Fault Line by Christa Desir ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: October 15, 2013
Target audience: Mature young adult
Keywords: sexual assault, relationships, reactions
Format read: ARC paperback from TLA. (Magan picked this one out for me.)
Summary: Ben can’t believe his luck with Ani. She’s gorgeous, she’s sweet, she’s smart, and he couldn’t be happier. Until she goes to a party and he doesn’t, and everything changes.
The shocking opening scene of Fault Line set a precedent for the rest of my reading. Despite the heavy subject matter, it was impossible to not feel hooked and invested in this story.
Ben was a great main character. He’s an amazing swimmer at school, and he comes from a family that really works to make sure they communicate and talk to each other. Like every teenager, this sort of gets to Ben because who wants their parents all in their business? Yet it really painted a great picture of his home life. Maybe this all sounds a bit idealistic but what made Ben so great was that he was flawed and imperfect. And it showed in the relationships he had with his friends, his family, and even with Ani.
Their relationship starts a little fast but there is something so wonderful about it. Ani is super blunt, honest, creative, and semi-spiritual and all of these qualities made Ben want her completely. Their relationship was playful but intimate; they also talked a lot and made cute plans together (road tripping to The Christmas Story house), and I liked the snippets of them we got to see.
But then the party happens. The one that Ben doesn’t go to. He doesn’t hear from Ani at all at the party, and the next thing he knows he gets a call from her friend Kate and he is heading to the hospital.
When I read what happened to Ani, I literally had to close the book and close my eyes. I was not sure that I would be able to finish my lunch. I was so distraught. I felt for her so much. Her attack, and the way she was attacked, was just one of the worst situations I’ve ever heard about and I had no idea how Ani would move forward herself, and in her relationship with Ben.
It’s really hard to watch someone you love spiral. I really like how Desir chose to spotlight Ben’s perspective. He is sort of on the inside and on the outside of this situation, and we see an honest account of how someone connected to a situation like this also faces an aftermath that can’t be easily handled. Ani is literally changing in front of his eyes, and he wants to save her so bad, hold on to the parts of her that he loved so hard, but he also feels incredibly helpless and begins sinking himself.
Ben and Ani do not invite any adults to help them. This decision (more Ani, than Ben’s) starkly parallels the openness encouraged in both of these family units from the beginning. I understood why they wanted to keep everything to themselves but when things continued to get worse, I was practically begging for someone to step in and make it better. (It was very interesting to watch how friends of the two step in and step out of the situation.)
Fault Line is so tightly written, and feels important without getting preachy. Ben and Ani’s stories could have happened to any one of us or the people we know, and I think that’s why the reading experience was so painful. These horrific things are happening, and people are truly feeling and reacting in these ways in real time. I know it’s not easy to read a book filled with so much sadness, but something has to be said for Desir’s supreme writing style and character development because Ben and Ani have not left me since I closed Fault Line.
I’m so ready for more Desir.