Review: A CRACK IN THE LINE by Michael Lawrence

A Crack in the Line (Withern Rise, #1)ย 
Michael Lawrence
352 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: August 23rd 2005
Source: Borrowed from Library

What if someone else was living your life? You are sixteen. You live with your father in a big Victorian house on the outskirts of London. Your mother is dead, killed in a train crash two years ago. It is snowing. The snow is falling on the house and the wide yard and the gnarled old tree that everyone calls the Family Tree. It makes you restless. You reach out your hands toward an object you’ve known all your life, and suddenly the walls melt away. When you open your eyes, you are still in your living room. “Who are you?” asks a girl who looks just like you but is not you. “And what are you doing in my house?”

You have stumbled into another version of your life. This girl is sixteen. She lives with your father (her father) in a big Victorian house on the outskirts of London. Your mother (her mother) is not dead. She had a close call in a train crash two years ago. Listen: your mother is calling you (her) now.

Michael Lawrence’s gripping thriller about a boy and a girl who are the same person but not quite will have you turning the pages late into the night…and talking and thinking and wondering about the shifting nature of identity, time, space, and the cracks that can appear in a train rail, a lifeline, and a family tree.

Alaric and Naia are closer than siblings – even closer than twins. They are two versions of the same person, living in two, alternate dimensions, and when their lives are suddenly and inexplicably brought together by a carved model known as Lexie’s Folly, they are forced to rethink everything they know about the universe, their families, and themselves.

Alaric’s mother, Alex Underwood, was involved in a terrible train crash when he was fourteen. She had a fifty-fifty chance of dying. She died. Naia’s mother, Alex Underwood, was also involved in a train crash when she was fourteen. This Alex also had a fifty-fifty chance of dying. She lived.

Because of this difference, Alaric and Naia’s lives are completely different. Naia is carefree and lively, a lot like her mother, while Alaric is sullen and withdrawn, living an almost speechless life with his father in their old, Victorian house in the outskirts of London. His only source of happiness is his Aunt Liney, who acts as a sort of babysitter while Alaric’s father is away, but Alaric rejects her as well, still bitter over his mother’s death.

A Crack in the Line by Michael Lawrence is incomplete on its own – it needs to be read with its sequel – Small Eternities (which also leaves you dangling). But I’ve heard The Underwood See (I still haven’t read it, but I’d like to) will tie all the loose ends together beautifully. One thing’s for sure – these three books form a thought-provoking, intriguing trilogy that you just can’t miss!

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Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply

    Jannette Fuller

    December 16, 2010

    Hi there =)

    I just read your review On A Crack in the Line and it sounds awesome! I will have to check it out. Thanks for a great blog and all the cool info you have for us bloggers, writers, readers, etc…. =)


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    October 1, 2014

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