Title: A Line in the Dark
Author: Malinda Lo
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
I’ve read short stories by Malinda Lo, and a few years ago, I bought one of her books, Huntress, for myself for Christmas. I really enjoyed it; it was a lovely take on a lesbian fantasy, complete with fairies, magic, and ancient prophecies. When I heard that she was penning a new thriller to come out in October, I put it on hold at the library. I picked it up, and it sat in my library stack for a while. I had one last renewal on it, so I pushed it to the top of my stack to make sure I would be able to read it before it went back. A Line in the Dark tells a story of obsession, desire, and dark secrets, and I was absolutely captivated by most of the book; however, there were some format issues that were a little bit jarring. This book was a spine-tingling, creepy psychological thriller that constantly had me guessing, and the ending stopped me in my tracks; honestly, that’s probably what saved the book for me. It wasn’t fantastic, but it wasn’t outright bad, either; it fell somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
Jess Wong and Angie Redmond are best friends and have been since sixth grade. They both come from diverse families, they’re both lesbians, and they don’t fit in at their school. But for Jess, their relationship goes so much deeper than Angie realizes; she’s passionately in love with her, so much so that the line blurs between love, devotion, and obsession. But when Angie meets a beautiful rich girl named Margot and they begin a relationship, Jess is drawn further into a dangerous world of privilege, secrets, and deception, and she realizes that Angie has no idea what’s about to go down. Determined to be there for the girl that she loves, the lives of all three girls are upturned when one of Margot’s classmates goes missing. And Jess is desperate to solve the mystery, not realizing until the end that the disappearance may have more to do with her than she ever could’ve imagined…
I liked this book; it was a tightly wound mystery that blurred the lines between love, friendship, desire and obsession. As a mystery, it was good; the ending was what really got me, by the time the book was over. I wasn’t expecting it. Jess’s narration, observant, sharp, and fierce, colored by jealousy and hopeless longing, had me glued to the pages. Her character was unreliable and a little bit insane, but I loved the fact that she was a budding comic book artist. The pacing was breakneck, and the relationship between her and Angie was fraught with emotion and volatility; the tension was enough to make me scream. I also enjoyed the way that Jess wasn’t afraid to go after what she wanted, whether it be Angie or her dreams of being an artist; she goes to Margot’s school to pursue extra training. The characters of Margot and Ryan were, at first, just stock characters of rich, privileged young women, but they both had layers that had me gasping in shock; I was absolutely astounded by them both by the end of the book, especially Ryan. The ending was what really saved the book; my jaw’s been on the floor since I finished it. This book was a taut, emotional mystery that had me guessing until the last page, literally. It wasn’t perfect, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t enjoyable! The bottom line: A mystery revolving around two girls who might be obsessed with one another, A Line in the Dark was a dark, twisty thriller that had me guessing well into the night! I really enjoyed it, despite some flaws. Next on deck: The Glass Spare by Lauren Destefano!