Win a copy of The Line! Details at the end of this post.

It seemed to Rachel that she had always lived on The Property, though this wasn’t true.  Her mother, Vivian, said they moved there when she was three years old, but Rachel didn’t remember.  To her, The Property was home.  She felt as comfortable there as she did in her own skin.  But she knew that for most people, The Property was too close to the section of the National Border Defense System known as the Line.

The National Border Defense System enclosed the entire Unified States.  The section called the Line was only a small part of it, but because of its history it was infamous, at least locally.  Strange things were supposed to happen near the Line; dangerous things.  Even though there hadn’t been a Crossing Storm in over forty years, people still thought of the Line as a bad place to be near.  There were whispers about Away—the territory on the other side of the Line.  There were whispers about the Others.

Rachel wasn’t afraid.  After all, she spent a lot of her time in the greenhouse that was all the way at the back of The Property, right next to the Line.  Away was clearly visible from the greenhouse windows.  Rachel had gazed countless hours out those windows at Away, and she had never seen anything strange over there at all.  Just the same meadows and trees that were on the U.S. side of the Line.

Technically, Rachel wasn’t supposed to be in the greenhouse.  Ms. Elizabeth Moore, the owner of The Property, grew orchids there, which she shipped to the cities to sell.  Vivian had always cautioned Rachel to stay away from the greenhouse; she worried that Rachel might be a bother to Ms. Moore, or that she might break something.  Rachel tried to do whatever she could to make things easier for her mother, but the greenhouse had seemed magical to her from the first time she saw it—so hushed, so peaceful and beautiful.  The air was warm and soft, and a gentle light filtered in through the glass, illuminating the lush emerald hues of the orchids’ leaves.  Their exotic blooms vied for Rachel’s attention, some offering flashes of intense colors in bold shapes; others, pale and delicate, coquettishly inviting a closer inspection.

Rachel couldn’t resist.  She hid somewhere in the greenhouse almost every day when she was little, happy among the flowers.  She was careful to stay out of Ms. Moore’s sight, of course.  She would have been careful even if she hadn’t been warned not to bother her.  Ms. Moore was old, and not old in a grandmotherly, “here are some cookies” way; she was quite forbidding.  Rachel was almost scared of her.  But being in the greenhouse was worth the risk.

Excerpt © 2010 Teri Hall

About the book:

In the not so distant future…

Rachel lives with her mother on The Property. The good thing about living there is that it’s far from the city where the oppressive government is most active. The bad thing, at least to most people, is that it’s close to the Line—an uncrossable section of the National Border Defense System, an invisible barrier that encloses the entire country.

She can see the Line from the greenhouse windows, but she is forbidden to go near it. Across the Line is Away, and though Rachel has heard many whispers about the dangers there, she’s never really believed the stories. Until the day she hears a recording that could only have come from across the Line.

It’s a voice asking for help.

Who sent the message? What is her mother hiding? And to what lengths will Rachel go in order to do what she thinks is right?

What people are saying:

“Hall nicely embeds the history of this repressive future world in a tense narrative that will leave readers intrigued with the mysterious Away. Rachel is an appealing character, and her young voice and the straightforward language make this a good choice for introducing young readers to the science-fiction genre.”–Booklist Reviews

“Without any hint at current politics, she encourages young readers to think about the tension between freedom and security while keeping them engrossed in a suspenseful story. Well done indeed.” (Science fiction. 10 & up)–Kirkus Reviews

“Hall’s compelling writing transports the reader to a time and place that seems all too close to now.”–Deborah L. Dubois, Voya Reviews

“Debut author Hall’s clear, controlled prose builds burgeoning tension while unraveling carefully conceived plot twists, which address themes of totalitarianism, nuclear war, and xenophobia. Dimensional characters and compelling questions unveiled at the dangling finish will have readers awaiting the next installment.”(Ages 12–up.)–Publishers Weekly

Released: March 2010

About the author:

Teri Hall lives in Washington State, and likes to write books. To learn more about Teri and her books, and to download a 30-plus page curriculum guide, visit


Teri has been kind enough to contribute a copy of The Line for a giveaway!

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The contest is open in the US and Canada and ends on January 26th at midnight EST.

Good luck and happy reading!