Fault Line by Christa Desir Review

Monday, November 18, 2013

Title: Fault Line
Author: Christa Desir (Twitter)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: October 15, 2013
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 240
Source: Publisher

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.
Contemporary fiction is a genre that seems to either hit very well with me, or simply miss me entirely. I know that many readers and reviewers read contemporary for escapism. I, however, read the genre when I'm looking for a hearty dose of reality that I cannot otherwise find in fantasy, paranormal, or dystopian books. Fault Line promises readers a dark, emotional journey and, as we're thrust into a tumultuous and emotional journey, Christa Desir exposes the underbelly of society that we do not like to see. 

Fault Line is one of those books that will have either extremely strong advocates for it, as well as those who are immensely opposed to it. Dealing with the messy, painful topic of rape, this book embraces the grittiness and rips us from our comfort zones. There is strength in this, as it isn't glossed over or muddled with unimportant romance. Rather, the aftermath of such a heinous act feels as though the book, the characters and, at times, the plot, have been broken and ravaged by such a vicious crime.

I, for one, can appreciate that Ms. Desir didn't turn this book into merely a cautionary tale in which we see the hurt, but we watch our main character simply bounce back after the fact. I think that would have defeated the purpose of Fault Line. Rather, as the title implies, we see where everything begins to crack, crumble and fall apart, causing this ripple effect of destruction to everyone and everything about Ani. When we meet Ben and Ani, their banter is endearing and hilarious. They are real, and it's a great draw into the story. However, the crime decimates Ani's character, shattering her reality and, essentially, ripping away Ben's identity, as well. 

Despite the strengths of the premise though, I felt that Fault Line became too obvious and too jumbled at times. There are so many gray areas and so very many emotions that can be played out throughout the story, but they truly got lost in the shock value of the novel. There is a meaning to the lighter on the cover, and there is certainly a meaning to the message "Who do you blame?" on the cover. My issue is that we're offered almost too much and from the wrong point of view. We bounce from one painful act to the next and, when I feel like I know Ben, he does something that makes me lose faith in his character entirely. I simply could not come to terms with his rationale. 

Overall, Fault Line has a ton of potential, but it isn't without its flaws. The author makes a bold choice when tackling such dark subject matter, but I think that any inherent meaning is a bit lost in the shock value we see.   I give it a  2.5 out of 5, and I recommend it to upper YA/NA readers, as the subject matter is heavy and, at times, a bit graphic. This is for fans of contemporary fiction.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. Oh wow, this book sounds super heavy and emotional...I didn't know rape was the subject matter so I'll have to approach with caution. Too bad you lost faith in Ben after a while, that sounds really frustrating in a book. Great review!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  2. I've been wanting to read this for a while and I can't stop thinking how intriguing the premise is. Especially with the whole 'who do you blame?' thing ... because, really, that answer should be obvious. So I'm curious as to how Christa has weaved plot in such a way to blur the lines.

    Sorry this didn't work out so well for you. But I have to say, I'm still really curious about it!

  3. Hmmmm. I don't think this one is for me at all Melissa! It sounds too emotionally dark and heavy and I'm just not in a place where I can appreciate that type of story right now. I'm worried too about Ben and the fact that he clearly does some things that were hugely problematic for you and that makes me very nervous. I just feel like I'd be too on edge, not in a good way, while reading this one, but I do applaud the author for holding nothing back. Thanks for the wonderful review!

  4. I read for entertainment and to be happy so I doubt this would work for me. I have read books with rape in them but it seems like they were focused on healing and moving on. This sounds too dark for me. Sounds like it was a little much for you as well. Great honest review, Melissa! :)

  5. I've heard so many negative things about this book that I decided not to read it. Your review just solidified my decision. The whole lighter thing seems kind of scary and I don't think I want to know. Like Jenny and Rachel, I'm not too big on books that have overly dark material. Plus, the characters don't sound like they will appeal to me.
    You're brave for trying this out, Melissa.
    Lovely review. :)

  6. This is such a tough subject, and like you I struggle with contemporary particularity in the YA genre. I often just cannot relate. I like that the author didn't make light of the subject, and appreciate that it was darker and emotional but it sounds like it had flaws as well. Wonderful review Melissa :)

  7. Too bad this didn't work for you. It seems like almost an impossible topic to get right. At least there was good banter to balance out the darkness.

  8. I read the spoilers on this one and I think the shock value is just too much for me. I was hoping you liked it more, but with your review I know it won't be for me. Too bad, she seemed to be promising.
    Great review Melissa. I'm glad it was you reading it and not me!

  9. Melissa, I completely forgot your domain moved, so I'm terribly sorry I haven't been commenting lately! I feel terrible! :(

    It's a shame this book didn't live up to its full potential for you! I've been looking forward to it, but maybe I'll have to re-think that. Thanks for such a honest review, dear!

  10. This book is definitely on the darker side for me so while I appreciated the writing and topics covered, it's just not the kind of book I usually like. I also kind of wonder if I would have preferred it from Ani's POV.


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