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?
View our classroom guide for The Line by Teri Hall"
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 51.
- Review Date: 2010-03-01
- Reviewer: Staff
In this atmospheric dystopian story, Rachel and her mother live with her mother's chilly and withdrawn employer, Ms. Moore, at the edge of an invisible barrier—the Line, part of the oppressive government's National Border Defense System—which encloses the Unified States. Rachel is homeschooled by her mother (a device Hall uses to give readers history lessons), and spends time tending orchids in Ms. Moore's greenhouse. But she is deeply curious about Away, the land beyond the Line, and about the Others, who were displaced after the Line was erected. When Rachel discovers a recording device and a voice on the tape asks for help, she decides to approach the Line, leading to an encounter that will disclose her family history. Debut author Hall's clear, controlled prose builds burgeoning tension (“Perhaps someone with less imagination, or more friends, could have resisted the pull of something so forbidden... but Rachel was not that person”) while unraveling carefully conceived plot twists, which address themes of totalitarianism, nuclear war, and xenophobia. Dimensional characters and compelling questions unveiled at the dangling finish will have readers awaiting the next installment. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)