing and self-serving antics are as natural to her as parties and Prada, but crises are beginning to build as the result of Bridget’s way of life. Expulsion begins to look likely. A new girl edges in on her popularity. As Bridget tries to escape a tricky situation, she ends up in a car crash. Instead of dying, she wakes up in a strange boardroom, facing the five people whose lives she’s made an utter misery. And it sounds like they will decide if she lives or dies.
To trigger an epiphany, Bridget is made to literally walk in their shoes as events related earlier in the book by Bridget are revisited from these characters’ points of view, now seeing their hidden actions and experiencing their full range of emotions that she knew nothing, and cared nothing, about.
It’s a nifty concept of a teen queen Scrooge getting a wake-up call, and while there’s no doubt seeing things so literally from another person’s point of view would life-altering, Bridget’s inevitable change of behaviour feels a bit easy, and too clean. While there are glimpses of the motivations and emotions in the making of such a shallow character, they lack a real emotional punch. The story is competently related though, if a bit by the numbers, and Paige Harrison is so empathetic with teen fears and priorities that many readers will enjoy just going with its flow.
Where this books shines is in its depiction of Bridget’s shallowness. It moves beyond cliché and resists glamourising Bridget as a sassy princess, but clearly shows she is a bully who is doing real damage to the people around her as well as limiting her own life with her selfishness. While teens might buy into this book to enjoy the Gossip Girl factor, there’s a good chance they will come away thinking more deeply about such behaviour: you might thrill at the audacity of such characters, but it’s a good reminder that they are not something to aspire to.