Review: A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

Posted November 16, 2020 by Angie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Review: A Line in the Dark by Malinda LoA Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on October 17, 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, LGBTQ, Contemporary, Mystery
Format: Hardcover (288 pages)
Source: Library
Purchase: Amazon
Add Book: GoodreadsBookhype

The most important thing is that Jess Wong is Angie Redmond's best friend, even if Angie can't see how she truly feels. It's okay that Jess is the girl on the sidelines that nobody notices. That means she's free to watch everyone else and be at Angie's side. But when Angie starts falling for Margot, a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess can already see what's going to happen. And suddenly her gift for observation is a curse.

As Angie drags Jess further into Margot's circle, Jess finds more than her friend's growing crush. Secrets lie just beneath the carefree surface of this world, 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.

three-stars

I am so confused about my feelings for A Line the Dark. On one hand, I could not put it down! I was hooked! I had to know who killed Ryan and why! On the other hand, it utilizes one of my least favorite tropes to up the suspense which left me annoyed with the climax. Then the epilogue happened and I was just left confused, because the series of events doesn’t quite line up. Maybe that’s on purpose? Unreliable narrator? I don’t know, but I didn’t like that.

A Line in the Dark starts with best friends, Jess and Angie, at the start of a new school year. Angie starts dating one of the girls from the local boarding school, and Jess is not happy about this. She has her reasons, but it puts a strain on their relationship. The relationship between Jess and Margot is also tense, because the girls just cannot get along, even for Angie’s sake. It all comes to a head during a party, which is when events get muddled, and Margot’s friend Ryan turns up dead. Who saw Ryan last? Who was the last to talk to her? Did someone drive her somewhere? No one knows!

Jess is the narrator for about the first half of the book. We really get to see her feelings toward all of these girls. It’s messy, but does that make her a murderer? Someone is trying to make it seem that way. However, once we start getting the police transcripts, Jess’ narration turns from first-person to third-person. That is never a good sign. It always means that our narrator knows something that we’re not suppose to know yet. Why couldn’t the entire book have been in third-person to avoid this suspicious flip? It just didn’t work out, especially because the truth comes out in one of the transcripts and not in the narration anyway. Then the epilogue goes back to Jess’ first-person account and doesn’t line up with her previous chapters.

A Line in the Dark really was awesome, except for the odd narration change in the middle. I was definitely hooked by the mystery and invested in Jess’ story. I just wish the ending had hit me harder. The narration change took some of the momentum away and didn’t make the epilogue the surprise it should have been.

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