STARRED REVIEW
October 17, 2017

The complicated boundaries of friendship

By Malinda Lo

Jessica Wong and Angie Redmond are always together . . . until Margot and Ryan, students at the local boarding school, walk into the ice cream parlor where Angie works. Margot and Angie hit it off and start to date, but Jess hates Margot immediately. In part, it’s because of Margot’s actions, but it’s also simply because of her presence: Margot and Angie’s relationship forces Jess to articulate her own longstanding romantic attraction to Angie.

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Jessica Wong and Angie Redmond are always together . . . until Margot and Ryan, students at the local boarding school, walk into the ice cream parlor where Angie works. Margot and Angie hit it off and start to date, but Jess hates Margot immediately. In part, it’s because of Margot’s actions, but it’s also simply because of her presence: Margot and Angie’s relationship forces Jess to articulate her own longstanding romantic attraction to Angie.

Eventually, the four girls confront one another at a party that ends in tragedy—and confusion. A body is later found in the woods, and the girls’ intersecting loyalties may have something to do with it. What does each girl know? How do their various accounts fit with evidence discovered by investigating detectives? Who is lying, and why?

As the main tale unfolds, so does a parallel internal one: Jess, a talented cartoonist, is searching for an origin story for her anime character Kestrel. Do Kestrel’s feelings parallel Jess’ own?

Author Malinda Lo’s A Line in the Dark is filled with mystery, suspense, romance and an exploration of friendship’s boundaries (or its lack thereof). Known for writing complex and diverse characters, Lo tells her new story in a combination of flashbacks, Jess’ first-person voice, transcripts of interviews and a spooky, omniscient third-person narrator. Each time readers think the truth is about to be revealed, another twist awaits. The denouement will have readers scrambling back through the book’s pages, looking for clues they missed on the first read.

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A Line in the Dark

A Line in the Dark

By Malinda Lo
Dutton
ISBN 9780735227422

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