Girls on the Line

232p. Carolrhoda Lab. Nov. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781512459388.
OrangeReviewStarGr 10 Up—The author explores China's One Child Policy and its complex repercussions in this compelling dual narrative. Luli and Yun grew up together in an orphanage and find themselves in the grind of factory work as they seek financial and social independence. Shy Luli observes as Yun pursues a relationship with Yong, who self-describes as a "bride collector." When Yun becomes pregnant and gets fired from the factory, her world closes in with the consequences of bearing a child out of wedlock in 2009 China. Yun is self-aware enough to know she cannot face her problem alone, but her survival-mode mentality leads her away from nurturing Luli. Yong's credibility crumbles, but Yun is so embedded in his world, she needs Luli and others to navigate each step of her journey. Liu shifts narration creatively along plot points and uses a matter-of-fact tone to immerse readers in the unfolding action. The characters are realistic products of their experiences—they are flawed, accessible, and multidimensional. This novel explores a moment of contemporary history and a culture that is underrepresented in YA realistic fiction. Fans of Audacity by Melanie Crowder or Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez will gobble this up.
VERDICT Recommended purchase, especially for YA collections serving older teens or new adults.

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