A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

A Line in the Dark

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 Ada...

Title:A Line in the Dark
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

A Line in the Dark Reviews

  • Riley

    I really wanted to like this book :(

    Pros:

    -There's great diversity

    -Asian main character

    -queer girls

    Cons:

    -The first half of this book was so boring I almost quit many times

    -I didn't like any of the characters so I just didn't care what happened to them

    -there was a shift from first person to third in the second half that felt strange. it almost made this seem like two different books

    -the thriller aspect wasn't at all thrilling and the conclusion was just annoying

    I'm really sad I didn't like this

    I really wanted to like this book :(

    Pros:

    -There's great diversity

    -Asian main character

    -queer girls

    Cons:

    -The first half of this book was so boring I almost quit many times

    -I didn't like any of the characters so I just didn't care what happened to them

    -there was a shift from first person to third in the second half that felt strange. it almost made this seem like two different books

    -the thriller aspect wasn't at all thrilling and the conclusion was just annoying

    I'm really sad I didn't like this book because Malinda Lo has written one of my all time favorite books but this one was overall a disappointment

  • Acqua

    4.75 stars

    It's a story about unhealthy friendships and relationships between three teenage girls, all three of them queer.

    The narrator is Jess Wong. She's Chinese-American, she has always loved art, and she's in love with her best friend Angie. This crush is unrequited, and that becomes even more clear when popular, beautiful Margot starts flirting with Angie. But Margot and her rich friends are not good news - under the money

    4.75 stars

    It's a story about unhealthy friendships and relationships between three teenage girls, all three of them queer.

    The narrator is Jess Wong. She's Chinese-American, she has always loved art, and she's in love with her best friend Angie. This crush is unrequited, and that becomes even more clear when popular, beautiful Margot starts flirting with Angie. But Margot and her rich friends are not good news - under the money and the pretty faces there are many secrets.

    Not the ideal situation, but guess what - it gets worse.

    I really liked Jess. She struggles to fit in, and she's not flawless. I love reading about contemporary characters who are flawed and somewhat unreliable narrators. They feel real to me.

    All the side characters were memorable. Characters like Margot are fascinating and a bit scary, and Angie surprised me too. Everyone stood out to me.

    Mystery/Thriller books with queer characters are not common, and

    is a mystery in which there are more than two lesbians, and none of them dies.

    It's noteworthy that

    And that rarely happens to me with contemporary books.

    Half of this book is told in first person, the other half in third person present, and surprisingly, this didn't bother me. Maybe because I knew it was coming, maybe because I was really invested in the story, I don't know. But I think this PoV shift made sense.

    However, I don't think the execution of the mystery aspect was perfect. The ending was unsatisfying, and it should have been longer. You shouldn't sacrifice the ending just because you want to shock the reader - that felt messy.

  • CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian

    To be honest, I was expecting this to be better, as I LOVED her last SF dulolgy, especially the first book

    ; those books were exciting and page-turning and had great alien conspiracies and bisexual romance. Unfortunately in

    there were quite a few things that didn't work for me: very awkward POV switch two thirds of the way through, flat characters, and just a general not great grip on the thriller genre conventions. The twist ending fell flat for me, partially becaus

    To be honest, I was expecting this to be better, as I LOVED her last SF dulolgy, especially the first book

    ; those books were exciting and page-turning and had great alien conspiracies and bisexual romance. Unfortunately in

    there were quite a few things that didn't work for me: very awkward POV switch two thirds of the way through, flat characters, and just a general not great grip on the thriller genre conventions. The twist ending fell flat for me, partially because I didn't really care about the characters. It feels a bit like a novelist trying out a new genre that they're not really comfortable in or familiar with!

    It felt like a break of the mystery/thriller contract between the author and reader; you can't just have a first person narrator omit a crucial scene but share everything else so that the reader doesn't have that information and then say, aha, look at what you didn't know! That's not how you structure a mystery and not how you do an unreliable narrator. I could tell what the book was trying to do (a kind of teen audience version of the best of Megan Abbott), and it certainly had potential, but it didn't deliver for me. At least it had POC lesbian characters? I don't know, maybe teen readers less picky about character and mystery plots will enjoy this just fine cause it's 'dark.'

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    I know this is marketing itself as dark, creepy, and atmospheric, but I'm going to be totally honest: it's not.

    . The tone is uninteresting, but occasionally inconsistent. And truly, this book just doesn’t go dark enough.

    The only creepy thing about this book is something I'm pretty sure wasn't meant to be creepy -

    I had a crush on my girl best friend once. It was deep. It was intense.

    I know this is marketing itself as dark, creepy, and atmospheric, but I'm going to be totally honest: it's not.

    . The tone is uninteresting, but occasionally inconsistent. And truly, this book just doesn’t go dark enough.

    The only creepy thing about this book is something I'm pretty sure wasn't meant to be creepy -

    I had a crush on my girl best friend once. It was deep. It was intense.

    Guys, this crush is.... bad. I would actually be scared to have Jess as a friend. She unabashedly staring up Angie's crotch -

    . And honestly, yikes, that’s not okay. If the author weren’t a lesbian herself I’d call it the predatory lesbian trope, because that is

    how it feels.

    And unfortunately, I feel like

    Margot feels like a one-note villain. Angie feels like a blank slate pretty girl. Jess feels like a blank slate less pretty girl. Ryan feels like another one-note villain and a homophobe to boot.

    The whole book feels as if it’s itended to be an exploration of intense sapphic girl friendship and the line between friends and lovers, but

    And the minimal exploration there is feels bogged down by the sheer creep factor of Jess’ crush.

    The other thing is that

    . This is the kind of mystery that needs to be driven by characters, and these characters failed me. Worse,

    by which time I was already inwardly marking this down as a three at most. Oddly, the book is very clearly divided in half by

    , which honestly just made the book feel weirder.

    The ending could’ve brought this to a three, but it honestly failed for me. SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!!

    Perhaps I would’ve liked the ending if it had been explored in full in terms of how it effects these characters, but it honestly just kind of…

    I

    say that I’m sort of glad there are beginning to be more books with this much diversity so I feel like we can sort out the good from the bad? Maybe we'll get a whole

    of YA-ish sapphic Asian girl thrillers next year. I fucking wish. But I’m super disappointed this fell into the bad category for me. I will say that

    , but there’s just not much else. I’m sorry, guys, but this was a total disappointment.

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  • Stacee

    3.5 stars

    I'm a sucker for a psychological thriller and the synopsis coupled with that gorgeous cover sold me.

    I liked Jess well enough. She's loyal and smart and just a bit stalker-ish to keep me guessing on what she was up to. I felt like Angie, Margot, and Ryan were never really fleshed out. I'm not sure if it was on purpose, but it was quite effective in making me not trust anyone.

    Plot wise it was more of a quiet anticipation than a thriller. It was slow moving, but I was interested the entire

    3.5 stars

    I'm a sucker for a psychological thriller and the synopsis coupled with that gorgeous cover sold me.

    I liked Jess well enough. She's loyal and smart and just a bit stalker-ish to keep me guessing on what she was up to. I felt like Angie, Margot, and Ryan were never really fleshed out. I'm not sure if it was on purpose, but it was quite effective in making me not trust anyone.

    Plot wise it was more of a quiet anticipation than a thriller. It was slow moving, but I was interested the entire time. I would have liked more at the ending, especially after everything was revealed. It was a shock and then it was over. The only other thing is that it randomly shifts from first to third person and that felt clunky and took me out of the rhythm of the story.

    Overall, it was a quick read with enough of a creepy factor to keep me engaged.

    **Huge thanks to Dutton Books for providing the arc free of charge**

  • Sue (Hollywood News Source)

    It isn’t dark or twisted per my standard. The plot is straightforward, it’s predictable. However, it’s engaging which what matters the most. I finished it in one gulp. It’s fast paced. You’ll like and distrust the characters at the same time.

    The story follows Jess Wong, who’s in love with her best friend Angie Redmond. They

    It isn’t dark or twisted per my standard. The plot is straightforward, it’s predictable. However, it’s engaging which what matters the most. I finished it in one gulp. It’s fast paced. You’ll like and distrust the characters at the same time.

    The story follows Jess Wong, who’s in love with her best friend Angie Redmond. They’re your standard YA BFFs; the twist is both are queer. The dynamic of their friendship started to change when Angie met Margot Adams, who’s the IT girl from a nearby boarding school.

    A Line in the Dark is about two best friends who started to have a warped relationship with each other. It’s unhealthy dynamic while it’s not explicitly challenged, although there’s acknowledgement cues in the text. It wasn’t brushed under the rug for the sake of queer female friendship. I like that three of the main characters are queer. The book didn’t used any labels, though I love that all of their parents are supportive – in their own ways, especially Jess’s parents. That’s very nice to read. There’s also the Chinese-American diaspora supporting details. In addition, there’s a contrast between going to a public school vs. private boarding school, and how classism affects socialization between teens. The heroine struggled with fitting in, not because she’s queerpoc but because of other extra baggage. She’s not traditionally beautiful, she’s into art, and her parents wanted her to be feminine and studious in AsAm standard. She’s awkward, and not like her best friend who can freely mingle with everyone. Her family is not rich, and her best friend already has someone else.  That simply made an impact on me. The story follows a Chinese-American queer teen, and her identity is relevant to the plot, but it’s not the

  • Emily May

    I really feel like this book was

    . If you're anything like me, you were drawn in by that gorgeous and sinister cover, and a title that seems to promise something dark and creepy - but the book's content is very different. There were some things I liked, but overall

    required for a mystery/thriller.

    Let's start with what I did like. I quickly realized that

    was not the book I was expecting; that it read more like a quiet contempora

    I really feel like this book was

    . If you're anything like me, you were drawn in by that gorgeous and sinister cover, and a title that seems to promise something dark and creepy - but the book's content is very different. There were some things I liked, but overall

    required for a mystery/thriller.

    Let's start with what I did like. I quickly realized that

    was not the book I was expecting; that it read more like a quiet contemporary about art and having an unrequited crush on your best friend. But I didn't mind this. Shattered expectations can be a good thing.

    Jess wasn't entirely likeable, but she was a

    . The relationship between Jess and Angie is told really well. The former always having felt like the weird, overweight, and less attractive sidekick to her beautiful best friend. I think her pain when Angie starts dating Margot is palpable and real, making me think this book might have made a better contemporary about the dynamics between them (yes, I am advocating a love triangle! pigs might fly yet).

    I also like how Jess expresses her darkest emotions through comic book art, portraying a queer love triangle that obviously contains parallels to her real life. The art aspect was interesting and complemented the story without overtaking it (I, personally, am not a fan of plots where art is the main focus).

    As I said, not what I was expecting, but not bad either. Then, around halfway through, the mystery/thriller angle is introduced. Suddenly, the book doesn't seem like it is about Jess's inner struggle, her complex relationship with Angie, queer romance OR art. It is about whodunnit, and it is

    .

    There's a

    at this point from Jess's first person narrative to an omniscient third person perspective. Lo changes everything you thought you were reading and I thought the shift was awkward and unneeded.

    went from being a quiet, thoughtful contemporary to being a mediocre thriller with a rushed (and fairly predictable) ending.

    The whole second half of the book feels messy - from the move away from the things we had come to care about to the decision to tag the twist on in one single short chapter, making it not only predictable but anticlimactic as well.

    A confusing read full of highs and lows.

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  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

    Full review to come!

  • Lily (Night Owl Book Cafe)

    A Line in the Dark is a book that came highly recommended to me, and since I was already eyeballing it in the store, I felt like this would be perfect for a November read.

    I was right, because I truly enjoyed this book.

    The book follows a teenage girl named Jess, who is extremely passionate about drawing. Jess has a best friend named Angie and the two have been thick as thieves for a really long time, until Jess notices a girl approach Angie at the Creamery where she works and it kind of puts a we

    A Line in the Dark is a book that came highly recommended to me, and since I was already eyeballing it in the store, I felt like this would be perfect for a November read.

    I was right, because I truly enjoyed this book.

    The book follows a teenage girl named Jess, who is extremely passionate about drawing. Jess has a best friend named Angie and the two have been thick as thieves for a really long time, until Jess notices a girl approach Angie at the Creamery where she works and it kind of puts a wedge between them.

    Margot is gorgeous and has her eye out on Angie, which makes Jess extremely uncomfortable and jealous because of her own feelings towards her best friend that she is unable to express or too scared to. The two start dating and Angie and Jess end up in a fight because Angie notices that Jess doesn't seem to like Margot but at the same time Angie isn't aware of Jess' feelings towards her.

    Jess attends an art program at the school that Margot goes to (a boarding school for the wealthy) and that causes her to stumble onto some deep secrets that Margot and her best friend Ryan are hiding.

    Well, this secret leads to Ryan's death after a Christmas party and these kids end up being investigated because they are the last to see Ryan alive.

    This book is done in two parts. The beginning throws you into what happened, but the first part is before the incident and the second part is the investigation following the incident. I thought this book was really well done, I really enjoyed the writing, the characters, the plot was interesting. It had diversity, but it also had a plot.

    This is not a book that is meant to be spooky, and I know some people felt that way when they saw the cover. This is actually a contemporary young adult with a mystery and a twist. It's about a girl, who is trying to sort of find herself as well as try to deal with the fact that the girl she is in love with, she cannot have.

    This book, I am warning now, does not come with a happy ending. It is not a romance, even if it features a romance.

    It also reads as an older Young Adult, it is sex positive, but no there are no explicit sex scenes in it. It does have drinking and some cursing.

    I did have a hard time putting this down, I was completely invested in the plot line and the characters and I really wanted to know what happened. The ending threw a real curve ball and it was, I did not expect that but it explained some things.

    The only issue I think I have is that, the beginning was not how the rest of the book completely unfolded and I felt that the killer should probably have been more affected maybe by what happened? But all in all, I really enjoyed this, it was an interesting read and I always appreciate a book with diversity and a good, engrossing plot line.

  • Joce (squibblesreads)

    1.5 stars

    Unfortunately this had everything I wanted but nothing was executed to my satisfaction. The two halves of the book did not come together (first person in the 1st half and 3rd person + texts and transcripts in the 2nd half). There was an excess use of the modifiers "really" and "super", which adds superfluous bulk to the writing and shows that the word choice wasn't strong enough and needs to improve. There were also times where one thing would be explained mult

    1.5 stars

    Unfortunately this had everything I wanted but nothing was executed to my satisfaction. The two halves of the book did not come together (first person in the 1st half and 3rd person + texts and transcripts in the 2nd half). There was an excess use of the modifiers "really" and "super", which adds superfluous bulk to the writing and shows that the word choice wasn't strong enough and needs to improve. There were also times where one thing would be explained multiple times.

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