Reading Level:: Young Adult/Dystopia
Publisher: March 4th 2010 by Dial
No one wants to live next to the Line- an invisible barrier that separates the United States from...what's outside. It appears only as a thin strip of dirt, grassless, stretching as far as one can see in either direction, and beyond the Line, everything looks pretty much as it does on the Property. Of course no one wants to really go to the Property either, though it's far enough from the city to escape the ever watchful eye of the harsh controlling US government, it's too close to The Line, too close to the Others.
Rachel gazes wistfully out over The Line from the safety of her hiding place in the Property's orchid greenhouse. From here she can stare out into Away, and daydream about what might exist just over the invisible barrier, but nothing ever actually happens. Until one night...
"It was real. Somebody was out there"
I'm so loving dystopian YA fiction right now. It's so inventive and fun- who knew the zombie apocalypse could be so entertaining. And while there are no zombies in The Line, Hall gives an equally as nightmarish monster to fear- the government.
In this world, there has been a huge war that leaves the United States completely bordered off and segregated from the rest of the world. Sounds oddly realistic doesn't it? And the reigning government uses terror, taxes and slavery to control the people- again, we are scarily realistic here. Maybe even scarier than zombies.
I love the ominous feel of Hall's capitalized names for things- the Line, The Property, Away, Others. Such simple little words with a lead weight feel that drops on you each time they are mentioned on the page. I swear I heard the Jaws theme song each time Rachel approached the Line.
This was a fun, quick little read- too quick to warrant a sequel. I think she could have easily put it all in one book and we would have gotten a more well rounded story than what we ended up with. The ending has one hell of a cliff hanger that I loved, but the lead up to it was choppy and very unrealistic (if I told you it would be a spoiler but I didn't like the fantasy turn of events here).
All in all, Hall is a very gifted storyteller and the book had a fairytale feel to me in regards to the way the story was told and her tone never wavered even if the plot did a bit. With such simple narration, I could easily see it being a bedtime story- if you wanted your kid to have nightmares and piss himself. I'm on board for the next book, Away and I'm really interested to see where Hall takes this because honestly, it's unpredictable- and I love that. Read this in the day time, and don't listen to the news afterwards.