The Bridge by Jess Mowry: all rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work by any means except short excerpts for use in reviews. The Kindle edition, to date, is the only legally authorized ebook or web-accessible edition of this work. If you find this book being offered anywhere else, either as a download or to be read online, it is there without the author's permission and in violation of copyright law.
Thirteen-year-old Bilal was raised as a Muslim but is questioning his faith... as well as many other things that people of his age often question. Bilal's middle-class parents were killed in a car accident when he was ten, and he's been living with his devoutly Muslim grandfather in West Oakland, California, where he's learned the rules of innercity life... vastly different from life in the 'burbs. His best friend was murdered in a drive-by shooting and, partly prompted by his faith to do the right thing, Bilal testified against the gang members involved, sending them to prison. He is now under a death sentence from the remainder of the gang, who also want to kill his grandfather. There is no witness protection for kids like Bilal -- black and poor -- though a biracial pair of good Oakland cops help Bilal, both within and beyond the call of duty. For his own safety, Bilal's grandfather has to move, and Bilal is sent to live with two cousins in a small rural town in the Sacramento River Delta, an area of mostly farms and what some might call traditional American values... in some cases the worst but in many the best. Though less than two hours by bus from Oakland, it's like being on another planet for Bilal, and again he must learn to adapt and make friends in a strange new environment while being the only black kid in town... and a Muslim on the under. Meanwhile, the gang is looking for him, and though thrown off his trail by the Oakland cops, eventually discover where he is. It's an alien environment for them, too, where the rules of thug life don't apply as they try to hunt down their victim.