I’m not sure if Bridge to Terabithia was the first novel I read, but it was the first one I remember really affecting me. I read it in elementary school, when my favorite books were silly little mysteries such as The Bailey School Kids and Cam Jansen series. The characters face some minor challenges in those books, but everything ends up okay in the end. So, while reading Bridge to Terabithia, I was not at all expecting its devastating ending.
Bridge to Terabithia was one of the first books to introduce me to hints of romance and developed relationships between characters. I remember desperately wanting the two main characters, Jesse and Leslie, to kiss by the end of the novel. It also showed me that a book can be both fantastical and rooted in real life. The novel is about two kids who create their own fantasy world (Terabithia) in a secluded forest, while still dealing with the hardships of bullying and family life. My favorite books are ones that take me to a different world while teaching me something about my own, and Bridge to Terabithia was the first to do this.
I remember exactly where I was when I finished reading this book, because I was so affected by the ending. I was under the impression that this was a children’s book (being a child myself) and I didn’t think that bad things could happen in children’s books. Luckily, Bridge to Terabithia didn’t scare me away from books forever, but made me more interested in them. I saw that books could be a safe hiding place from the mysteries of the world as well as an open door to discovering them.
It sounds cheesy, but I definitely felt a change within myself after reading this novel. I remember sitting there, with the book in my hands and tears on my face, thinking, “This is what it feels like to grow up.”
Do you remember the first novel you ever read? Or was there one that particularly affected you? Let me know below!