Title: The Line
Author: Teri Hall
Publisher: Dial Books
May Contain Spoilers
An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the Unified States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It’s said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line.
Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel’s dad died in the last war. It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help.
Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right?
I enjoyed The Line, but it left me a bit disappointed at the same time. This is another case of the book not having a concrete ending, and it feels very incomplete because of it. Many more questions were raised, especially at the end, than were answered, and that left me feeling a little frustrated, knowing that I will have to wait until September to pick up where the author left off. I don’t feel that the book stands well on it’s own, so if you are interested in reading it, I would suggest holding off until Away, the next book in the series, hits store shelves later this year.
Rachel is a great character. She is intelligent and hard working, and she wants to understand the world that she lives in. That’s not going to be an easy task, because the government censors and controls most of the information available to her. Her mom home schools her, and tries to keep her curiosity in check. Rachel’s mom has a few secrets that she is desperate to keep from everyone. When her past starts to catch up with her, it’s Rachel’s turn to be supportive and brave, and believe me, she is. At first she is upset with the furtive, almost cowardly woman her mother has become, but then she realizes that all her mom is trying to do is protect her. Everything she has done since the death of her father was all designed to keep her safe.
I found the world of The Line a very fascinating place. To keep the border closed from an invading army, the government secretly erected a barrier to keep everyone out. It also serves to keep everyone in. All the better to oppress the populace. The people on the other side of The Line were abandoned in Away, left to deal with a war that they were not expecting. Terrible things happened in Away, and that is the story that interested me the most. Too bad I have to wait for the next book in the series to have some of my curiosity satisfied.
The events unfolding in The Line are all character driven, so it is a good thing that I liked all of the main cast. Even the stern Ms. Moore became more sympathetic, after bits and pieces of her past are slowly revealed during the course of the narrative. Though the pacing is a bit slow and the narrative a tad dry at times, my attention never wandered from the story. I thought The Line was a very compelling dystopian, and I am looking forward to reading more about Rachel.
Grade: I am waffling between a B and a B- because I was disappointed with the abrupt ending
Review copy purchased from Amazon