Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Line by Teri Hall

Title: The Line
Author: Teri Hall
Publisher: Dial
Release Date: March 4, 2010
Date Read: June 23 - 26, 2011
Rating: 2.5/5 stars 

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've been captivated by The Line's cover since it was released in early 2010 and have been waiting to get my hands on it for ages. I had such high expectations especially after receiving several recommendations from other bloggers. While I did enjoy the book, I was mainly disappointed with the characters and young reading level.

I am hesitant to categorize The Line as a middle-grade read. While Rachel's age was never stated I gathered from her language and thought process that she'd be around 12-13. I was really thrown off when chapters would alternate with Vivian, her mother. To me YA is a perspective not a reading level, so to read a YA novel with an adult and a middle-grade perspective was very odd. 

Many of the characters seemed stereotypical and cliched rather than original and refreshing. The silent old man in the greenhouse, the strict old lady in the mansion, the Mom with secrets, the rebellious daughter. I felt like I'd already read this book before I even finished the first few chapters. Most of the dialogue between the characters seemed forced, especially when the plot history was conveyed in "history lessons" rather than in thoughts, explanations, or memories.

I absolutely loved the premise of The Line. Novels with such a rich history especially a focus on political strife are favourites on my bookshelf. This book had such promise with a totally realistic plot about military action, a pinch of supernatural/paranormal activity, and an old fashioned mystery. Unfortunately, tied with the overdramatic characters and unrealistic plot line I didn't really connect to the story as a whole. I found the pacing too fast, then too slow, too focused on history, then too focused on irrelevant characteristics. I found the ending very abrupt and sudden. I was finally invested in the plot and intrigued to see where it would lead when it just ended. Hopefully the sequel will pick up exactly where The Line left off. 

Constructive criticism aside, I am eager to read the sequel to see if the plot improves and see what becomes of Rachel. 

Favourite Quote: Couldn't find one!

Recommended: The Giver (Lois Lowry), The Declaration (Gemma Malley), The Compound (S.A. Bodeen), Among the Hidden (Margaret Peterson Haddix)


  1. Yah, I wasn't particularly impressed with this one either. There were good parts to it, but it felt incomplete. :/

  2. new follower! [:

    Great review! And thanks for sharing, I hadn't heard of this book before.

    new blogger, stop by if you get a chance, thanks!:


Have a comment? Want to share your own review or post? I'd love to hear from you! I read every single comment.