Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Desire Lines” as Want to Read:
Desire Lines
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Desire Lines

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  2,426 ratings  ·  253 reviews
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train comes a novel about friendship and the memories that haunt us

On the night of her high school graduation, Kathryn Campbell sits around a bonfire with her four closest friends, including the beautiful but erratic Jennifer. "I'll be fine," Jennifer says, as she walks away from the dying embers and towards the darkn
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 12th 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published December 16th 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Desire Lines, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Desire Lines

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,426 ratings  ·  253 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Sara Strand
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
Let's just get this out of the way up front: was this book as good as Orphan Train? No. No it wasn't. To be honest thought, Orphan Train was so great for me that I almost wish I had read her other books before Orphan Train so I'd feel like she was progressively getting better and better. With that said, it doesn't mean this isn't a good book. It's good in a chick lit kind of way.

I think the hardest part for me was how slow it was. This wasn't a book that grabbed you because things were just hap
Tamara Clark
This book moves very slow and the main character, Kathryn, is basically a loser with no drive or ambition. There was nothing about her I could relate too in any way. Slow book, the mystery is enough to keep you intrigued but overall it just wasn't my cup of tea.
Nancy Istenes
Less than mediocre at best. I chose this book to explore more works by the Author of Orphan Train. From the synopsis I expected a suspense and thriller. Instead it was a weak story about a high school reunion at best. I struggled to finish and kept loosing interest till the end.

I'm glad that Ms Kline found her voice in Orphan Train and hope she continues to grow. Then we can all put this novel behind us.
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book was long and mostly filled with the whining of the main character as all her friends and family were telling her to get a life and move on and stop being so depressing. It really didn't touch on the mystery portion until around halfway through and didn't pick up until the end, really. It also wasn't that big of a mystery for me. Figuring out who was responsible for the disappearance of Jennifer was a little too easy. I was just along for the ride while the main character tried to put ev ...more
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh man, this one was a struggle.

Who wants to revisit high school? Or even worse, revisit the years in which you lost your best friend? Rather than feeling tense this story felt all kind of AWKWARD. I had such a hard time maintaining interest in wishy-washy characters, arguments about high school drama long-past, and a totally predictable missing girl mystery. Even though most of us didn't have a friend tragically disappear in our senior year, most of us can still look back at high school and re
Julie Weight
I liked the story and didn't mind the ending like others have. What I did mind were the 2 graphic sex scenes that were so unnecessary. Be aware that they are in the book and plenty of foul language. If I'd known I probably wouldn't have read it, but honestly by the time it was there I really wanted to know the resolution so I did some fast forwarding and finished.
Review Excerpt:

I liked the characters, especially Kathryn (although at times I wanted to shake her), and her high school friend and currently developing romantic interest Jack. The family dynamics between Kathryn, her divorced parents, grandmother, and dad's second wife seemed realistic. I related to the high school in the 80's flashbacks--the music, the times, and the author's description of the reunion reminded me of my own 10-year. "Age and experience are recorded differently on each face--so
Jul 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The novel is about a woman in search of finding herself but wrapped up in the plot of her best friend from high school that just went missing. It has an element of the chick-lit to it but also a touch of the mystery genre. An easy but engrossing read for me. This is the second book I have really enjoyed from this author.

I enjoyed it so much that as I was nearing the end reading on the subway, the train actually made it all the way to my stop in mid-town Manhattan and then started leave to go bac
Sara Ray
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Having read Orphan Train, I was expecting another excellent book. I was extremely disappointed. Christina Baker Kline has given us a whiny, slow moving psychological drama and mystery. The mystery part is questionable. I figured it out early on.
Apr 20, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Was it me or was it the book? I haven't disliked a book this much in...well, a long time. And I, along with my book club, had enjoyed Kline's "Orphan Train" a great deal. I truly had to force myself through the first approximately 100 pages. Sooooo boring. Flat. Tedious. Once I got beyond that and the protagonist arrived back home in Bangor among family and members of her high school class celebrating their 10th anniversary, things picked up. I decided that the first third of the book was writte ...more
Review originally posted: Traveling With T

This book was sent to Traveling With T for review consideration.

Desire Lines

Kathryn Campbell is returning to her hometown of Bangor, Maine. After her divorce, she’s drifting- Kathryn is unsure about what she should do next. With her high school reunion fast-approaching, Kathryn is nervous about going- and in fact, doesn’t want to attend. There are several reasons she does not want to attend- her divorce, her career plans, not keeping in contact with her
Nov 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-read
My first book of the new year!
I read "Sweet Water" and "The Way Life Should Be" by this author back in 2009 and I gave both books 4 star ratings. As I read back over my reviews of these two books, I find it difficult to remember "Sweet Water" with any detail, but her other book "The Way Life Should Be" I remember really enjoying and wonder now why I didn't give it 5 stars.
I keep hearing great things about her most recent book "Orphan Train" seeing 5 star ratings from friends and family. After
Christine Irvin
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contrary to what the title suggests, this book is not about desire as it relates to human wants. Rather, the title comes from the activity called orienteering, where participants use a map and a compass to navigate from one point to another in unfamiliar territory. According to one of the characters in the book who heads a local chapter of people who engage in orienteering, if one becomes lost in the woods, they can find their way out by following "desire lines," which are faint paths through th ...more
This was my first reading of this author and it won't be my last. This was the story of Kath, who on getting divorced, moves back home to Maine and in with her Mom with whom she has a rather uneasy relationship, just in time for her 10 year high school reunion. Kath has a hard time deciding what she is going to do and is pushed along by her mother to see a therapist, find a job, see old friends, etc. Kath finds a job at the paper with an old friend who she becomes involved with and begins to wri ...more
I really enjoyed The Orphan Train by this author. And I expected to be drawn in in a similar fashion with this novel. However, the first half of the book the main character is so self-involved, so caught up in her failed marriage, poor relationship with her mother, and the disappearance of her "best" friend, that that is all she thinks about. Well, that was about 50 pages too much about that. Along about the last third of the book, the pace picks up and I finally got caught up in some action. Fo ...more
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
*I don't like to write bad reviews, but this one is warranted* I really don't know where to begin when talking about this book. It was a struggle to read. I wanted to stop reading half a dozen times but urged myself ahead. This book is supposed to have a bit of mystery and suspense involved, but the story was so slow you hardly noticed. I started to not care if they ever found out how the victim disappeared. The best part of this book is by far the last 25-35 pages. This rest was boring and tire ...more
Rachel Lake
The writing is a bit strained, but the story kept me interested and entertained, at least until the end. I was looking for a good mystery and read some reviews that claimed the twist at the end is totally unpredictable, which may be true, but I knew from the get-go who had committed the crime. Ultimately, I think the book really falls apart at the end. The problem with mysteries is that the ending has to be good!
Apr 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been obsessed with this author ever since I discovered her several months back. Every single novel of hers is utterly absorbing, intelligent, and compassionate. And in all them, the central female character is incredibly well drawn--complex and human. So glad I stumbled across her at my local library!
Kathleen O'Nan
Apr 19, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I almost stopped reading this book several times but kept thinking, because of her terrific book Orphan Train, this one HAD to get better. It did not. Not only was it pathetically easy to figure out "who done it," the characters did not develop beyond their high school selves 10 years after graduation. So disappointing.
Constance McKee
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This book was not as enjoyable as The Orphan Train. It moved very slowly for the first third. The characters were not as nuanced as I think Kline could have made them. The plot, though moderately engaging, was fairly predictable. Still, it was engaging enough that I stayed with it.
Renae Nichols
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Missed opportunities

Missed opportunities to pay attention to your friends. What they're about, what they're going through, what they're afraid of, who they really are. To me, that's what this book was all about. I found it interesting and thought provoking.
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was hard to believe that this same author wrote Orphan Train because this book just dragged...It took far to long to get to the point, it was a mystery and the cover said it kept you guessing but it didn't really, there were twist and turns.
Sarah-Katharine Owen
The book moves rather slowly. Does not really pick up until about 1/2-way through. In essence, it picks up speed at that point, and becomes quite gripping! Orphan Train was outstanding, and while I enjoyed her other novels, I wish I had read them first.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh - I only finished it because I wanted to find out what happened to Jennifer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this writer. I think I've read almost all of her fiction now. This books is suspenseful and just an intriguing story. I love a good storyteller and she is definitely one of them.
Christine Way
Not a very complex work of fiction, but it does not really pretend to be either. Readable. Easily forgotten once it is finished.
Mina De Caro (Mina's Bookshelf)
Loved it. I fail to understand the abundance of negative reviews.
Lisa Mcbroom
I remember my high school group of friends... each of us had our own aspiration and dreams and swore we never would lose touch. This book albeit a mystery took me back to high school. Yes dear readers I loved high school! I had read Kline's Orphan Train and a lot of Goodreads Readers prefer that one but I am the lone minority that prefers Desire Lines. It is different from the other books I have read by Kline. Setting 1986 a group of friends Jennifer, Kathryn (Jennifer's best friend) Jennifer's ...more
This is a book by Christina Baker Kline and in the same way Orphan Train inspired so does this book. It takes place in Maine on the night of graduation, when a classmate leaves the beach party and disappears seemingly into thin air. Ten years later Kathryn returns to her home after a failed marriage ; just as the class plans their reunion. She takes a job with a former classmate who runs the local newspaper, to try to find out what could have happened to their classmate Jennifer. The story weave ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Cloudland
  • On Grace
  • It's You
  • The Shadow Walker (Inspector Nergui #1)
  • Remembering Sarah
  • Tattoo Girl
  • Three Story House
  • Love and Other Subjects
  • The Grown Ups
  • Judas Horse
  • The Repeat Year
  • The Love Wars
  • No One Knows You're Here (No One Knows You're Here, #1)
  • A Wedding in Provence
  • Charleston
  • The Odd Sea
  • Driftwood Tides
  • Her Loving Husband's Curse (Loving Husband, #2)
See similar books…
Christina Baker Kline is the author of New York Times instant bestseller A Piece of the World (2017), about the relationship between the artist Andrew Wyeth and the subject of his best-known painting, Christina’s World. Kline has written six other novels -- Orphan Train, Orphan Train Girl, The Way Life Should Be, Sweet Water, Bird in Hand, and Desire Lines-- and written or edited five works of non ...more
“so alone was almost spiritual—but something in Abby’s voice makes her pause. “You might have a better idea,” she says. “But you two were ‘best friends,’” Abby says mockingly. She taps ash from her cigarette into a chipped teacup on the table. Kathryn looks at her. “I thought so.” She swallows hard. “But” 0 likes
“She didn’t have a compass, a map, or even a decent sense of direction. She wasn’t certain she would recognize herself.” 0 likes
More quotes…