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.
(Summary from GoodReads)
Most people probably expect stories about rape to be from the victim’s perspective, but that’s not the case with Fault Line. Desir’s novel is all about a boy named Ben who starts dating a girl named Ani shortly before she is sexually assaulted at the party. Fault Line offers a fresh, well written, and emotional perspective on sexual violence.
I’ve seen other reviews complain about character development, so we’re going to start there. Ben and Ani really only date briefly before the assault, and some people complain that Ani felt underdeveloped and wondered why Ben stayed with her. I actually thought that this was an extremely important element of how Ben deals with Ani’s assault—perhaps staying with her isn’t the best thing for either of them, but he stays with her because he thinks it’s right. Fault Line is about narrative and what happens to Ani. How is Ben letting his story affect her? Should he be thinking more about how the assault affected Ani or himself? I love the fact that teen readers will pick up this book and get to think about whether the way Ben behaved was right or wrong. Ben is a little stubborn which can make him hard to like, but to me what matters is how realistic he is.
Desir’s plotting is quick: no time is wasted in getting to the action of this story. The ending of this book is emotionally tough because the reader has grown attached to these characters, but doesn’t necessarily get a lot of answers. It’s messy and a little confusing, which is exactly the type of experience Ben has.
I cannot stress enough what a valuable and important book this is. Desir takes an extremely relevant topic and deals with it in a way that young adult literature hasn’t seen too often before. Fault Line may be short, but it will send your heart through the wringer and pack a lot of punch as you read it.