After reading “The Hunger Games”, my expectations regarding dystopian fiction were raised pretty high. The bar on all YA fiction was raised. This is becoming an issue. I continue to expect the writing style to match the interesting plot, and I am increasingly disappointed. Maybe this is “the line” between fiction for young adults and fiction about young adults.
Teri Hall’s “The Line” exists in a post-war future where we have erected an impenetrable barrier around ourselves in order to keep the bad guys out. Before fully completing said border and facing an imminent attack, the government quickly erects an invisible field force sort of line to bridge the gap, effectively shutting off everyone on the other side. A bomb goes off and the unfortunate “Others” trapped outside of the protected bubble become fodder for generations of rumors about what happened to life on the other side of the line. Fairly interesting premise, right? Somehow it felt like it never got off the ground.
The plot centers on a teenage girl, Rachel, who is, predictably, curious about the line. A strange cute boy appears on the other side of the line and…..well you get it. There are some interesting glimpses at the control the government and police impose and abuse that I wish had been more fully explored. The sub-sub-sub plot of the older woman, Ms. Moore, who Rachel’s mother keeps house for was the most intriguing. Ms. Moore is the owner of her family’s house and grounds (referred to as “The Property”) and the family business of growing and selling orchids. Could be just my interest in orchids, but the parts of the story that involve the greenhouse and the cultivation of the flowers is much more interesting than the rest of it.
The second book in the series will be published in the fall. I am a sucker for a trilogy. I fall prey to the continuing sagas. More and more, though, I just would rather have a well written and complete story instead of always being smacked with a cliff hanger or peripheral action that is left dangling. This book reads too much like a set up for the following stories and less like it has an arc of its own. It’s not a horrible book. There is a spark of something in there, but I’m not sure that I am interested in waiting around for it to be illuminated.