Book Review: A Line In The Dark by Malinda Lo

Book: A Line In The Dark by Malinda Lo

Published October 2017 by Dutton Books For Young Readers|288 Pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary/YA 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.

This book was a strange one, and it ended up being okay, at least for me.  I felt like what happened in the book was very different than what I thought would happen.  It seemed like it would be this creepy, sinister book in the vein of Pretty Little Liars, but it ended up being more of this YA contemporary about friendships and unrequited love.  I feel like the blurb didn’t really describe what actually happened, and it was hard to like it when there was such a mismatch.

I did like Jess, and while she was very much flawed (and with a self-destructive streak), she was still a really complex and interesting character.  I liked how artistic she was, and that graphic novels were her thing.  I feel like artistic characters tended to be painters or photographers, and graphic novels were a nice change from that.  It was interesting how much it seemed to mirror her own life, and I wish we saw a little more of that.

There is a mystery aspect, but it didn’t happen until later on in the book, and it fell flat for me.  I wasn’t particularly interested in it, and I feel like it should have been introduced a lot earlier in the book.  It was definitely set up too late for my liking.  I will say that the ending of the book was a lot different than what I expected, and it’s an unusual way to do things.  I sort of liked it, but I think it would have had more impact if it didn’t take so long for it to actually happen.

It was such a confusing, strange read, because it felt like I was reading two very different stories.  It’s like Lo started telling one story, and then suddenly changed her mind about what kind of story she wanted to tell.  On their own, I think it would have been fine, but together?  Not so much.  They didn’t work together at all.

This book wasn’t for me, obviously, though there were a few things I liked.  Very few things, but one thing I liked that I haven’t talked about is the cover!  That cover definitely got my attention when I saw it at the library, and I did partially check it out because of the cover.  Also, I’ve read a few of her other books and liked them, but this one is my least favorite, and if you’re going to pick up a Melinda Lo book, I would not recommend this one, especially if you’ve never read one of her books before.  I mean, if it sounds cool for you, that’s great, and obviously everyone has different tastes, but I’d probably re-read one of her other books before I’d pick up this one.

2 stars.  A Line In The Dark was just okay, and while there were a few things I liked, it wasn’t enough to put it in the I liked this book category.

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