Bibliographic information: The Line. Terri Hall. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010. $16.99. 224p. ISBN-13: 9780803734661.
Summary: Rachel lives with her mother on The Property owned by Ms. Moore, who grows and sells orchids for a living. The Property skirts the Line, put in place by the government after an atomic attack on the Unified States. The Line acts as the border between Away, a place where nobody is allowed to come or go, and the Unified States. The Line is patrolled by guards at all times, except out at The Property because nobody really visits there. Rachel thought she was safe living at Ms. Moore’s estate, but she couldn’t be more wrong. After going into town with her mother and witnessing an Identification she discovers the truth about her mother and father’s past. She then finds a recorded message next to the Line asking for help. Now she is left with an incredibly hard decision to make and she must make it fast to survive herself and help others.
Reading level and interest level: RL: grade 7 and up IL: age 12 and up
Review: This is a wonderfully captivating book that will keep you wanting more. After discovering some horrible information from her parents’ past, Rachel is faced with the decision of her life. She must decide if she should cross the Line, an invisible border between Away and the Unified States. Nobody enters Away and nobody comes back from it, there are a lot of horror stories circulating about Away. Rachel is both frightened and interested in what she will find in Away. Hall had me hooked from the beginning. She adequately captures a normal teenager who is then faced with a troubling decision. Her straightforward language of a teenager will help young readers get interested in the science fiction genre. And when they reach the cliff-hanger at the end they won’t be able to wait for the next book.
Readers’ annotation: Nobody is allowed to cross the Line. Nobody knows what is on the other side of the Line. Some say dangerous creatures lurk out there. Rachel is about to find out what nobody else knows.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book has the fear of the unknown. A lot of children fear what is unknown and this book is a great way for them to gain a little experience and perspective on the subject so that they may be less afraid after reading it.
Issues present: This book portrays the government as bad and corrupt and there is a fair amount of violence. Also, there is mention of people who have special powers and they are considered evil and dangerous. People may see these as things that children should avoid. People do not want their children reading about corrupt governments and violence, and some religious people would feel strongly about people having powers. However, they need to understand that children already understand about corruption and that violence is a real part of the world. Also, they understand that this book is fiction and people really do not have any special powers.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Rachel’s character.
Talk about the fear of the unknown.
Genre or subject: Science fiction: dystopian
Readalikes: The Giver, Possession, Crossed, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Ship Breaker
Author’s website: http://www.terihall.com/
Awards: Children’s Choice Book Award (2011), YALSA Best Fiction Nominee for Young Adults (2011), YALSA Quick Pick Nominee for Reluctant Readers
Reviews: School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-3067006.xml; Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/The-Line-Teri-Hall/pid=3787425; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-8037-3466-1; Kirkus Review: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/teri-hall/the-line/
Why I chose it: This book looked incredibly interesting and it seemed like a nice twist on the dystopian genre.