Title: A Line in the Dark
Author: Malinda Lo
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: October 17th 2017
Number of Pages: 288
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery
The line between best friend and something more is a line always crossed in the dark.
Jess Wong is Angie Redmond’s best friend. And that’s the most important thing, even if Angie can’t see how Jess truly feels. Being the girl no one quite notices is OK with Jess anyway. While nobody notices her, she’s free to watch everyone else. But when Angie begins to fall for Margot Adams, a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess can see it coming a mile away. Suddenly her powers of observation are more curse than gift.
As Angie drags Jess further into Margot’s circle, Jess discovers more than her friend’s growing crush. Secrets and cruelty lie just beneath the carefree surface of this world of wealth and privilege, and when they come out, Jess knows Angie won’t be able to handle the consequences.
When the inevitable darkness finally descends, Angie will need her best friend.
“It doesn’t even matter that she probably doesn’t understand how much she means to me. It’s purer this way. She can take whatever she wants from me, whenever she wants it, because I’m her best friend.”
A Line in the Dark is a story of love, loyalty, and murder.
Twisting, dark and disturbing, A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo is a diverse read that explores the depths of friendship, identifying and accepting one’s sexuality, obsession and murder.
What I liked:
• Dark atmosphere and eerie vibe from the very beginning.
• We were welcomed by an intriguing prologue but the story started 14 weeks ahead of the time when the prologue occurred. It took us back from the very beginning of it all. We followed every step the characters took till they reached that scene on the prologue and it helped a lot on giving us a sense of direction on the story.
• It wasn’t about “goody-goody” type of teenagers. Jess, Angie, Margot and Ryan, all of them have their own secrets and flaws – they carry this certain darkness in their characters – which contributed a lot on making this book felt more dark and mysterious.
• It didn’t focus on f/f romance which was a bit surprising given how the characters and their relationships and feelings toward each other were introduced. In fact, the main character wasn’t involved in any romance at all.
• The narration from Jess’ perspective. This left me not entirely knowing what was happening since I can only see things from her perspective.
• Lo created another world inside this world through Jess’ comics. It kind of gave us a glimpse of what was going on Jess’ mind. Because despite we are following the story through her perspective, Lo managed to make me feel like there were still a lot of things about Jess that I wasn’t seeing.
• The insane ending. I thought I got things figured out. I thought I can already safely rate and draft my review. I thought since I was on the last chapter, I already reached the end of it all. MAN, I WAS SO WRONG. I literally cursed while reading the epilogue.
• After reading this I felt like a huge idiot for underestimating this book. All the thoughts I had, the rating I was so sure of giving, all of those, I began to question. It suddenly left me not knowing what to believe anymore.
Have I mentioned that this is also diverse? It has Asian characters and Jess, Angie and Margo are queer as well.
What I didn’t like and actually prevented me from really enjoying this:
• The writing. The writing was not really good but not that bad either. It was just okay.
• It was boring for most of the first part.
• Aside from the prologue, it is neither gripping nor intriguing. I started to be really intrigued when a murder case finally came into the picture which was almost halfway through the book already.
• It is a thriller but it is not thrilling at all.
If you are finding a really good YA mystery or thriller book, this is actually not the book I would immediately recommend but if you are just into a dark read with Asian and queer characters that explores friendship and obsession, you might want to check this out.
Malinda Lo is the author of several young adult novels including the sci-fi thriller Adaptation; the sequel, Inheritance, will be published Sept. 24, 2013. Her first novel, Ash, a retelling of Cinderella with a lesbian twist, was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Andre Norton Award, and the Lambda Literary Award. Her novel Huntress was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Malinda is co-founder with Cindy Pon of Diversity in YA (diversityinya.tumblr.com), a project that celebrates diversity in young adult books. Malinda lives in Northern California with her partner and their dog.
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*A huge thanks to Penguin Random House foe providing an eARC. This, by any mean, did not affect nor influence my review.*