Oh, I had such high hopes for The Boy on the Bridge. It sounded like something I would absolutely love and something that would break my heart at the same time. And while I did enjoy it, it just wasn't something I really loved.
There was definitely something about the writing, though, that just captivated me. I was just drawn into this so-different world, both fascinated and horrified by the conditions of a 1982 Russia. Standiford does a wonderful job recreating the world with little seemingly insignificant details that make the writing stand out.
And the writing! It's simple yet beautiful in a way and just pulls you in more. It's an intriguing story that just makes you question everything.
Like did Alexei (or Aloysha) really love Laura? I was pondering that the entire story. It was undoubtedly suspicious, but I felt like he really did love her. On the other hand...well, like I said. It was suspicious. You have to love a love story you're unsure of!
But, the love story? It was sort of horrible. It was so rushed and pretty much insta-love. Laura risked so much for someone she barely knew and she snuck him into a foreigners-only place. When they'd only met twice before. It was ridiculous! Laura was so naive, saying Aloysha loved her after only a few meetings, when already, as Laura's best friend said "half our group are already half engaged" (or something like that. I did it from memory!). She stuck up for Aloysha when she should've been suspicious and just trusted him way too much. It was just really rushed and I hated how ignorant Laura was, how she just fell so quickly in love with just a few glances and meetings.
I couldn't really connect with Laura either. She was a bit of a flat character and we never get to really know her, and it didn't seem like Standiford understood her own character that well either.
I did love seeing the other characters and how the interacted with Russia and its locals. I enjoyed reading about Karen and Dan, Ninel and "Binky". They added a sense of humor to this book that was definitely needed.
All in all, The Boy on the Bridge wasn't a terrible read, but it wasn't the best either! I'd recommend trying it out, but it wouldn't be on the top of my list.