A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo | Book Review

Rating: 5/5

Format: Audio-Book – Library

I’ll be real right away and tell you that I was drawn in by this mysterious cover and that it’s got an element of queer romance (which I am a sucker for, let’s be real). What I got was an incredibly disturbing story about a girl who’s desperately devoted to (this is my kind term for obsessively psuedo-stalking) her best friend, and is at a party the night another girl, Ryan, gets murdered in the woods.

So Jess is in love with Angie, who’s dating Margot, whose best friend is Ryan, who’s dating both a teenage boy and a teacher. Everyone is pretty cranky about this arrangement, except Angie, who has both Jess and Margot trailing after her like dogs. We don’t get to know the boy or the man Ryan is dating; they’re entirely inconsequential to the story. If this was a movie they could both be portrayed by cardboard cut outs, and the film would not suffer.

Speaking of people with no personality: Lo doesn’t portray Angie as a mean person, but I loathed her more and more as the book dragged on. It’s called use your words, lady. Also, Margot and Jess are so ridiculously crazy about you, they’d probably just let you date both of them. They seem to put up with literally everything else. The detectives repeated my wish what felt like fifty times in the book “We just want to understand so-and-so as a person.” Me too, Sherlock, me too.

There is a lot of inconsistency in this book– some of the scenes are lushly described. Some of them are bare and stark. Some of the book is written out in prose, some of it is in police interviews. Sometimes I feel bad for Jess, mostly I find her creepy and kind of pathetic.

There’s no one to root for in this book. Our protagonist is creepy, her best friend is some kind of secret siren that makes people do her bidding, and literally everyone else is rude or bitchy. I don’t usually like to describe ladyfolk that way (especially not teens) but that word is all over this book.  I figured out the murder mystery pretty early on, and kept reading just to see how it was done. The ending was not a surprise.

did finish this book though. That’s something.

Subjective Hearts: 2/5

Objective Hearts: 3/5




Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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