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Fault Line
Janet Tashjian

Publishing Information: H. Holt: New York, 2003
ISBN: 0805072004
: 248 p.
Ages: 14 & Up

Becky feels more alive and confident as she enjoys Kip's attention and their shared interest in stand-up comedy. As the relationship turns violent, she realizes she must seek help before losing her identity and self-esteem completely.

Subject Headings & Major Themes:

Abuse Cycle - Physical and Emotional
Anger Management
Creative Writing
Drama/Performing Arts
Stand-Up Comedy
Teen Relationships

BookList, September 1, 2003, p. 115
School Library Journal, October 2003, p. 180

Discussion Questions and Ideas:

  1. What would you do if you were faced with Becky's situation?
  2. If you were Becky's friend, how would you try to help her?
  3. When did you first notice that an abusive relationship was developing? Give evidence from the book.
  4. Do you think the climax was realistic? If not, how would you rewrite it?   If yes, give evidence of the realism.
  5. What do you think of Kit's thoughts about Becky on his paper towel diary as the relationship develops?
  6. Many girls think that they need to change themselves in order for boys to like them. Why is that?
  7. What makes a girl believe in herself?
  8. What makes a person abusive?
  9. How do you see Becky in the future?
  10. How do you see Kit in the future?
  11. What causes abusive relationships? What need does such a relationship fill for each party?
  When is abuse more likely to occur-with someone a person knows well or with someone a person does not know well?

Related Websites:
Janet Tashjian's Homepage -

Teen Relationship Abuse


Comedy Writing

Breathing Underwater, Alex Flinn, 2001 (2002 RITBA Nominee)
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen, 2000 (2001 RITBA Nominee)
by E.R. Frank, 2003
Leslie's Journal by Allan Stratton, 2000
Long Night of Leo and Bree by Elllen Wittlinger, 2002
So Much to Tell You by John Marsden, 1989
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, 1999 (2001 RITBA Nominee)
Things Change
by Patrick Jones, 2004
Unexpected Development
by Marlene Perez, 2004
You Don't Know Me by David Klass, 2001

Other Books by the Author:
Tru Confessions, 1997
Marty Frye, Private Eye, 1999
Multiple Choice, 1999
The Gospel According to Larry, (2002 RITBA Nominee)
Vote for Larry, 2004

About the Author:
The following was taken from the author's homepage (

Janet Tashjian is a funny lady! She has a wonderful sense of humor.

She grew up in East Providence, went to URI, for her BA and then to Emerson in Boston for her MFA where she trained with other writers like Jack Gantos.  

She was an avid reader as a child, and that passion for reading has stayed with her. Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried had an immense impact on her. After she finished reading that book, she was so taken with the grace and simplicity of the writing that she quit her job and began writing seriously. She says that being an author is "it."  She wanted to be a writer so badly that she bargained. If she earned money with her craft, she promised to donate 10% of those earnings to charity. She does just that.

She loves the beach, nature, music, brainstorming ideas with her writer friends, chasing son Jake around the house, and refinishing and painting old furniture. She dislikes people who use cell phones in public, people who waste water, people who aren't passionate about life, and taking ticks off dogs.  

She lives outside of Boston with her family.
| ©2004 - Rhode Island Teen Book Award Committee | Aaron Coutu, Chair