Invisible Fault Lines
My father disappeared on a Tuesday that should’ve been like any Tuesday, but eventually became the Tuesday my father disappeared.
Tired of living in limbo, Callie finally decides to investigate her father’s disappearance for herself. Maybe there was an accident at the construction site that he oversaw? Maybe he doesn’t remember who he is and is lost wandering somewhere? But after seeing a familiar face in a photo from the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, she wonders if the answer is something else entirely.
INVISIBLE FAULT LINES by Kristen-Paige Madonia is an original story with such strong attention to detail that helps to bring the story to life. Callie’s story of dealing with the disappearance of her father on what should have been just a normal Tuesday is occasionally interrupted with a different point of view- that of a nameless man as he walks the streets of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. Because the exact identity of this man is left unanswered, it leaves certain aspects of the story open to interpretation, a detail that normally would have really bothered me but I loved in this setting. All of Callie’s chapters are titled with how many days it’s been since the disappearance of her father – a detail that helps to highlight how long lasting the effects of grief and tragedy are and how life keeps moving on even when everything feels like it’s come to a standstill.
I loved Callie, she's a sweet and loving person but also surprisingly strong and resilient. She keeps going to school, she keeps playing music and she keeps doing her job. She refuses to believe that her father would have just left her and her mother and once she comes out of her haze of grief, she’s committed to solving the mystery of his disappearance while continuing to live her life and she seems to do so successfully with the help of her friends and a new, albeit tame, love interest.
The historical sections of INVISIBLE FAULT LINES are incredibly well-written, fast-paced, and altogether very engaging. Madonia has obviously done thorough research of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco – a historical event I admittedly didn’t know much about before reading this book. Her knowledge and love for the city of San Francisco leaps off the page.
What Left Me Wanting More:
In the beginning, Callie describes the mundane details of her life in great detail, which is poignant as she is realizing the thousands of tiny changes to her daily routine following her father’s disappearance, but as the story continues, the plot development drops off. The mystery of her father’s disappearance isn’t given very much page time, and neither Callie nor the reader is given any clues to follow. While this probably is realistic in most missing persons’ cases, it was frustrating since I assumed this would be the primary plot of novel. Instead, Callie’s social life- her romance with the new boy in town, her band, and her best friend’s relationship troubles- take center stage. I didn’t mind these storylines as I thought they added depth to Callie’s story but I felt that they took too much time away from the story line about Callie’s father’s disappearance.
Overall, I enjoyed this unique story with its original attention to detail. It handles difficult subjects about grief and tragedy with a balance of light hearted topics to create a heartwarming story about a girl and her friends and family dealing with loss.