(A note… I set out to read and review at least twelve debut novels in 2013, and including the review below, I have officially accomplished that goal. As of today, I’ve read fourteen debut novels, but a couple slipped by without official reviews. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up before the end of the year!)
From Goodreads – Ben could date anyone he wants, but he only has eyes for the new girl — sarcastic free-spirit, Ani. Luckily for Ben, Ani wants him too. She’s everything Ben could ever imagine. Everything he could ever want. But that all changes after the party. The one Ben misses. The one Ani goes to alone. Now Ani isn’t the girl she used to be, and Ben can’t sort out the truth from the lies. What really happened, and who is to blame? Ben wants to help her, but she refuses to be helped. The more she pushes Ben away, the more he wonders if there’s anything he can do to save the girl he loves.
(Disclaimer: Christa Desir is a dear friend, but her personal awesomeness has in no way impacted my review of her novel.)
A little background… While I’ve read a few of Christa’s (currently) unpublished manuscripts, Fault Line was written and sold before she and I became friendly and began trading work. Because I know and very much appreciate Christa’s stark, no-holds-barred writing style, and am often drawn to dark contemporary YA, I have been (impatiently) awaiting Fault Line‘s release for ages. Seriously… I teared up a bit when the beautiful hardcover was finally delivered to my house last week. I started reading immediately, and could hardly put it down.
Fault Line is not the kind of book that sweeps you off your feet with romance and exoticism, nor is it the sort of book you’ll fall traditionally head-over-heels in love with. It’s not a book that’s going to leave you with that warm, content feeling that’s common in contemporary YA. Fault Line not a pleasant read — in fact, a good deal of this story is downright painful — but it is an affecting book and, I think, an incredibly important novel.
Fault Line is the sort of book that’s going to make readers wonder what they’d do if they found themselves in Ben’s (or Ani’s) situation. It’s going to put them in its characters’ shoes and force them to ponder all of the what ifs? and if onlys Ben and Ani had to face. Fault Line is going to keep readers up at night. It’s going to make them worry about its characters, feel for its characters, and wish for better outcomes for its characters. This novel is going to start conversations about rape, victim blaming, and the “right” way to cope. It is remarkably relevant.
I’ve read a few reviews of Fault Line that took issue with its ending. Yes, it is abrupt, and yes, it is open-ended. But to me, it felt right. There are no easy outcomes when it comes to sexual assault, and to have given Ben and Ani a shiny, ribbon-tied coda would have been disingenuous. I’m so proud of Christa for ending her novel in a real (though difficult) place, a place that allows readers to imagine their own conclusion for these captivating characters.
Congratulations on a story well told, Christa. ♡
Learn more about the Debut Author Challenge HERE.
What’s the last debut novel you read?