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 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.

A Line in the Dark Details

TitleA Line in the Dark
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 17th, 2017
PublisherDutton Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780735227422
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Mystery, Glbt

A Line in the Dark Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    I really feel like this book was poorly marketed. 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 it lacked the darkness and thrills required for a mystery/thriller.Let's start with what I did like. I quickly realized that A Line in the Dark was not the book I was expecting; that it read more like a quiet contempora I really feel like this book was poorly marketed. 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 it lacked the darkness and thrills required for a mystery/thriller.Let's start with what I did like. I quickly realized that A Line in the Dark 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 complex and sympathetic character. 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 just not that thrilling.There's a strange POV shift 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. A Line in the Dark 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.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
    January 1, 1970
    Full review to come!
  • Stacee
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsI'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 starsI'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**
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  • Sue (Hollywood News Source)
    January 1, 1970
    Let’s get something straight, this is not an f/f romance. There’s no “happy” ending about it. A Line in the Dark is a mystery thriller that fuses relevant themes in the plot. 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 Let’s get something straight, this is not an f/f romance. There’s no “happy” ending about it. A Line in the Dark is a mystery thriller that fuses relevant themes in the plot. 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 plot. My only complaint is that I wish the ending is more detailed.Overall: the main themes of this book are jealousy, murder, and loyalty. A Line in the Dark is a great standalone novel. I’ll be recommending it.
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    YES. GIMME MORE COMMERCIAL QUEER LADY GENRE YA FICTION. I looooooooved this. Delightfully flirts those lines between obsession, love, and friendship. An unreliable narrator? *thinky face emoji* Oh my, yes. Perfect for fans of Kara Thomas or, if I have to say it, E. Lockhart.
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  • Ava
    January 1, 1970
    I liked this! A phycological thriller with queer girls + Chinese main character + drama + secrets = perfection. But I just didn't like it as much as I thought I would. Here's why:- There's a shift between first and third person POV halfway through, and it felt awkward. I liked the first person much more. - I wanted more from the ending? It wasn't what I was expecting, but it just shocked me and then it was over. Maybe that's the point of a thriller (I don't read many, obviously), but I wasn't a I liked this! A phycological thriller with queer girls + Chinese main character + drama + secrets = perfection. But I just didn't like it as much as I thought I would. Here's why:- There's a shift between first and third person POV halfway through, and it felt awkward. I liked the first person much more. - I wanted more from the ending? It wasn't what I was expecting, but it just shocked me and then it was over. Maybe that's the point of a thriller (I don't read many, obviously), but I wasn't a fan. - It wasn't as *thrilling* as I expected / wanted. Other than that, I obviously still recommend this one! Add it to your TBRs and prepare for its release in October.
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  • Elise (thebookishactress on wordpress)
    January 1, 1970
    Oh wow, what a cover.
  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    Super quick and super queer - two things I like a lot. I thought the ending was a little rushed and I wanted more from it and of it, but overall definitely a positive recommendation.
  • Danny
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5 Pros:-Loved the diversity! Queer girls+Chinese main character.-Super quick read was intrigued with the story!Cons:-Ending was a bit rushed-POV shift -Wasn't as "thrilling" as I was hoping it would be
  • Crowinator
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating: 4.5 starsI may actually try to write a review for this one - it packed a big punch for such a slim book.
  • Tez
    January 1, 1970
    3rd February 2017: Reason for adding to wishlist: Enjoyed the author's Adaptation (and have the sequel and novella on my wishlist). Different genre, but this one sounds like YA noir - it's a good thing :-)
  • Jade
    January 1, 1970
    Women of color, sapphic vibes, and possible murder? I can't wait to start this one!
  • Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
    January 1, 1970
    I had never heard of A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo until recently, but I am so glad I read it now. I enjoyed it and thought it was a tightly plotted book.The book starts with Jess, a Chinese girl who is in love with her best friend, Angie. It has all the feel of a YA contemporary with that typical trope although it's a F/F romance, which put a spin on things. I also loved how Jess' heritage and the fact she was a comic book artist came into play. But once Angie falls for someone else-- Margot I had never heard of A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo until recently, but I am so glad I read it now. I enjoyed it and thought it was a tightly plotted book.The book starts with Jess, a Chinese girl who is in love with her best friend, Angie. It has all the feel of a YA contemporary with that typical trope although it's a F/F romance, which put a spin on things. I also loved how Jess' heritage and the fact she was a comic book artist came into play. But once Angie falls for someone else-- Margot-- Jess and Angie's friendship starts to fall apart and something sinister comes to play and then it becomes much more of a psychological thriller.It's interesting because the book is in two halves and it definitely feels that way. We are in first person present in Jess's perspective, but once we reach the halfway point, suddenly it's in third person and we don't know what anyone is thinking, most likely a way to make sure nothing gets completely revealed until the end. As I stated above, I enjoyed for the most part Jess as a main character, and it's interesting because I didn't quite get sucked in until it turned into a thriller, but I quickly missed her first person perspective that we gained in the first book because she's a much less likeable character in third person. The biggest beef I probably had in the book was Angie herself, because I didn't get any sort of grasp or character arc with her whereas everyone else had one. That said, I blazed through the book because I wanted to know what happened and I was kept guessing until the very end.An innovative psychological thriller that I enjoyed with a intriguing MC. I would definitely recommend this book.
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  • Carissa
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from the author in a giveaway. This review is for the ARC.Ok, so I started this book and finished it the same day I got it. I was absolutely blown away with the ending. I knew it was coming, but just HOW it happened really amazed me. A lot of people are saying they didn't like the POV shift from part one to part two, but I really liked it. It made the story seem more out of Jess' control. I liked the transcripts a lot. I don't want to spoil anything, but I really did want to go I received an ARC from the author in a giveaway. This review is for the ARC.Ok, so I started this book and finished it the same day I got it. I was absolutely blown away with the ending. I knew it was coming, but just HOW it happened really amazed me. A lot of people are saying they didn't like the POV shift from part one to part two, but I really liked it. It made the story seem more out of Jess' control. I liked the transcripts a lot. I don't want to spoil anything, but I really did want to go back and immediately read it. This SIGNED ARC I received is one of my prized possessions; not only because it is signed and from the author herself (AHHHHHH) but also because the story was just that good. The characters were wonderful. My only complaint is that I wanted to see more about Margot's character, and explore her and Emily's background- what REALLY happened. I need more!
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  • Kathy Cunningham
    January 1, 1970
    Malinda Lo’s A LINE IN THE DARK is a dark, edgy psychological thriller about a love triangle between three teenage girls. Sixteen-year-olds Jess Wong and Angie Redmond have been best friends since grade school. But after Angie comes out to Jess as gay, the dynamic between them changes. Jess begins to have feelings for Angie she can’t quite explain, and when Angie falls for rich girl Margot Adams, Jess feels her world falling apart. Ultimately the disappearance of Margot’s friend Ryan Dupree pull Malinda Lo’s A LINE IN THE DARK is a dark, edgy psychological thriller about a love triangle between three teenage girls. Sixteen-year-olds Jess Wong and Angie Redmond have been best friends since grade school. But after Angie comes out to Jess as gay, the dynamic between them changes. Jess begins to have feelings for Angie she can’t quite explain, and when Angie falls for rich girl Margot Adams, Jess feels her world falling apart. Ultimately the disappearance of Margot’s friend Ryan Dupree pulls all four girls into a twisted mystery full of secrets and lies.The first half of this novel is narrated by Jess, which allows the reader to get inside this girl’s head. Jess is a bit of an outsider – she’s not as outgoing as Angie, and she lacks Margot’s beauty and self-confidence. She’s an artist who is working on a graphic novel that gradually begins to parallel her own life. She’s also torn between her growing feelings for Angie (which are decidedly sexual) and her parents’ expectations for her future. She can’t bring herself to tell Angie how she really feels, but she also can’t accept Angie’s relationship with Margot (who is portrayed as an entitled “mean girl” who uses other people to her own ends). Once Ryan disappears, the novel’s narration shifts from Jess’s first-person account to a third-person omniscient narrator (mixed in with transcripts of police interviews as part of their investigation). I found this shift a bit distracting – I missed Jess’s voice and our close link to her inner thoughts. And we learn little more about the other characters, leaving us wondering why they do the things they do. Things happen between Jess and Angie, between Angie and Margot, and between Jess and Margot that are never fully explained.As for the ending, it’s going to make you want to go back and read the book again! Twisty endings are pretty much par for the course these days, but this one really had me scratching my head (and it explains why Lo decided to switch from 1st person to 3rd person narration in the second half of the book). That said, I would have liked more at the end of this novel – more about what was really going on between these four girls and why things descended into darkness so quickly.Bottom line, this is a well-written novel that sheds light on female sexuality in a fairly accepting environment (none of the parents in the novel are particularly bothered by their daughters’ sexual experiments). The best part of the book is Jess, who is an interesting and believable character with the kinds of doubts and desires you expect in a teenage girl. I do think the ending lacked development, and the twist didn’t really make all that much sense (the police in this small New England town are pretty easily manipulated!). But it’s a good read, with a solid story and interesting characters. Read it for Jess, and for the dark, twisty mood of the story. [Please note: I was provided an Advance Reading Copy of this novel free of charge; the opinions expressed here are my own.]
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    Malinda Lo does it again! Had the pleasure of beta reading this and it is one of my favorites by her along with Huntress—two verydifferent genres, both equally fantastic. Can't wait for this to releasein October!!
  • Taschima
    January 1, 1970
    Malinda Lo books are always a bit strange, hit or miss with me. But I am so very excited for this one!
  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    Am I the only one that feels a little uncomfortable with the cover?It's good. . . but. . . but. . .
  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    "This is what I remember." Hoo boy, this book took me on a wild ride. I loved Adaptation by Malinda Lo, but A Line in the Dark was surely a step up. This wasn't a typical thriller, in that there weren't a ton of action scenes and the lead wasn't a straight white male (let's be real: 98% of thrillers have straight white male leads. We need more without them). A Line in the Dark was more of a quiet sort of thriller. The emotion that's evoked as you get sucked into Jess and Angie's world is antici "This is what I remember." Hoo boy, this book took me on a wild ride. I loved Adaptation by Malinda Lo, but A Line in the Dark was surely a step up. This wasn't a typical thriller, in that there weren't a ton of action scenes and the lead wasn't a straight white male (let's be real: 98% of thrillers have straight white male leads. We need more without them). A Line in the Dark was more of a quiet sort of thriller. The emotion that's evoked as you get sucked into Jess and Angie's world is anticipation, yes, but it's veeeeery slow building, though not in a bad way at all.Jess is such a complicated main character and she is constantly dancing the line between love and obsession, but as a reader you can't help but sympathize with her because she is trying her hardest to make it in a world where nothing seems to work out for her. She wants Angie to be happy, sure, but she wants Angie to be happy with her. It's interesting how her real life parallels the comics she is working on throughout the book.Margot is another interesting character. She's a really possessive and manipulative girlfriend, but the book doesn't come outright and say it. Instead, it allows you to fill in the blanks as you see her purposely foul someone during field hockey, or you see Angie try to explain that if she doesn't text Margot back immediately, she'll get angry (it's even sadder because Angie thinks this shows that Margot cares about her). She gets jealous easily, and lets her emotions run high. The murder mystery in this book wasn't one where you have no idea who does it. I figured it out halfway through the second part of the book, but it was still fun to read because I was more interested in the relationship's between the characters and Jess's comics. I would really recommend this book to people who enjoy a book with real people as the characters and real issues that teens face today.
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    A thriller that just wasn't very... thrilling. It wasn't as dark as I'd expected. I mean, what happened is fucked-up (and I think I saw that ending coming a little, so it didn't hit me like it should have, and I wasn't a fan of the switch-up in POV). But I just didn't get that from the overall tone of the book. And I didn't really care for the characters all that much, though I felt for Jess. She's the overweight, nervous sidekick to her beautiful best friend, and she's not very good with people A thriller that just wasn't very... thrilling. It wasn't as dark as I'd expected. I mean, what happened is fucked-up (and I think I saw that ending coming a little, so it didn't hit me like it should have, and I wasn't a fan of the switch-up in POV). But I just didn't get that from the overall tone of the book. And I didn't really care for the characters all that much, though I felt for Jess. She's the overweight, nervous sidekick to her beautiful best friend, and she's not very good with people. But she's caring, and shy, and she doesn't know how to deal with her crush on Angie. So, I don't think I quite liked everything that goes on. It was a quick read, though, and it reeled me in until I couldn't stop. So I don't know, I have to think on this one to properly rate it.
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  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come
  • Lara
    January 1, 1970
    ARC received via a Goodreads giveaway--thank you so much!It is a good book (Malinda Lo does not write bad books), but I am not its target audience. I empathize with Jess to a fair extent--I too was desperately in love with one of my best friends in high school, I too felt like blending into the walls and merely existing was a fair price to pay for not being the target of bullies. But the layers of extra emotion and stress that pile onto Jess (her strict parents and their nagging to be a Good Dau ARC received via a Goodreads giveaway--thank you so much!It is a good book (Malinda Lo does not write bad books), but I am not its target audience. I empathize with Jess to a fair extent--I too was desperately in love with one of my best friends in high school, I too felt like blending into the walls and merely existing was a fair price to pay for not being the target of bullies. But the layers of extra emotion and stress that pile onto Jess (her strict parents and their nagging to be a Good Daughter, her being queer {and so far as I can tell, not out}, her desperate clinging to Angie as not only Best Friend, but as Only Friend) were not things I ever had to deal with. I found my 39-year-old self groaning "Just TELL HER how you feel, she's still your friend, the worst she can say is no!", only to remember that I would have died a thousand deaths before admitting to my high school friend how I felt about him.And then the whole murder mystery becomes a thing, and perspective shifts from Jess's first-person to multiple third-person, sometimes in the form of police interviews, and I thought the big reveal at the end was...I don't know. It didn't sit well with me. Maybe it's because it's not a good ending for anyone. Ryan's dead. Margot took the fall for Angie, and her charmed life as the school golden girl is probably ruined. Angie is going to stay with Margot forever because of this, even though she's more or less admitted she has feelings for Jess. And Jess is left out in the dark--she's lost her best and only friend, her family will never trust her again (her belittling Asian parents seemed like caricatures to me, but I am not Asian), and the odds of her ever being able to break free of her insecurity and doubt and obsession with Angie seem minimal.It's a good book, it's a fast-reading story of love and friendship and obsession and what all of those together can lead to. I think I'm just getting too old.
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  • Pleides Ostra
    January 1, 1970
    This is a YA book, which I normally don't read and was pleasantly surprised, it was good. I was happy that it dealt with real people and didn't shy away from female relationships. The book dives into life at high school revolving around close friends and who they become intimate with. I think the ending of the book could have been drawn out a bit more but overall it had me reading right up to the last page. As far as the whodunit part it did surprise me...I kept thinking it would work out differ This is a YA book, which I normally don't read and was pleasantly surprised, it was good. I was happy that it dealt with real people and didn't shy away from female relationships. The book dives into life at high school revolving around close friends and who they become intimate with. I think the ending of the book could have been drawn out a bit more but overall it had me reading right up to the last page. As far as the whodunit part it did surprise me...I kept thinking it would work out differently.
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  • Cambear
    January 1, 1970
    Pitched as Mean Girls meets Gone GirlIt's a hypnotic thriller with some awful people and awful moments, but it's so compelling anyway. Jess is in love with her best friend who starts to date a girl with a bunch of snotty friends. Bad things happen and secrets are revealed. It's brisk, diverse and creepy so if you're looking for a thriller, grab this book.Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of the book for review.
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  • Maggie Thrash
    January 1, 1970
    Juicy, bitchy, and sinister. Friend drama, lesbian drama, crime drama. I loved that there were hardly any boys in this book. Like there was maybe one guy and he didn't even have a speaking part. It was so refreshing. Girls forever, seriously
  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    Great read that had hints of Single White Female throughout....Jess & Angie have a perfectly dysfunctional relationship that had me yelling at them as the book progressed. Thanks to Penguin for the ARC!
  • Alana
    January 1, 1970
    I feel like Malinda Lo's work is really readable but sloppy--I don't think the shift midpoint does anything for the story, and the end left me disappointed. This isn't the first time Lo's work made me feel this way.
  • Aimal (Bookshelves & Paperbacks)
    January 1, 1970
    Listen, I love this cover. It's really fucking cool.
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