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A Line in the Dark
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A Line in the Dark
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"A twisty, dark psychological thriller that will leave you guessing til the very end."—Teen Vogue"[A] riveting read..."—NPRThe line between best friend and something more is a line always...
"A twisty, dark psychological thriller that will leave you guessing til the very end."—Teen Vogue"[A] riveting read..."—NPRThe line between best friend and something more is a line always...
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Description-

  • "A twisty, dark psychological thriller that will leave you guessing til the very end."—Teen Vogue

    "[A] riveting read..."—NPR
    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. If 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 a curse than a 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.
    ★ "Mesmerizing."—Kirkus, starred review.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    This is what I remember: the leather box lying open on the marble kitchen island; inside it a bed of black satin cradling a golden gun. It's small enough to look like a toy.

    Across the kitchen, Angie opens the back door, letting in a freezing blast of winter air. She looks upset, and I'm pulled to her almost involuntarily. All I want to do is make sure she's okay, and 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.

    Margot comes inside behind Angie, grabbing her hand. "Please," she says. Angie doesn't pull away. She doesn't even see me.

    The room spins. My tongue is thick from the syrup of too many drinks. I have beached up against the edge of the island, the marble cutting into my stomach, and the box is right in front of me. The gun is engraved with leaves and flowers, and it looks like a charm you might wear on a bracelet next to a miniature dagger and a coil of rope.

    I reach for it. The metal is cool, the gun heavier than I expected. It's pretty. The vines seem to come alive, twining around the grip and the barrel, ending in the small dark muzzle: a silent, open mouth.

    Someone says my name.

    Ryan, Margot's best friend, lunges toward me from the other side of the island. She's an avenging demon of the ice princess variety, blond and pale with her silver dress glittering over pushed-up breasts while she points her finger at me.

    "Liar."

    Angie is beside me, her face a mask of shock. "What the hell are you doing?" she demands. "Let's go."

    It takes me a second to realize she wants to leave. With me.

    She takes my hand, pulls the gun away. Her fingers are so cold it's as if they'd been dipped in a bucket of ice, but they still send an electric jolt all the way through my vodka-induced emotional padding.

    Angie puts the gun back in the box. Ryan picks it up, curling her finger around the trigger.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 7, 2017
    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.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2017

    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, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    September 1, 2017
    Queer romance, friendship rivalries, and ominous secrets twist together in Lo's latest enthralling tale. Chinese-American Jess Wong has known her white best friend, Angie Redmond, since grade school--the problem is she's loved Angie for nearly as long, unrequited. When Angie begins dating Margot Adams, a wealthy white student at a nearby private school, Jess knows she should be happy that her friend is happy, but as jealousy and suspicion about Margot eat at her instead, her friendship with Angie begins to crack apart. Jess tries to throw herself into her comics art, but even there, themes of loyalty, love, and betrayal arise. As tensions reach their breaking point, a classmate and friend of Margot's is discovered murdered in the park, and the resulting upheaval and search for a killer sheds light on some harrowing truths about everyone. Lo has delivered an intricate tapestry of narrative, woven in a labyrinthine pattern of secrets and colored with intersecting hues of Chinese-American identity, the dark intensity of relationships, and telltale stains of blood. A sudden (and likely disorienting) shift from Jess' first-person perspective to a more detached third-person narration serves the practical purpose of providing information; together with police interview transcripts to which Jess couldn't be privy, it artfully signals to readers that Jess is no longer in control of the story...or the facts. Mesmerizing. (Thriller. 13-17)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    August 1, 2017
    Grades 9-12 Four girls teeter upon the precarious line between love and obsession in Lo's arresting psychological thriller. Sixteen-year-old Jess would do anything for her best friend Angie, anything but accept her beautiful, athletic new girlfriend, Margot, an entitled snob from Pearson Brooke School. Jess, who is attending art class at Pearson through an exchange program, has heard stories of Margot's and her friend Ryan's merciless bullying. When her attempts to show Angie the truth backfire, Jess finds herself gradually carved out of Angie's life. Uncertain of who she is without Angie to revolve around, Jess has to make sure that the moment Angie needs her again, she'll be there. The bulk of the story is told brilliantly from Jess' tightly observed perspective, her observations colored by intense jealousy and desire, the truth of which is doled out in subtle moments and expressive language. Though the late shift to a distant third person is jarring, Lo (Inheritance, 2013) uses it to further stoke a sense of foreboding that doesn't let up until the unpredictable conclusion.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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