Friday, November 3, 2017

Book Review: A Line in the Dark

Title: A Line in the Dark
Author: Malinda Lo
Genre: Young Adult | Mystery | Thriller | LGBTQiA
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Source: Publisher
Format: Audiobook

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 (goodreads).


A Line in the Dark kept me on the edge of my seat. 
Plot: I'd never read anything by Malinda Lo and I am desperate to remedy it! The synopsis doesn't tell much, but A Line in the Dark is basically a murder mystery in which our main character turns into the prime suspect. This was a mystery that constantly had me feeling off-balanced; each chapter revealed new information about the night of the crime and I kept second-guessing who I thought was responsible, especially with Jess as the perfect unreliable narrator. I truly enjoyed how this one played out and the ending was open enough that the reader could infer what would happen next. 

Characters: Jess had me emotionally invested from the start. She was immediately cast as the outcast and lived to make her best friend and crush, Angie, happy. Their friendship frustrated me because I wasn't sure of Angie's intentions and Jess was too puppy-dog-in-love to let Margot and Angie explore their own relationship. In short, everyone was messy, and I lived for it! One aspect I really loved was that Jess created comic books and used that to explore her own growth - I thought that was a clever way to demonstrate Jess' maturity.

Worldbuilding: The setting of A Line in the Dark was everything I expected from a contemporary murder mystery - the town was set up to explore the "Average Joes" and the "Rich and Beautiful" who were across the tracks. I appreciated that Lo also allowed Jess to explore her Chinese identity in a community that was mostly white. 

Narrator Performance: Jennifer Lim breathed life into Jess Wong, there is no question about that. Lim didn't just read the lines, she acted out the dialogue and inner monologues so that it felt like I was in a movie. When Jess was drunk, it actually sounded like Lim was slurring her words to help the reader understand the scene. 

Short N Sweet: A Line in the Dark was fun and confusing in the best way, I hope more readers pick this up when they're looking for their next read!  


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