Review & Interview: Fault Line by Christa Desir
Posted by H. Lee
Published October 15, 2013 by Simon Pulse
Source: Hardcover from publisher in exchange of an honest review.
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.
My first thought was “Wow, this author is so brave to write a book about such a taboo subject!” Once I got into the guts of the book itself, my next thought was “holy crap! This author really gets into specifics!” My final thought after reading the book in it’s entirety was “I hope this author will be writing a sequel?”
Fault Line is not for the faint at heart! If you are not interested in hearing gory details regarding a rape victim, then maybe this is not the book for you. Ms. Desir did not hold back and I really loved that aspect of the book. I enjoyed feeling the different emotions, gasping in shock and tearing up right along with the characters.
Ben could basically have any girl he wants, but as soon as he meets Ani, his mind is made up. Ani is literally a free spirit. She has no filter and tells it exactly like it is. The beginning of the book is all about their relationship and how happy they seemed to have made each other. Disaster strikes one evening at a party and Ben tries his hardest to bring his old Ani back to him.
Let’s talk Ani…I personally loved her but had such a hard time picturing someone so strong in personality turning into the mess she was by the end of the book. By the end, I was astonished at some of the things that she was doing. I literally had my mouth hanging open and my eyes were bugging out!
On the topic of Ben…The whole book is from Ben’s POV. This was an extremely unique concept to write a book about how the boyfriend deals with what he is going through when his girlfriend is sexually assaulted. I loved Ben. He seemed to be written like perfect boyfriend material. He literally stuck with Ani through thick and thin.
The ending kind of through me for a loop! The story just sort of stopped and the writer has an extremly good explanation for why she had done this. The build up at the end was heart wrenching and just came to an abrupt hault! Even with an ending like that, I still really enjoyed the book. I had started this book immediately upon getting it in the mail and finished it in one sitting. There was no putting it down once I started. I would not have been able to sleep if I had to wonder what would happen with these characters.
The cover is interesting in itself and if you end up reading the book, you will find out why it fits perfectly.
If you can get past the content and really focus on the story and what can and does happen every day. I guarentee that you will love this book too!
And now, It is with great pleasure that I welcome Ms. Christa Desir to the blog! Christa was nice enough to answer some questions for me and I really wanted to share them here with you!
NR- I love the character of Ben. I also love the idea of a story from the boyfriend’s POV. Was this your plan from the beginning when writing this book or did it just sort of come to fruition like that?
Christa- Yes, it was always from a boyfriend’s POV. I’ve had many good guys in my life, I’ve known many good teen guys, I wanted to write a book about sexual assault where they could identify with someone who wasn’t the perpetrator. That even the stupid things Ben did, they could think, “Yeah, he’s doing stupid things, but he really does have good intentions.” I think having a rape book in the YA cannon that boys can read and talk about and not feel vilified by is integral to starting real conversations between all teens.
NR- I know that you had previously worked with rape victims, how did you get involved in that capacity?
Christa- When I got out of college, I volunteered on a D/V hotline. After about a year of doing that, I wanted to be more on the front lines of helping people so I started working as a rape victim advocate in hospital ERs. I did that for almost ten years. I saw lots of things, horrible things that make you question people’s humanity and beautiful that make you realize that there are angels in this world in the form of doctors and nurses and friends and partners who care deeply and want to do the right thing for survivors. Ben & Ani’s story is fiction, but I say all the time, it is sort of everyone’s story, everyone who has experienced rape themselves or in a person they love.
NR- Any advice for a family member/friend of someone that has been sexually assaulted?
Christa- My advice always starts with saying “I believe you and I’m sorry this happened.” We forget that rape victims aren’t required to tell us their stories. If they want to share, then listen and hold their hand if they want. But don’t insist they share. Do everything you can to re-empower them. To me, this is giving them as many choices as you possibly can. Also, I think anyone who is touched by this either as a friend/family person of someone assaulted or the victim her/himself should reach out to talk to someone on the RAINN hotline (1-800-656-HOPE). But again, never force a survivor to do this. Allow them the space to make decisions on their own, regain some of the power that was taken away from them.
NR- I know that you must have received a lot of emails/messages about the ending of the book. What was your reason to leave it so open ended?
Christa- I actually wrote a whole blog about this. (http://christaramblesandwrites.blogspot.com/2013/10/on-open-ending-in-fault-line.html). I stand by what I say in that blog. Rape isn’t tidy. It isn’t over after the half hour. Mine occurred over 30 years ago and I’m still living with it. This story was always about Ben figuring out what he could and could not do to help Ani. It was about Ben learning that you can’t force healing on a survivor, you can’t dictate the timeline. For me, the ending was Ben’s ending because he finally understood what we the reader knew all along.
NR- I also know that there are a lot of people that would love to see a follow up to this book. Me, Me!!! Would there be any chance of a sequel from Ani’s point of view while in recovery?
Christa- To be really honest, I don’t think I could ever write this story from Ani’s POV. With Ben, I was able to find a little personal distance. But being inside Ani’s head, having to battle shame and doubt and culpability, I think it would break me a little. My story is not Ani’s, but I live with my own shame and culpability every day. When I was younger, that was around me getting into a stranger’s car when I knew I shouldn’t have. As I’ve gotten older, my shame is around the fact that I didn’t tell anyone what happened to me for almost ten years and there’s a very good chance that the perpetrator did it again. I’ve had a long road of trying to reconcile this, but I think I’d always be too close to the rawness of Ani’s feelings to do her story justice.
This or That:
Ice Cream or Cake? Cheese (sorry, I’m salty more than sweetJ)
Hard Cover or E book? Hard Cover (I read manuscript submissions on my e-reader for my day job so I avoid e-books)
Dog or Cat? I have a dog, I wish I had a cat but my son is allergic. I love my dog, but I had a superhero cat that was the best animal ever.
Summer or Winter? Summer
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
One last question,
NR- What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
Christa- Well, pretty soon ARCs will be available for my second book BLEED LIKE ME which comes out in Fall 2014. I have several other projects in the fire at varying degrees of completion. I’m NaNoing a book with no swears that is sort of sentimental and sweet (I like challengesJ). I’ve completed an even darker book than FAULT LINE about a sexual predator, but I’m sitting on it for a while because I don’t think I’m ready to put it out in the world. I have a collaboration with Jolene Perry that I completely love (news on this one soon!). I have a girl-girl love story that is half-written. I have a crazy YA American Psycho-type horror novel that needs to be revised. I’m a mess of projects, honestly.