Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Line by Teri Hall

I have been reading lots of dystopia novels lately and the Line is no exception to this. Teri Hall imagines for us an alternate United States in which the government controls everything and the Bill of Rights was rewritten to give the government the power to spy on people, keep a record of their genes, and even take them into custody if they are deemed a threat. Free speech does not exists and all information comes from the official records, basically the government. This may seem like something that could never happen, but Teri Hall makes it very believable and shows us how easily things could come to this.

Rachel and her mother Vivian live on the Property with Ms. Moore and Jonathan. They have lived there since Rachel's father, Daniel, died in a war. Rachel learns how to grow orchids, which is Ms. Moore's occupation and her mother serves as a housekeeper. Vivian is an extremely overprotective parent, but Rachel does not question this, until the two witness an identification and her mother refuses to help the woman who is arrested. Rachel learns that her parents were collaborators, who worked to fight against the laws of the country. After Daniel's death, Vivian lives in fear and worries for Rachel. The Property is a place of safety for them, until someone comes to the Line, the border between Rachel's country and Away. The people of Away were cut off from the US when the Line was activated and they were bombed by another country. Rumors abound about the people of Away, but Rachel wants to help the boy Pathik who needs medicine for his sick father. With the help of her mother and, surprisingly, Ms. Moore, the group plans to help Pathik, but Vivian's cover has been revealed and others want what Vivian has been hiding.

This would be a great book for classroom discussion, especially about the ideas of rights of citizens, rights during wartime, and questioning sources. The book is scary, because it is something that could easily happen.

Favorite Quote: "As long as the sun has not set on a day, anything can happen." "Whenever you watch streamer coverage about some issue, remember who controls the media."

Favorite Character: Rachel and Ms. Moore. Rachel is very brave and innocent. She risks everything to help Pathik, but she does not really know what she is risking. She is intelligent, but she also makes mistakes. Ms. Moore seems the most real. While she comes across as standoffish, she is really very caring, but not as brave as Rachel.

I give this 4 bars of chocolate. It is a very interesting and thought-provoking read.

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