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A Line in the Dark is unlike any of author Malinda Lo’s novels to date. Known for her fantasy, sci-fi, and fairy tale retellings, Lo has gone over to the dark side with this fast-paced yet deliciously sensual and provocative young adult murder mystery.
Meet Jess Wong, a shy, somewhat awkward girl best known for being the best friend of Angie Redmond. Jess is in love with her Angie – painfully, desperately, so-into-her-she- can’t-see- straight in love with Angie. Jess prides herself, however, on the fact that her love is also selfless – so when Angie starts to date Margot Adams, an intimidatingly beautiful girl from the rich side of town, Jess does her best to get over her jealousy to be the supportive best friend she’s always been.
But while Jess might not be able to see straight when it comes to Angie, she has a keen artist’s eye for everything else going on around her. Margot isn’t everything she seems to be, for one thing. And one of their friends is having an illicit love affair.
When Angie convinces Jess go to a party at Margot’s house, tempers run high. Secrets, carefully hidden for so long, are spilled, and someone ends up dead. No one is what they seem – and Jess, ever the observer, must contend with the fact that all
eyes are now on her.
A Line in the Dark unfolds slowly, immersing the reader intimately in Jess’s life: her struggle with her feelings for Angie, and her jealousy and insecurity once Angie starts seeing Margot; the way in which Jess filters her world through her art, disappearing into the heroic characters and storylines she’s created in order to understand the chaos around her. In Jess, Lo creates a teenage antihero that could go toe-to- toe with all the surly greats, but she also makes the reader care for and empathize with Jess, though at times we may not like her. Lo also poses complex questions to the reader, such as, how selfless should love really be? When is it time to reveal a secret? And would you really do anything for the one you love?
As with Ash, Huntress, and Inheritance, Lo brings her characteristic and unique voice to the cast of A Line in the Dark. Lo instantly invites readers along, enticing them to stay up just a little bit later for the next big reveal, and supplies readers with one final twist that will take their breath away.
A Line in the Dark
By Malinda Lo
Dutton Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 9780735227422, 288 pp.