Book Nerd Vlog Post
Lewis Buzbee is the author of Fliegelman's Desire, After the Gold Rush, First to Leave Before the Sun, and The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. Steinbeck's Ghost, his first novel for younger readers, was selected for the California Library Association's John and Patricia Beatty Award, and was a Smithsonian Notable Book. His second middle grade novel, The Haunting of Charles Dickens, won the Northern California Book Award and was nominated for an Edgar Award. Bridge of Time, will be published in 2012. A bookseller and publisher for over 20 years, he has taught for the last 12 years in the MFA program at University of San Francisco.
Best friends Lee Jones and Joan Lee have a lot more in common besides their names. On the eve of their class trip, they each learn their parents are getting divorced. Ugh. The class trip is a dud, so Lee and Joan steal away to talk. What follows is an afternoon nap in a lighthouse, walking up to find the Golden Gate Bridge gone—gone!—and meeting a young man named Sam Clemens, who is on the run from a mysterious stranger.
Lee and Joan wonder: Where are they? What year is it? Why don't their cell phones work? How will they get back? Do they even want to? Will life ever be the same?
Lewis Buzbee’s Bridge of Time is a compelling story about two young best friends, Lee Jones and Joan Lee. On a class field trip to Fort Point, they each learn their parents are getting a divorce. They drift apart from their class and find a lighthouse to talk over about the bad news. The long day had made it very exhausting and they eventually take a nap in the lighthouse. Upon waking up, they look out of the lighthouse windows and they see that the Golden Gate Bridge is gone. Below they see soldiers loading up the canons that are affixed to the fort. They take refuge inside the lighthouse when a young man named Sam Clemens comes in and tells them they have become “unstuck” in time, an occurrence that frequently happens to him. The two best friends learn they are in the year 1864 and set forth on an adventure throughout the many eras of San Francisco trying to figure out how to get back into their own time.
Buzbee brilliantly mixes adventure, history, humor and philosophy into this fast-paced story. The description of 1864 San Francisco is magnificent. Even the darker side of that era’s racism is covered in frightening details. The meaningful history presented in the tale is just as interesting as its remarkable plot. Bridge of Time is aimed at middle schoolers, but I found myself enjoying it. Having a male and a female main character is a plus. Lee and Joan as well crafted and have similar problems that many kids their age face. Aside from their “unstuck” predicament, many middle schoolers will easily relate to them. Buzbee’s writing style kept in tone with the book’s history lesson and cleverly adventurous plot without one overtaking the other.
Bridge of Time is truly entertaining with a dose of history lesson. The adventure contained within is full of action and mystery and will maintain the reader’s attention. I am certain this book will be enjoyed by not just its targeted middle schoolers, but for anyone who loves history, time travelling, mystery, and grand adventure with historical figures. A must read for 2012.
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