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A Line in the Dark
Contributor(s): Lo, Malinda
ISBN: 073522742X     ISBN-13: 9780735227422
Publisher: Dutton Childrens Books
    OUR PRICE: $16.19  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: October 2017
Annotation: Secretly in love with her best friend Angie, Jess Wong is upset when Angie falls for a girl from a nearby boarding school, but when everybody's secrets start to be revealed, the stakes quickly elevate to life or death.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Dating (Social customs); Fiction.
Best friends; Fiction.
Friendship; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2017003862
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 9.00" H x 6.00" W x 1.00" (0.90 lbs) 281 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2018 Spring)
When her best friend Angie falls for Margot, Jess's unrequited longing becomes jealousy. Angie hopes that the three of them, plus Margot's hostile best friend Ryan, can become close. Then, after a party, one of the four girls dies from a gunshot. Who killed her? Lo's taut storytelling expertly doles out clues and draws characters as complicit in unexpected ways for an addictive psychological mystery. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2017 #6)
Jess's feelings for her best friend Angie are strong and complicated--a mix of longstanding affection, mutual dependence, protectiveness, and unrequited longing. Jess and Angie are both queer and out, but have never been together. When Angie falls for Margot, a wealthy, charismatic student from the nearby tony boarding school, Jess's jealousy builds. Her concerns about Margot's motives are mostly warranted, but Angie persists in the hope that the four of them--Angie, Jess, Margot, and Margot's hostile best friend Ryan--can become close. Then, in the aftermath of a party, one of the four girls dies from a gunshot. Who killed her? Lo's storytelling is taut and vivid as she expertly doles out clues (Margot's history of bullying; Ryan's secret stash of love letters). Post-murder, the book pulls back from Jess's perspective to a third-person narration interspersed with police interview transcripts, forcing readers to confront Jess's unreliability as a narrator as they attempt to piece together means, motive, and opportunity. Meanwhile, Jess's ongoing art-class project puts a supernatural spin on issues of rivalry, friendship, possessiveness, and mistaken intentions, complicating readers' assumptions about what is really going on. Drawing every character as complicit in unexpected and thought-provoking ways, Lo spins an addictive psychological mystery. claire e. gross Copyright 2017 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 August #1)

In this unusually structured murder mystery, Lo (Inheritance) explores the knotty jealousies, romantic longings, and class disparities among students at a pair of Massachusetts high schools. The first half of the novel is seen through the eyes of Jess Wong, a Chinese-American 16-year-old, who is in love with her best friend Angie but afraid to admit it. She's even more reluctant to do so after Angie begins dating Margot, a popular athlete from a nearby private school. In addition to worrying that she's losing Angie, Jess clashes with Margot's friend Ryan, which turns Jess into a potential suspect after Ryan goes missing after a party and is eventually found dead. Jess's insecurities and simmering emotions are palpable in her first-person narration, and the superhero comics she draws, which features a similar love triangle, further muddy the waters of the mystery behind Ryan's death. Lo pivots halfway in, finishing the story through a mix of transcript of police interviews and third-person chapters, deepening the mystery, shifting potential guilt among multiple possible culprits, and keeping readers guessing until the final pages. Ages 14–up. Agent: Laura Langlie. (Oct.)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2017 September)

Gr 9 Up—Friendship, romance, obsession, and crime all get tangled up in this complicated mystery about love and lies. Angie Redmond and Jess Wong are best friends, though Jess harbors a desperate and rather obvious crush on Angie. Their relationship becomes complicated when Angie begins to date Margot, a wealthy student at a nearby boarding school. Jess, a talented artist who creates a dark, supernatural comic about a love triangle, has her doubts about Margot, who seems cruel and controlling. Margot drives a wedge between Angie and Jess, but eventually, a murder brings them back together. As the police interview all three girls, the details of the night a student is killed highlight the tension among Angie, Jess, and Margot, but do not clearly point to who may have committed the crime. Just when it seems like the truth is coming to light, the story takes another turn, forcing readers to reassess everything they think they understand. Dark, twisty, and unsettling, this book almost begs to be read in one sitting, and then instantly reread. The pace picks up in the second part, with higher tension and uncertainty propelling the story forward quickly, encouraging teens to race to the whodunit conclusion. Though the final few chapters feel rushed, they provide a satisfying—and shocking—finale to this scandalous examination of jealousy, secrets, and untrustworthy characters. VERDICT A high-interest thriller with wide appeal recommended for all collections.—Amanda MacGregor, formerly at Great River Regional Library, Saint Cloud, MN

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.