Title: Fault LineThis review does contain some spoilers.
Author: C. Desir
Release Date: October 1st, 2013
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I'm trying to find the right words to express my thoughts on this book because it left me dumbfounded. It's a powerful, emotional novel about huge, realistic and important issues. The actions and reactions leave you with a dry throat and your heart aching because they are never far off from what happens way too often in our own world.
Going in, you have to know one thing: this is a rape book. It's a realistic and terrifying and unique depiction of rape and high school and our society's knee-jerk victim-blaming reaction. The other thing you need to know: this is told from the rape victim's boyfriend's POV. Ben, the main character, is well-liked and popular and in love with Ani, the new girl in town. It's a fast-paced romance that hits on several highlights of their relationship because this is a short book (only 240 pages or so). You get to see that Ben and Ani care for each other and are happily in love with all the cute romances of first teen love. I'm not usually a fan of insta-love but it works in Fault Line because it sets the stage for what eventually happens.
One night Ani goes to a party with one of her girl friends and gets drunk, possibly drugged. She doesn't remember much of anything of the night and ends up in the hospital. Here is where I found it infuriating and interesting (infuriatingly interesting?) to have the story from Ben instead of Ani's POV. The reader learns about what happened while Ben's learning about it. You read through his shock and confusion and love and anger and insecurities. I found myself growing angry with him at times but then reeling myself in, seeing and understanding his helplessness in a situation that no one (except the rapists) had control of.
I won't spoil why exactly Ani is in the hospital but just know that it did leave me feeling queasy. It's a punch in the gut surprise.
Where I think Fault Line excelled was in the aftermath of the rape. Ani's reactions were heartbreaking. She is left feeling alone, guarded, and eventually tries to take control of her own body in a way that isn't healthy for her and is painful for Ben. There are no happy endings here, which might put me in the minority for appreciating. It was realistic and left you feeling just as lost and angry as the moment you find out about the details of what Ani endured. Survivors of rape deserve their own happy ending, but the short time period that envelops Fault Line would have made Ani's unrealistic and what she survived not as much of a powerful impact to readers.
This is a dark, gritty contemporary that is important and should be shared. It's not for every reader but I think the conversations it will spur are necessary. I would be interested to see how teens react to this book and if their thoughts on rape (what constitutes as rape and what doesn't) and who is to blame will change or solidify.
TL;DR: Fault Line is a fast-paced gritty contemporary that takes on the topic of rape in a realistic and unique way. It left my stomach turning and my heart breaking for Ani and Ben.