Invisible Fault Lines is an amazing new release by YA author Kristen-Paige Madonia, best known for her previous (debut) novel Fingerprints of You. While her first book was pure literary fiction, I’m not sure how best to classify Invisible Fault Lines: literary magical realism? Contemporary historical fiction? Soft science fiction? It almost creates a genre of its own. At the very least it’s a genre-bender between literary/historical/magical realism.
Callie’s father disappears without a trace from a construction site in San Francisco where he works, and the book muses on how she and her mother react, and what could have happened to him. Did he meet with foul play? Did the devoted dad leave his family? Or might he have fallen through a rift in time into the past, specifically during the time of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906?
In some ways it’s a book about family, relationships, loss and grieving. In other ways it’s a book about hope – learning to make the most of the hand we’re dealt.
The character dynamics are complex and engaging and the settings are sublime. In many ways, this book is a love letter to San Francisco, past and present.
Callie is an extremely sympathetic character dealing with tough issues, but also with a clear and strong personality and character arc of her own. She’s going through a coming-of-age story while the drama of her father’s disappearance unfolds around her. This makes for a complex interplay between typical teen storyline and unusual magical elements. While the story is easy to read and highly accessible, the emotions stay with you for a long time after you put the book down.
A risky and unusual book for sure in terms of genre, which makes it all the more rewarding a reading experience.