Monday, February 22, 2010

Book Review, Author Interview and Giveaway: The Line by Teri Hall

Rachel lives with her mother Vivian on the property of old Mrs. Moore. It lies right next to The Line, an invisible physical barrier that separates the US from the Away – a hastily abandoned part of the country that was subsequently attacked by enemy forces using a banned weapon. Despite their proximity to Away, which is rumored to harbor mutants, Rachel and her mother live a quiet life, trying never to attract attention. Until the day that Rachel finds a recording from the Away asking for help.

It’s not often you have three strong female leads in a novel, especially in a work of dystopian fiction. And while the teen character, Rachel, is the main agent in setting up the action of the story, you can take her character at face value – overprotected, na├»ve, impetuous, and daring. It’s Vivian and stern Mrs. Moore (who I totally imagine as Judi Dench) who provide the secret backgrounds and satisfying twists.

The politics and regulations of this new US (Unified States rather than United States – though the change was so subtle, I admit I didn’t even notice it, see interview below) are brutal and show clearly what might happen if an entity like Homeland Security should ever take over and throw out The Bill of Rights. While I definitely appreciated the back story and world building, too much of it happened up front and in the form of exposition which threw off the pacing. What you have now is a slow build in the first half (a less patient reader might snark that the first half is dominated by tons of talk and orchid cultivating in the greenhouse) before the action picks up dramatically in the second half after a chilling visit into town.

THE LINE is due out in hardcover March 4th and its sequel (Yes, there’s a pretty evil cliffhanger) THE AWAY is due in 2011. Find out more about the books and read the first chapter of THE LINE at the author's website.

My Rating - 3 Zombie Chickens: Well Worth Reading

And now a warm welcome to author Teri Hall!

What are some of your favorite dystopian novels, if any? Did they influence you at all in the writing of THE LINE?
The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro are three that I love. And while I would not say that they influenced me while I was writing The Line, I would say that they inspired me, and still inspire me.

In THE LINE, the US is the only country that isn’t given a made-up name. Is there a particular reason for that?
Actually the U.S. is called the Unified States in the book, not the United States. I wanted to suggest the idea that while now we have (or at least think we have) a group of states united together, with certain sovereign rights preserved, to form the U.S., in the world of The Line the states have been unified—they are all under the control of one governing body and there are no individual state rights, nor does the constitution limit the power of the government in any real way over states or individuals.

I thought a very subtle change in the name could convey this, while at the same time also conveying the notion that often, it is very subtle changes over time which add up to the loss of freedom. We don’t notice the day to day adjustments to our rules and regulations, until one day we wake up and we are required by law to possess special papers if we wish to leave our own country. (Sound familiar to anyone?)

As far as the other country names, they are all based on something about existing countries or how existing countries might change and combine over time to become new countries.

Throwing out the Bill of Rights in the name of National Security is something that almost seems plausible given some of the current political rhetoric. Is a world like what exists in THE LINE in our future?
I don’t know. But I wanted to ask that question and others (Why do we fear what is different? How can we overcome that fear and learn to embrace what is essential about persons, and ensure that we all enjoy the same rights and freedoms? What exactly do we include in our definition of persons? Can we come up with a better definition?). Encouraging discussion was one of the things I hoped for—I have had some wonderful responses from teachers about using The Line as a discussion tool in class rooms and I think that is exciting.

When Rachel surfs her version of the Internet, she reads rumors of sheep-cats and other mutations. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever read on the Internet?
Um, wow. Too many things to mention.

Why do you think dystopian fiction is so hot right now? What’s the attraction?
I really think dystopian fiction never goes out of style. Some people like it because it’s a little frightening, some because it really allows one to escape into another world entirely. There is a fabulous list of dystopias dating from the 1960s to the present, compiled by Dr. Amy H. Sturgis, at Great titles that show a long fascination with this genre.

Thanks Teri!

I have 3 hardcover copies of THE LINE up for grabs to residents of the US and Canada. Just tell me in your comment one of the strangest things you ever read on the Internet and you're entered! I'd appreciate it too if you'd tweet a link or post a link in your sidebar, thanks! This contest will remain open for 2 weeks, until March 8th at 11:59 PM CST.

See Index of all Dystopian Reviews on Presenting Lenore


Sandy Nawrot said...

Well, the three books that inspired her are three of my favorites, so how could I go wrong? I would love to be entered into this one! Thank you! rnawrot at cfl dot rr dot com

Alissa Grosso said...

Strangest thing I saw online? There is so much to choose from.

I love the site which always manages to make me laugh out loud with the pictures people submit to the site. One of the strangest is this Hockey Mom picture

Thanks for having this contest.

Unknown said...

Strangest thing I saw online would have to be... a zombie kitteh? <3



AHS said...

Wonderful interview! And thanks for the "shout out" re: my list of YA dystopias over the decades. I appreciate it!

Vanessa said...

Great review!

Only one strange thing? Well, there was that guy trying to sell his soul on Ebay. I don't think he was getting very much for it, though =o)


Michelle said...

I've been eyeing this one for a bit - it looks very interesting.

As for what I've seen online that's strange? Does it count if was instructions on how to build an urban chicken coop that my hubby found and then built the following weekend when I was out of town? Yep. We now have 5 chickens.
mmillet at gmail dot com

wheresmyrain said...

i think one of the strangest and greatest was this site comprised of an artwork dont in the dust and grime of dirty car windows, it was pretty intricate amazing stuff

wheresmyrain at yahoo dot com

bermudaonion said...

That is scary to think of our country without the Bill of Rights! It's hard to narrow it down to one strange thing on the internet, but I will go with a picture of the world's ugliest dog. milou2ster(at)

Rabid Fox said...

One of the strangest things I've seen online is the phenomenon of teenagers videotaping their bullying antics to post on YouTube. It's just bizarre behavior that I can't stand. Oh, and pro-anorexia websites are another disgusting thing that I find utterly strange.

e-mail: rabidfox(at)

I'll add a retweet of this and put a link in my sidebar (

Jessica B said...

Please enter me! Hm...weirdest thing....Oh, how about I love that site, but it is rather odd, I guess.

shutupjessicasreading @ gmaildotcom

Cecelia said...

I've been looking forward to this book - I do love a dystopian novel!

I think the internet is full of strange things (at least, strange to me!). But I have to admit that some of the Regretsy photos I've seen have been ridiculous.

Thanks for the chance to win!


Cecelia said...

I'm also posting this to my blog sidebar.



Leslie said...

Hmm, strangest thing I've seen online... Words cannot describe this, just check it out for yourself.

This book looks really good, thanks for the contest.

Erika said...

OOOHH! I am entering--been dying to read this book. Let's see: the weirdest thing on the internet I've seen, well, it's ONE of the weirdest, surely (there are so many out there):

A dog collar that Tweets entries to your dog's Twitter account. How many things are weird about that sentence? ;)

From this year's Toy Fair!

Donna Gambale said...

This book looks really cool -- thanks for the review. And I loved the interview. Those types of political "what if?" questions intrigue me to no end.

Anyway, here's my giveaway entry:
The strangest thing I ever read on the Internet... well, it's more of a "saw" than "read" but -- I can't believe it's real life. Also, a woman was willing to prostitute herself on Craigslist for Phillies World Series tickets. Gotta love fan dedication!

I linked the contest on the First Novels Club sidebar. Thanks for hosting!

firstnovelsclub (at) gmail (dot) com

Brittany said...

Totally agree with Judi Dench as Mrs. Moore!

ANovelMenagerie said...

Emm & Finn are in a tie breaker.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, doll. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.


You know I have to check her out, if just for the simple fact that we share the same simple name!

..and I was just gifted with the new "nook", so I am up and ready to go. ;P

Jessy said...

The strangest thing I saw recently was a Robert Pattinson man pillow. I just can't believe someone would make something like this and then sleep with it...It's too creepy.

findjessyhere at gmail dot com

Jeanne said...

Oh my, I can see I've got to read this one. Strangest thing I've seen online today is the YouTube video entitled "Dangerous Wands" by college humor.
Jeanne dot Griggs at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

The strangest thing I ever read on the Internet was something a friend posted accidentally on Facebook and then deleted. Ha!Ha! I don't think she'd appreciate me posting what it was, though.

Anonymous said...

strangest thing I read on the internet was that underarm deoderant causes breast cancer,thx for contest

Yan said...

Katiebab's WTFckery posts. They are most highly disturbing and disgusting but oh so entertaining LOL

Yan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea said...

I would love to read this book! And the strangest thing I have seen online is!

And Leslie--funny story! My boyfriend's softball team captain came across this tshirt and the review and laughed so much that they ordered them as team uniforms!

And I blogged about the contest here.


Staci said...

This sounds like it could be a solid series for sure. I wonder if my son would be interested in reading this one??? Loved the three books that inspired her!

Donna (Bites) said...

Please enter me! The strangest thing I've ever read on the internet/ A slightly loaded question, don't you think? Off the top of my head it's probably have to be What's even scarier is that I lived that for close to two years.

I'm adding your contest to my Chomper Contest post! Thanks for having it!

Linda said...

want you to know I am reading your posts, just not into dystopian books. Still love you anyway! Aunt Linda

Emily said...

Please enter me!

Strangest thing read on the internet...recently at least I would have to say my co-worker posting her dilation measurements while in labor!



donnas said...

People of Walmart is definitely up there. And when the new Star Wars movies were made there was that Star Wars kid on YouTube. Both really freaked me out just a bit.

Linked here: and on the sidebar too.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Alyce said...

Oh, I am definitely entering to try and win this one! :)

There are so many strange things on the internet to choose from. One thing that I think is odd are chain mail messages that combine religion and curses - "if you send this on to seven friends Jesus will bless you, if not then you'll have bad luck." It always seems like an odd dichotomy to me (and not in the true spirit of Christianity).

The twirling lady image that shows which side of the brain you think with (by which way it's turning) is pretty cool but strange too.

Jenny N. said...

One thing I can think of right now is that a while back I found this website where people post up pictures of strange people who shop at Walmart. Don't remember what the website name though.

Added to sidebar:


Kelsey said...

Wow! There are so many strange things on the internet, that it's hard to pick just one. So I thought I'd link an article that I read about the weirdest Craigslist ads: The ad about the "ferocious attack kitten" is the funniest thing I've ever read!

I linked the contest from Twitter:

I would love a chance to read and review this book on my blog!

Thanks for the entry,

Dawn M. said...

I was going to post about the People of Wal-Mart website but several others beat me to it. Heh. So, I'll go with this one instead:

librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Bella@BeguileThySorrow said...

There have been countless "strangest things" I've seen on the web, but most recently it was this tropical pic of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" crew:
lol, thanks for the contest :D


Bella@BeguileThySorrow said...

hmm, first link didnt work...I'm trying this one?...


Lola said...

Awesome review! I absolutely can not wait for this to be released! :D

christine said...

Great interview. The idea of removing the Bill of Rights would have seemed so implausible a while back but is not so far-fetched these days.

I would love to be entered and the weirdest thing....too many but one would have to be and the selling of a serial killer's fingernails on Ebay.


Van Pham said...

one of the strangest thing i saw online was a SNUGGIE for pets, i thought that was hilarious.

thanks for the contest

van p.

Mandy said...

How am I supposed to chose the strangest? The internet is full of strange. Hm, I once saw this site that had all these weird things listed the people tried to sell on eBay, but I don't remember the website.

Zia said...

Some of those LOLcat pictures have been pretty darn strange. I would love to be entered.


Megan said...

"Ooh! My balls are itchy. Have you got the cheese grater?"

Chelsea/thepageflipper told me about this blog. NSFW, but VERY funny.

You are getting to read so many great books, sometimes I hate you.


Nickolay said...

Some of the most interesting things I read come from a website called This is one of my favorite


I just spent the past twenty minutes checking out a girl who turned out to be a mannequin. I need AA.


Zibilee said...

I would love to be entered in this giveaway, the book sounds very intriguing! I have seen a lot of weird things on the internet, but today I saw the biggest dog in the world, his head was so big, I thought the picture must have been fake! I can't imagine having to tell that dog to get off the couch!!


Thanks for hosting this great giveaway!

Unknown said...

Strangest thing I've heard...well, actually, a lot of the really strange stuff I heard actually ended up being true! (Most of the stuff on, for instance)

But for the not true stuff...bonsai kittens. Definitely bonsai kittens.

Liviania said...

I just read about ChatRoulette, which sounds incredibly odd.

inbedwithbooks AT yahoo DOT com

E. Kristin Anderson said...

Ah! I can't wait to read The Line - it's on my wishlist.

As for the strangest thing I've seen online, well...I've learned that if it exists, there's a fetish for it. I once stumbled upon a fingernail fetish group critiquing my fingernails in an old youtube video. CREEEEEPY.

ninefly said...

any post at really, they make the most WTF stuff even funnier, and make sure to back up with research lol

please sign me up for the giveaway!


Anonymous said...

The strangest thing I read on the internet would be someone selling a supposed authentic vampire slaying kit, complete with stakes and holy water and everything. Really weird, LOL.

Anna ♥

Laura Hartness said...

I don't now if anyone has mentioned this one, but I've read/seen some pretty crazy/weird/hysterical stuff on :

Thanks for the chance to enter!

Laura Hartness
The Calico Critic
CalicoCritic at gmail dot com

Steph Su said...

Oh man. I don't...really... look for strange things online. I'm not much of a browser (except when it comes to books!) :(

I also linked to this giveaway in my sidebar.

stephxsu at gmail dot com

Thuy said...

Strangest thing I've heard (so far)? There was a man in Asia who dug up with wife from the grave, dressed up her remains, and slept with her for over 5 years. He apparently visited and slept on her grave everyday. Then when the weather was so bad he decided just to take her home with him. He couldn't bear to be without her. Some people say it's romantic but, I think it's gross.

vision.nguyen AT gmail DOT com

Miss Haley said...

i read somewhere online that kids were getting married young because of Bella in twilight marrying at age 18. they said they ruined their lives... lol and they blamed it on a stupid book


throuthehaze said...

I have seen some of the strangest things on the people of walmart site. really weird stuff

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Zoe said...

Ooh, where do you get all these dystopias?

I think the strangest things I hear online are in the newspapers--truth can definitely be stranger than fiction!

One thing I loved was when the government of Canada set up a help line for unemployed fishermen, but typo-ed the phone number so that everyone actually ended up calling a sex line.

In a more dystopic vein, and in the past week or so, I thought it was really creepy when a school gave out laptops with remote-activated webcams that they used to spy on students at home.

Lindsay Frost said...

I would LOVE to win this!
Thankyou!! :D:D:D
The weird thing I saw was a video of a little girl that got stuck in this "Thing".


Sylvia said...

Well, I once read that men can also have breast cancer, I know it's kind of shallow but I really thought it really strange when I first read it:| Also, thanks a lot for this contest! I've really wanted to read The Line ever since I first saw its synopsis:)

Rachael(BookLove:Teen) said...

That 45 something pound bunny that was 4 feet long and whose head was bigger than it's owner!

Wrighty said...

Ive been curious about this one. Great review! What isn't strange on the internet? I've always amazed by the things people will buy and sell. A potato chip that looks like the president just doesn't seem that important but somebody thinks so! Thanks for your giveaway!


Reading said...

Please count me in. Reality is stanger than fiction lately. The strangest thing I have seen is the tragedy at SeaWorld and they are continuing to feature that whale is shows. How macabre is that!

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

melissa @ 1lbr said...

I don't know that I could think of one specific thing, but YouTube has a lot of weird things on it. The internet has certainly allowed us to expose ourselves in many embarrassing ways :)

Amelia said...

The secrets on can be extremely strange.

ameliarainier AT

Tabathia B said...

Probably when someone tried to sell a ps3 before it was invented and it was a bunch of parts taped together. This was years ago. I still think about it. I think it was on ebay for sale. I wonder if anyone bot it.

tbarrettno1 at gmail dom

Travis said...

Well, I read that Johnny Depp was dead, but he was perfectly fine... That was pretty weird.


Raspberry said...

Strangest thing on the internet? I'm not sure....perhaps the one where the lion is trying to get a baby deer and the mother ends up killing the lion. Kind of creepy. Fabulous giveaway - also on my sidebar. Thanks!

bison61 said...

Not too strange maybe but I was reading on tax deductions and A bodybuilder's body oil so his muscles would glisten in competition was there

tiramisu392 (at)

Alicia said...

One of the strangest things I've seen on the internet would be the zombie chicken award.


Jeff said...

jeff at

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

I caught my niece on the internet once on one of those sites where they show real people's gruesome deaths. Pretty strange and horrible. Why people want to look at stuff like that is beyond me!

Thanks for the giveaway!

I tweeted too:


Jana said...

This book looks great! Besides all of the very strange things you can find if you go looking on the Internet, sometimes the comments I get on my blog are weird. Mostly because they are spam, but the chinese ones are very bizrre to see.

Mary said...

I don't know about the strangest thing, but I think really highlights the bizarre lengths people will go to make things look "perfect."

jocelyn said...

This looks good :) The strangest thing I ever saw online....

I find this pretty strange:

Lasha said...

The strangest thing I saw on the internet, was a video of a guy who had the largest pimple on his back and the doctor proceeded to pop the pimple, now this pimple was huge, so huge that the gunk that came out, looked like white toothpaste oozing out. believe me when i say i could not eat lunch that day! lol. thanks for the contest


LittleEagle said...

There is all sorts of odd and wierd stuff on the internet. What amazes me is the number of parents who post full face photos of their children some are even naked. What are they thinking with the great number of deviant people out there. sharonaquilino at hotmail dot com

Parisa Z said...

Hmm.. Maybe cats that look like hitler.


Julie! said...

Air selling on ebay! LOL!

Sab H. said...

I wish I could remember something else besides recently reading that Johnny Depp was dead! I panicked! LOL

yabliss AT

Penny said...

Ever heard of It's a site where people send in screenshots of their friends' bizarre facebook status updates. Basically it's just a bunch of ridiculously inappropriate over-shares. Hilarious, but oh so very strange.

I've been dying to get my hands on The Line. I went to Borders yesterday--so I could purchase The Line--but they didn't have it. Nor do they plan on having it in-store. Pretty disappointing.

Lawral the Librarian said...

This book looks awesome! I'd love to win a copy.

This morning my random cat picture generator (thank you iGoogle) had pictures of cats dressed like Bill and Ted saying "Be Excellent to Each Other." Maybe not the weirdest thing I've seen, but it is certainly up there in terms of awesome-ness.


Bianca said...

Some of the craziest things I've read have been on this awesome site called cracked dot com

infinitemusic19 at gmail dot com

ktobias said...

The strangest thing I've ever seen online has to have been a story that came out in recent months past. South CA has banned the dictionary for being used in schools. Seriously, what's in the water on that side of the country? People are just crazy over there.. No offense intended to Southern Calli's, but come on! The dictionary? Really?

Unknown said...

The strangest thing I saw on the internet was the tree man. Eek!

Raven M said...

The strangest thing I saw online would have to be this:

Thanks for having this contest!

Email: lyricalraven(at)yahoo(dot)com

MarionG said...

The strangest thing I've seen online is the Youtube sites of cats doing tricks. I don't know who these people are who have the time to train cats. It's mindboggling.
Would love this book.
polo-puppy-fluffy at hotmail dot com

Amy said...

Hmm strangest thing I ever read on the Internet is that...well, er there's really too much but I think the most recent thing I've read was that the world's oldest piece of chewed gum is over 9,000 years old. Yeup.

And great contest! I was looking forward to buying this book at Borders/B&N, only to find that nothing within a 50-mile radius of me carries the book! So thank you for this contest! :D

amychaang [AT]

~The Book Pixie said...

One of the strangest things I've ever read online was an article about Edward panties and...well...a certain Twilight themed 'thing' you could put in the freezer. Talking about gross, strange, weird, and perverted all rolled into one creeptastic package. :S Blegh.

I've really been looking forward to this book A LOT so please include me. :D


Marianna said...

Strangest thing I've ever seen online? How about bizarre x-rays :
mannasweeps (at) gmail DOT com

Kelly said...

The strangest thing I have seen online was actually yesterday. I was reading a blog post and at the end of it was a section about pictures of ruit that looked like certain male body parts if you know what I mean ;) I laughed so hard. I would love to win this book.Thanks for the giveaway!
-Kelly H.

Katy said...

The strangest thing I've seen online was at a roller coaster park review site. There's apparently a strange theme park in Europe where the cartoon characters there are depicted vomiting, defecating, and urinating. Really, really strange stuff. LOL Found the link:

srfbluemama at gmail dot com

The Lovely Reader said...

Strangest thing online? On a website who's name I cannot post, if you type in the url wrong, you get a picture of a cat rolling a watermellon out of a lake O_o

Thanks for the contest!
barbrafl737 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Anonymous said...

One of the strangest things I saw online was this, in a cool kind of way. :D

I've added the contest to my sidebar. :)

sandyshin7 [at] gmail [dot] com

Nancye said...

I think dystopian novels are popular right now because it may provide some with an escape from reality.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Lenore Appelhans said...

CONTEST CLOSED. I will notify the winners shortly.