Girls on the Line is a powerful book about difficult choices, family, and a society that faces a cultural aftermath.
A teen pregnancy puts two orphan girls in contemporary China on a collision course with factory bosses, family planning regulators, and a bride trafficker.
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
In the aftermath of the One Child Policy, there is a shortage of women combined with society’s preferences for boys. Not only did this leave China with many girls for adoption, but now a gender imbalance. Because of this, there has been a rise of bride trafficking and the value of baby girls as future brides. Enter Girls on the Line which followers two orphan girls as they leave the orphanage and make their way into the workforce. In this new world of financial freedom (especially without a family to send earnings to), and factory labor, Luli and Yun lead different lives.
Their friendship is one that crosses differences of opinions, miles, and hardship. As a child who was adopted from an orphanage in China, this whole book felt surreal. Almost like a road less traveled. It’s a book that examines individual desires, a society in flux, and growing up. Most of the story focuses on the friendship between Luli and Yun. Their friendship withstands the shared experience of being orphans (and what that does to your psyche), as well as support and love.
It is tested by toxic relationships, the threat of bride trafficking, and their individual ambitions. But both Luli and Yun have to grow up. In this new space without people telling them what to do, and where their life is headed, Luli and Yun have to figure out how to decide. Luli goes through the hardship of deciding what she wants for herself, separate from people’s expectations. While Yun struggles to figure out her path from the easiest path, to the one she wants to pursue.