Fault Line: A Novel

Fault Line: A Novel

by Janet Tashjian

Paperback(First Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780805080636
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: 04/04/2006
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.17(w) x 7.72(h) x 0.71(d)
Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Janet Tashjian is the author of acclaimed books for young adults, including The Gospel According to Larry, Vote for Larry, Multiple Choice and My Life as a Book. Disney adapted Tru Confessions into a television movie starring Clara Bryant and Shia LaBeouf. Tashjian studied at the University of Rhode Island and Emerson College. She lives in Needham, Massachusetts, with her family.

Read an Excerpt

Fault Line

Take my life ... please.

Laughter is one of the only things in life you can count on to bail you out of anything. Even when you're grief-stricken, shocked, or petrified, laughter can bring you back to that place deep inside that knows there's life beyond your pain. I remember the day I learned this in my bones: my uncle Danny had just died, and my mother had spent most of the morning sobbing at the kitchen table. I was maybe four at the time, feeling more helpless than usual. My father had brought up some extra chairs from the basement for all the relatives who would be coming in from out of town. I didn't notice when I sat on one that it was missing its cane seat. PLOP--I went right through the frame of the chair onto the floor. I didn't cry; I grinned--the shock of the fall was a welcome surprise from all the sadness. My mother burst into laughter at the sight of her little girl sprawled on the rug, smiling. Which of course made me fall through the chair again. And again. It was as if I hadwaved a magic wand. Before my very eyes, she was transformed from a broken-hearted woman back into good old Mom. Because of my actions, because of me. Humor was something thunderous from the heavens, with a power to change things in an instant.
Of course, bottling something as formidable as lightning is a tricky thing. Trickier still to do it night after night. Most of the time when I'm onstage, I feel like an alchemist: mixing a little bit of this story, a slice of that detail to come up with a fresh and humorous aha for the crowd to enjoy. But sometimes you fall flat, with a joke so inert you want to hang your coat on it. Those nights, it's back to the drawing board, pure and simple.
Here's what I want more than anything: not to headline the Improv, not to join the cast of SNL. (Okay, you nailed me. OF COURSE I WANT THOSE THINGS. I'd be lying if I said I didn't.) But more than those--much more--I want to learn how to trust my instincts. It's the part of comedy I haven't gotten a handle on yet, although I work on those skills all the time. Where I intuitively come up with some thought on the spot that binds me and the audience together for a brief moment--I get goose bumps just thinking about it. During each performance, there's some connection with the audience, but I'm talking about the cathartic,spontaneous kind. The search for that link keeps me writing jokes, keeps me auditioning, keeps me hoping lightning can strike.
I'm like Ben Franklin in a storm, holding a kite, a key, and ajar.
Waiting to connect.
Copyright © 2003 by Janet Tashjian

Reading Group Guide

Questions for Discussion

1. What does Becky find attractive about Kip when she first meets him at the comedy club? What are some things Kip does that make Becky fall in love with him?

2. What are some initial clues you get that Kip is trying to control Becky's life?

3. Abby says to Becky, "You're turning into one of those girls we hate...A girl like Lynda, who only joins the living between boyfriends" (p. 68). How does Becky's relationship with Kip affect her friendship with Abby? What does Becky realize when she compares her relationship with Kip to Abby's relationship with Jacob? If you had a friend in a situation like Becky's, what would you do and say to help her?

4. Why can't Becky fully enjoy her time with her mother on the UCLA campus and at The Comedy Store? What does her mother mean when she says, "[Love is] never that simple...Being in a relationship is the most complicated thing in the world" (p. 93)?

5. What are some things Becky does to try to please Kip? Why doesn't she break up with Kip after he physically assaults her the first time? What happens to make Becky finally recognize that she has lost control of her life?

6. Becky's old boyfriend Peter says, "I don't remember ever being angry at you. You're too easygoing to get mad at" (p. 133). What does Becky's conversation with Peter make her realize about her relationship with Kip?

7. How did you feel when reading Kip's entries in his paper-towel dialogues? Why do you think Janet Tashjian included these entries? Do you think Kip is a bad guy?

8. In the author's note at the end of the book, she references a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association stating that "one out of every five" teenage girls gets physically abused by her boyfriend. Is this statistic surprising to you? Are you amazed that a smart, funny, ambitious girl like Becky could be a victim of teen relationship abuse? Why or why not?

9. Discuss the significance of the novel's title. What does it suggest about Becky and Kip's relationship?

Customer Reviews

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Fault Line 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stand up comedy is usually not a hobby that comes to mind when you're thinking about high school students. The first things that I usually consider as high school hobbies are things like sports, video games, or music. However Janet Tashjian brings to life a story of two high school comedians, Becky and Kip, in a love-at-first-sight relationship that turns for the worst in Fault Line (Henry Holt and Company; New York, NY; 2003). Tashjian does an outstanding job of bringing the sensitive subject of abuse, both mental and physical, into an entertaining novel for teens. Becky and her best friend, Abby, live everyday for comedy and perform at their local comedy club in San Francisco. One night they meet a "new guy" who catches both their attention. Even though Abby is always the one who has boyfriends, Kip falls for Becky. They hit it off immediately and were eventually inseparable. After dating for a couple months, Becky catches herself tip-toeing on egg shells so she wouldn't upset Kip. He suddenly got really possessive and was making all of her decisions whether it was for her comedy acts or school projects. She had to think twice about what she said and did around him. Despite her friend's and family's warnings about Kip's behavior, Becky ignores it because she thought their happy moments outweighed the bad. She tried show them how in love her and Kip really were. One day it got too far and Kip was mad she was leaving. As she was walking out the door to avoid another fight, he reached around and grabbed her braid and pulled her to the floor. He was very apologetic and was genuinely sorry because he even wrote how bad he felt in his journal. Unfortunately this was just the beginning of the physical abuse. Tashjian captures the emotions and the feelings of the characters. She easily depicts the trials of an abusive relationship from the first step as denial to the last step of finally getting out. Each character has very distinct characteristics. Becky's mother is a controlling lawyer with a tender spot for her children and her father is a practiced chef who relates everything in his life to food. Fault Line is an enjoyable novel that entertains and informs readers how to read the signs of an abusive relationship. Even though book is directed to a teen audience, it would be a good read for any one at any age. Tashjian captures the reader's attention and keeps it to the very last page.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fault line is a must read book.I really enjoyed reading it. In the book a girl named Becky Martin finds herself in a choice between her new boyfriend who has started to become controlling and her long time dream of becoming a comiedian. This book caught my attention because of it's true to reality story line. Everyday there is another person being abused and the person may never tell anyone what is happening to them, just like Becky in the story. Luckily she had a great friend you stuck by her even through her difficult times. If you read reality, this is the book for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, Fault line, is a wonderfully descriptive book about abusive relationships. When I first picked up this book, I didn¿t know what to think and as I started to read it I was skeptical. But, deeper and deeper I got into the book, the more I wanted to keep reading. The main character, Becky, becomes a victim of an abusive relationship. The warning signs didn¿t phase her. She thought she was in ¿love.¿ The thing that I liked about this novel is that you saw a perspective from both sides of the relationship. You read excerpts from Becky¿s journal and her boyfriend, Kip¿s. If you are in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship I would suggest you read this book. It showed me that even though somebody may ¿love¿ you back, it doesn¿t mean they have the right to physically, mentally, or verbally abuse you. Also, I picked up some warning signs that I could look out for if I am ever wondering that a relationship could possibly be abusive. If you have been a victim or are currently enduring an abusive relationship, read this book. I KNOW that you¿ll be able to relate.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was very good. i read the whole thing in one night...just sat in my bed and read the whole thing. I recomend it...its great.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a really good book.... it teaches about abuse and that you shouldnt stay in that type of situation.... i liked how it had both point of views... it helped you understand the story a lot better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a very good lesson for some. it talks about abuse physically and mentally. it might seem like love when you first meet someone until you really know that someone. but by then it might be to like.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is really good, it shows that things like this do really happen...What would you do in that situation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Gospel According to Larry was one of the most poignant books I 've ever read. Fault line is wonderfully written, from both points of view in the abusive relationship, Janet Tashjian works her magic and definately doesn't disappoint.