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A Line in the Dark
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A Line in the Dark

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,348 Ratings  ·  353 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 17th 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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Helen No, not the kind you're probably thinking of. The main character is self-destructive in other ways, like drinking too much (until she blacks out) when…moreNo, not the kind you're probably thinking of. The main character is self-destructive in other ways, like drinking too much (until she blacks out) when she feels awkward in social situations and telling lies to the people around her. So, the book does have a dark edge to it, but no one sets out to hurt themselves and nothing like that is ever hinted. As mentioned in the book synopsis, there is a murder in the book.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Emily May
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
Elise (TheBookishActress)
This was weird. And not in a good way.

I know this is marketing itself as dark, creepy, and atmospheric, but I'm going to be totally honest: it's not. There is embarrassingly little atmosphere. 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 - Jess' crush on Angie. I had a crush on my girl best friend once. It was deep. It was intense. It was not
Joce (squibblesreads)
Dec 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
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
Lily (Night Owl Book Cafe)
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq, diverse-recs
I really wanted to like this book :(

-There's great diversity
-Asian main character
-queer girls

-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
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
To be honest, I was expecting this to be better, as I LOVED her last SF dulolgy, especially the first book Adaptation; those books were exciting and page-turning and had great alien conspiracies and bisexual romance. Unfortunately in A Line in the Dark 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 ...more
Sue (Hollywood News Source)
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
4.75 stars
A Line in the Dark is the first contemporary mystery I've ever loved.

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
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing

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.
CW (Read Think Ponder)
UPDATE: It's been a few hours since I finished this book and 1) I've bumped up the rating because I've given it more thought, and 2) I cannot stop thinking about it.

I take back what I said about the ending being a missed opportunity regarding the character development. Thinking about it more carefully and reflecting on the events that led up to the ending, I'm now more inclined to say that Lo's storytelling was fantastic. Without giving away what happens, the second half of the novel weaves such
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 rounded up

This book suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. The cover (which is what first drew me to the book) portrays a super creepy, goth feel but that's not really what the book is. The book itself is almost like 2 books. The first part is great. It's a first person narration through Jess. Jess is a high school girl trying to figure her life out. There is a lot here about identity and the intense friendships girls develop at this age. Then someone dies and it becomes a mystery/thrille
Danika at The Lesbrary
Oof. I can't say that was fun. It was quick read, and captivating, but even before it got into the mystery, it was painful to read. That toxic friendship and jealousy gets to me. No one is particularly likable, and there's no real moment of catharsis after that strangled, uncomfortable feeling that permeates the whole book. It's well done, but it wasn't exactly enjoyable for me (which is why I'm not rating it.)
Taryn Pierson
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don’t read much realistic young adult fiction. It’s just not my jam. I already lived through high school once and taught it for another four years, so when it comes to teen angst, I’ve graduated twice. But I love YA fiction that brings another element along with it, like a historical bent or a bizarre fantasy world or a dystopian nightmare scenario. A Line in the Dark is a delightful combo: a YA thriller. And it’s super thrilling because it’s a known and universally accepted fact that there is ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it
*3.5 stars*

I have thoughts about A Line in the Dark : partly that the mystery was slightly lackluster (you could see whodunit early), but mostly that Malinda Lo's writing and the unrequited love between Jess and Angie were the best parts of this book. If it had just focused on their "relationship," and expanded from there, it would have been a better read, for me at least. There wasn't enough build-up for me to invest in who was killed or why.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
This book is a classic the things we do for love type book. I read it in one day and it's a super quick easy read. I enjoyed it but I would not consider it to be a favorite. I enjoyed the characters but didn't love them enough to completely be invested in them. By the time the book was over I just kind of went... oh... okay then. I was impressed because it did have a better ending than I thought it was going to and the book kept me guessing throughout it which was great but overall when I think ...more
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.
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt
En muchas partes este libro me ha tocado de forma personal. Empezando por Jessica Wong, la protagonista.

Jess tiene una mejor amiga y esta enamorada de ella, siempre la apoya y nunca la deja sola, sus sentimientos hacia ella eran tan intensos y palpables que pude sentir todo su amor y su añoranza, y el no poder exteriorizar esos sentimientos por miedo a perder a su mejor amiga. Además estos sentimientos me parecieron tan inocentes y puros, por ejemplo en una escena Jess dice que tiene una regla;
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it


-Loved the diversity! Queer girls+Chinese main character.
-Super quick read was intrigued with the story!

-Ending was a bit rushed
-POV shift
-Wasn't as "thrilling" as I was hoping it would be
Amy's Book Reviews

If a tree falls in a forest, and no one hears it fall, did it make a sound? The philosophical conundrum attributed to Charles Berkley makes me ask, “If a novel highlighting mental illness never mentions mental illness, is the book still about mental illness?

A LINE IN THE DARK is marketed like a psychological thriller, but reads more psychological than thriller, though mental illness is never addressed. Jess and her best friend Angie have an enmeshed relationship, mostly from Jess’
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Psychological thrillers aren't typically my thing but I really liked this one! I wasn't really sure where the mystery was going to go and I was pretty shocked at the ending. Like a few reviewers noted already, the switch from first person to third person in the second part of the novel didn't flow too well and I also preferred the first person narration to be continuous instead. Overall, A Line in the Dark is a thrilling mystery that is perfect for your fall TBR.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it liked it
*A huge thanks to Penguin Random House for providing me an eARC. This,by any means, did not affect nor influence my review."

3.5 stars

Twisting, dark and disturbing, A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo is a diverse read that explores the depths of friendship, identifying and accepting one’s sexuality, love obsession and murder.

What I liked:
• Dark atmosphere and eerie vibe from the very beginning.
• We were welcomed by an intriguing prologue but the story started 14 weeks ahead of the time when the pro
I'm torn. A Line in the Dark on the surface is my bread and butter: a psychological thriller with diverse characters, an unreliable narrator, and a love triangle. Plus, look at that cover! It opens with a bang (literally) but I was left feeling...unsatisfied at the end? I have some somewhat incoherent thoughts:

Jess Wong has had a long-standing crush on her best friend, Angie. And everything was peachy while it was just the two of them, but then Angie meets Margot, a student at the ritzy private
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was the perfect way to start off 2018. I really liked the characters. My grade ten self and Jess were basically identical, except I can't draw for shit. Angie was kind of a selfish bitch. Letting Jess pine over her very obviously while constantly talking about Margot was a dick move. I wasn't entirely expecting the ending, which was a good surprise. (view spoiler) ...more
Erin Arkin
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
I have to start by saying I absolutely love the cover of A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo. I immediately wanted to read this based on the cover alone. Once I read the summary though I was even more intrigued.

Once I dove into this book I didn’t really want to put it down. It was definitely a quick read and I found myself pulled into this story that revolves around friendship, relationships, and a bit of a mystery. I have to admit; the first half went well but I wasn’t a fan of the POV shift in p
I liked the book, the intrigue and how it was resolved, but I don’t understand why the synopsis focuses on darkness. But it is a weirdly tied up whodunnit, with queer characters that we don’t see enough. 3.5 stars because I lost sleep reading it!
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars.
This was a quick read for me.
I loved the development of Jess, I wish Angie and Margot were more developed.
The cover is gorgeous and gives this creepy, dark vibe. However, I was disappointed, I was wanting more creepy, and dark. I received neither.
Ronak Gajjar
(1/2 – For such significant cover)
Much diverse from the vague interpretation I had after reading the blurb, lusting after the cover, and pondering over the title. I was kind of slightly perplexed what to categorize this was into as the aspects covered are flamboyant.
The first part kind of submerged me into High-School girls constantly dealing with jealousy and melodrama.
Jessica and Angie’s, Margot and Ryan’s friendships peculiarly fit this quote:
Jessica’s art is the most alluring elem
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #59 A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo 1 2 Apr 07, 2018 02:31PM  
"A Line in the Dark" Ending (Contains Spoilers) 1 9 Jan 06, 2018 08:15AM  
"A Line in the Dark" Ending (Contains Spoilers) 1 6 Jan 06, 2018 08:14AM  
Hi Goodreads! I've only created this profile to claim my name here, and I don't check messages here or add friends. I invite you to follow me on Twitter or Tumblr if you want to chat, or visit my website at

BIO: Malinda Lo is the author of several young adult novels including the sci-fi thriller Adaptation; the sequel, Inheritance, will be published Sept. 24, 2013. Her first novel, A
More about Malinda Lo

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