An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the Unified States. The Line is part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It's said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to The Line.
Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel’s dad died in the last war. It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help.
Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right?
(Synopsis from Goodreads)
The Line was an intriguing, and suspenseful book focusing on the dystopian society that was once the U.S. (the Unified States). After winning a nuclear war, borders aren't to be crossed, and the government bears down on citizens by enforcing harsh laws. They also track down individuals who may be, or have been, involved in revolutionary groups.
Rachel has been living on The Property, owned by Ms. Moore, since she was very young. The Property lies along the border to Away, and is the perfect spot to hide away from the government. People tend to avoid this area of the border, because of the belief that horrible creatures now populate Away. While on The Property, Rachel's mother, Vivian, teachers her the truth behind the war, the government's actions, and what really happened to her father.
This book had a cast of really strong, female characters, which was an aspect I loved.I think I may be in the minority, but my favorite character in the book was Ms. Moore. I knew immediately after her character was introduced that she was more than a mean old woman who loved her orchids. She was a strong woman, who had lived a hard life, separated from her family, and supporting herself. Vivian was also a great character. She wasn't afraid to teach her daughter the truth about the government, and Rachel wasn't afraid of what lay beyond the border to Away. All three of these women took significant risks in helping others, which is another admirable quality in a character. There seemed to be a hint of romance as well, which I expect will be developed further in the second book in the series.
The only issue I had with this book was that it took a while to get to the action. It was nice to have the time to develop the characters, but for the first third of the book, I was left wondering when the action/suspense would begin building. Otherwise, I thought this was a great dystopian book. It contained little violence, and a lot of insight into how power can distort good intentions, and completely change individuals and governments. I'm anxiously awaiting the sequel, since this one did end on a cliffhanger!
By Teri Hall
Published by Dial