A Line In the Dark by Malinda Lo | Book Review

Title: A Line In the Dark
Author: Malinda Lo
Pages: 288 pages
Release Date: October 17th, 2017
Source: Hardcover from publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, LGBT
Rating: 4/5 stars
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. While 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 curse than 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.

Buy it now! 
**Disclaimer: The book was sent to me by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.** 

Happy Halloween, folks! I was initially hooked onto reading this when I saw that this was a Young Adult psychological thriller with Asian and LGBT rep. That combination is hard to come by these days, especially in YA, so I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce you guys to something different during this spooky time of year.

What I like most about this book is that it's not just a story you can read during the week of Halloween. It's not about ghosts or witches or vampires. It's about identity, high school and friendship. So when the spooky season officially comes to an end after today, don't feel too bad about picking up this book to read.

One of the reasons this book is so unique in its storytelling is that it touches upon representation quite a lot, while also keeping that thrilling and mysterious vibe of the story. It was like at one moment the main character would be talking to the police officer about a homicide and then next thing you know, the story gets quite personal and we get a glimpse into some of the insecurities the main character has about being an Asian-American. The representation of a Chinese main character in this book was absolutely heart-warming to read about. The author, speaking from her own life, adds a lot of relatable insecurities that all foreigners (not only Asians) have when speaking to natives. This book was hard to read in the sense that I was forced to face some of the insecurities I had with my own culture and background, yet it was entirely refreshing. We also have a variety of characters on the LGBT spectrum. I can't speak for the community, but I thought the rep was well done and informative.

I'm going to go into my only qualm with this book. It's quite slow in the beginning. Because this book was pitched as a thriller, I was hoping for there to be a lot more buildup earlier in the story. Keep in mind this is a relatively short book, at least shorter than most thrillers I've picked up before. For the first 100 pages of the book, it reads like a contemporary.

Page 150 is where the good shit starts to happens. Part two is told in a series of interviews mixed with narrative storytelling. I loved the interview aspect of the book. I thought it added a lot of suspense to the conflict that arises midway into the story. It also added a sense of sophistication that made the story all the more real and like a real murder trial yassss muahahhahah.

The main character is also a comic book artist, which gave me major Eliza and Her Monsters vibes. Her comics play a huge role in the story, so I wish we could have gotten a glimpse of her actual drawings/comic strips. It's honestly not a huge gripe I had, but just something I would have liked to see in this book. Malinda Lo was very descriptive in her explanations of the comics though, which it w these parts of the book were so easy to visualize, even without the drawings.

A Line In the Dark is one of the most unique books I've read in a long time. With a perfect balance of mystery and diverse representation, this title is a one of a kind story about navigating through identity and ethnicity, in the midst of a harrowing murder mystery. Despite its slow start, this book is sure to keep you on your toes. I highly recommend this book for readers who are looking to read more diversely, but don't want to change it up too much from what they are normally used to reading.

EDIT: I don't normally read other people's reviews before writing my own because that creates a bias for me. However, after I finished the book I went to see other people's reviews and read something interesting. I notice now that there was a POV shift from Part 1 and Part 2 of the book. I did not notice this shift at all! It seemed to bother a lot of readers, but maybe it would have bothered me more if I had noticed it! Just interjecting with this little note :D

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  1. Ooh nice review! I've started to see this one around! It sounded pretty spooky and chilling! So I'm keeping an eye on it for the meantime! Haven't seem many reviews yet, so guessing people are still reading it! Lol! Glad to see you enjoyed it!

    1. I haven't seen many reviews on it either. I do hope it becomes a hit because the representation was so important. :D


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