LAWRENCE, Michael. A crack in the line. (The Withern Rise Trilogy.) HarperCollins, Greenwillow. 323p. c2003. 0-06-072479-X. $7.99. JS *
A haunting passage introduces readers to 16-year-olds Alaric and Naia: "They shared a history, a lineage, memories, and had lived all their lives in the same house, Withern Rise, where they had occupied the same room, done the same things ... and yet ... they had never met." Two years after the death of his mother, Alaric's life is not all he wishes it to be. His father's girlfriend is moving in and the house is in great disrepair. While moping about he discovers his mother's folly--a glass-domed shade from the Edwardian era. The folly contains the last project Alaric's mother Alex made before her death, a scale model of Withern Rise. What appears to be a harmless object from the past takes on a new meaning to Alaric and Naia, bringing every aspect of their lives into possible peril.
Many intriguing questions surface in this finely crafted narrative--perceptions of time and space, the effects of chance, and the consequences, both seen and unseen, of our choices. Well-developed characters, an intricate plot and haunting suspense make this first volume of the Withern Rise Trilogy a valuable addition to the YA collections of school and public libraries. Ernie Cox, Libn., St. Timothy's School, Raleigh, NC