Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: Fault Line by C. Desir

Fault Line by C. Desir
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: October 15, 2013
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (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.

What I Liked:

Despite my slightly low rating of this book, I enjoyed this book! I was scared that I wouldn't, because everyone who follows me regularly knows how I generally feel about "tough-issues" contemporary novels. For the most part, I either LOVE them or HATE them - and it's usually the latter. I actually just read Far From You by Tess Sharpe, and it got three stars from me, but on the negative side. This rating, of Fault Line, is on the positive side of three stars. I liked this one.

Ani and Ben have a whirlwind relationship - upon seeing each other, they fall in lust. Ben loves her blunt, straightforward attitude towards everything. Ani is unique, different, special. Ben is sweet and thoughtful, athletic and totally male. Together, the pair is all kinds of fabulous. But things change when one night, Ben doesn't go to a party with Ani. And something happens to Ani - something awful, something that should never happen to anyone. Half of this book is about what happens before, then what happens, and then the other half is about what happens after.

This book is told from Ben's first-person perspective, and I liked that! It was interesting to see a story of a person's rape from not an outside, someone who cares greatly about the victim. A very direct relationship, but not the victim herself. Ben is a great protagonist, and I liked following his perspective. I respect him for all of his decisions - trying to stay Ani, keep her secrets, shield her, love her. I don't agree with all of them, especially when it comes to the swim scholarship, but I respect them.

Ani... I did and did not like her. I feel so bad for her - no girl should never have to go through what she went through. The author portrayed the situation and Ani's personality changes SO WELL - I was impressed. I hate what Ani became, but I love how well the author wrote her victim.

That's something that really stuck out to me - how well Desir created this story. How well she constructed reactions, emotions, capabilities. She had everything perfectly placed - Ani's breakdown, Ben's desperation, the back and forth between them... I really love how Desir knew her stuff, about the victim, the people close to the victim, the reaction of the students, and so on. Wow.

Overall, this novel is really powerful. I try not to read too many "tough-issue" books because I usually dislike them, but also, because they are so sad. But the powerful sad, the kind that makes you think and appreciate what you have. I don't know how I would react, if I were ever placed in the situation Ani was (hopefully, that never happens). Yes, I want to blame Ani in part, but also the people who did the terrible act. This book definitely makes you think!

What I Did Not Like:

While I definitely enjoyed this book, there some things that I would have liked to seen. For example, understanding Ani's side of things would have helped my perspective of her. Knowing exactly what happened to her that night, by the end of the book, would have helped.

I liked the fact that this book was written in Ben's perspective, because it shows the aftereffects of the tragic event from the perspective of someone very close to the victim, but not actually the victim. However, perhaps alternating points-of-view would have worked better in this book. We could see Ani's side of things as well as Ben's. I feel like readers see Ani in a highly negative light, even if she is the victim. I almost hated her for what she was doing after the rape, but that's not right - she was raped. So, it would have helped to understand Ani's thought process, so that I would not have disliked her as much. That felt wrong. 

Also, we never get to know EXACTLY, DEFINITIVELY, what happened that night. There are rumors, ideas, gossip, but nothing is concretely known. Part of this is because Ani doesn't remember anything. However, the truth could have come from the other boys? I feel like somehow, the author should have conveyed the events of that night to readers. In real life, this doesn't happen often - knowing exactly what happened - but in fiction, it would have been nice, maybe?

But my biggest thing was about Ani - I felt bad disliking her, but I really did not like her, by the end of the book. I totally understand that her reactions were from the event, but if I could have seen things EXACTLY from her point-of-view, then maybe I would have felt differently towards her. But as an outsider? I was saddened, disheartened, and disgusted BY WHAT SHE WAS DOING, not by what happened to her.

Would I Recommend It:

If you enjoy "tough-issue" contemporary novels, then I would definitely recommend this novel. Actually, I liked this one, so I would recommend it to anyone. Obviously, there were things that nagged me, but my overall feeling for this book was positive. The message of this book is very powerful, and I wish everyone would read this book or a book similar to it, to experience the before and after of such a tragic and life-changing event. 


3 stars. I definitely enjoyed this book, but I wanted a little more. It's an excellent debut and a great "tough-issues" novel!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


  1. Well, you know me and tough issue books. *quietly sneaks away to other side of library* I am interested in some of the author's narrative choices here based on your review. It looks like your biggest complaints with the story are the lack of knowing exactly what happened and the inability to get inside Ani's head. I wonder if the author chose to portray the story and character this way on purpose, because it's a more accurate depiction of real life situations. As you said, often we don't know exactly what happened; and when victims behavior patterns change, we have nothing but their behavior and words to base our assumptions and judgments on. Perhaps that was the second level of the book? Not just forcing yourself to remember Ani is a victim despite how bad she seems, but keeping that in mind when confronted with similar situations in real life? Whatever the case, I'm glad this was a positive 3-star read for you. It's no fun to get too many bad books in a row. :)

    1. Interesting observations, Kel. I wonder about the author's choices myself, but overall, I'm glad I finally read this book, and that I enjoyed it. I'd had this book for almost a year! D:

  2. This one is a book I feel I should get and read as soon as possible.
    I think that is very important to make us see how by not getting the victim's POV we can end up blaming her instead of understanding that blaming the victim should never be the attitude. It kinda show us that no matter what, the pull tends to go against than for the victims.
    Great review, Alyssa!

    1. That is so, so true, Pili. Maybe that was the author's point all along, and I completely missed it. Very astute observation! Thank you so much <3

    2. That is an *excellent* point, Pili! And of course it happens in all kinds of books, even light and fluffy ones - if there's a character from whom we do not get to hear, while being so intimately in the head of another character, we may find ourselves angry at or disliking the non-first-person character. (Does that make sense the eay I said it?? I'm not sure...) But it is particularly treacherous in a book dealing with such tough issues and someone cast as a victim. Great observation!!

  3. I completely understand your feelings towards tough issue books. I rarely read them because they balance on such a fine line for me. If they aren't written EXACTLY SO, I get angry. I know that isn't a great reaction, but I have been through some of the tough issues, from the "happened to" to the "happen to someone that I love", and that makes me... maybe more emotional about it than I should be. Regardless, I think this sounds like it could be a good story. But, even having never read the book, the fact that we don't get to see things through the perspective of the victim, even if it is just an epilogue at the end that is a flashback, bothers me. It doesn't seem right to dislike the victims actions when you don't have the full story, but not having the full story, sometimes you can't help your feelings. Anyway, I am so sorry for the rambles. Your review was fantastic! As always... Just out of curiosity, have you read The Fault in Our Stars? And if so, what did you think of that one?

    1. Oo, I understand what you're saying, Jaime. I'm always in the middle, with these types of books. I wish we could have seen something from the victim's perspective, but alas, that wasn't a part of this particular novel.

      Thank you so much, Jaime! And I have not read it. I seriously do not plan on reading it, honestly. Or watching the movie. I already know that I will most likely hate it, or it will break my heart, or both. I'm not actively looking for a book like that, so, no thanks! :)

    2. That has been my thoughts on it as well. I know that nearly everyone loves it, but I am not willing to put myself through it. I know people tend to love these stories, but being heartbroken isn't a reason that I read. Not even a little bit!

    3. You and I are very similar, in that aspect! I know that the book is quite touching and life-changing and everything, but I don't like reading those kinds of books (or watching those kinds of movies) often. Reading, to me, is a pastime for escaping reality, and that type is just too real. I totally agree with you, Jaime!

  4. Great review, Alyssa. I think you gave great reasons for what you liked and what you didn't like, without giving everything aeay. I won this book from Simon Teen and I really do want to read it (I'm also one who "enjoys" tough issue novels!), but I'm also concerned it's gonna tear me up! Anyway, thanks for the review!

    1. Ooo. congrats on the win! And I'm glad to hear that I didn't give anything away. I always worry about that, in my reviews D: If I mostly enjoyed this one, then you definitely will, since you like these types of books! Happy reading, Holly! And you are very welcome :)


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