Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
Published: June 26, 2012 (Simon Pulse)
Source: SBB ARC Tours
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What happens when happily ever after…isn’t?
Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.
And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.
Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.
As some of my fellow bloggers know, I am a wildly enthusiastic fan of Jodi Picoult; her books are on my "top shelf", where I shelve my favorite books, and so I could not wait to read Between the Lines, her first young adult book. She co-wrote it with her daughter, but I will say that I could not tell from reading this whimsical tale that it was anything other than seamlessly magical. Picoult's adult novels tend to focus on taboo, serious issues, but Between the Lines is a lovely, fun departure from the normal: it's a book that asks you to believe that magic - and happily ever after - is possible. And after reading this book...you just might believe.
The characters in Between the Lines were so vivid - bookworm Delilah, tentative prince Oliver, and others. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this one - would it be realistic, silly, or somewhere in between? But Jodi Picoult with Samantha van Leer made sure that I enjoyed my experience, with a fantastic cast of characters. I loved all the glimpses into Oliver's world - seeing "between the lines" of Delilah's favorite fairy-tale, and that there was so much more to Oliver and to the other characters. I thought the notion that they were more like actors, whose jobs were to mechanically act out the book, yet really they all had secret dreams, fears, and hobbies was really fascinating and thought-provoking, and kind of a neat statement on how you never truly know what's going on underneath someone's surface.
Delilah and Oliver were just TOO cute. Ordinarily I would have cringed at what is definitely insta-love in any other type of story, but...Between the Lines, at its heart, is a modern day fairy tale. And somehow, the thought of finding your soul mate in the pages of a book just...worked. Instead of questioning or scoffing at it, I went with it, caught up in the whimsy of this book. I loved watching Oliver and Delilah get to know one another, and scheming to get Oliver out of the book, and the existence he felt trapped in. I cheered for them, especially when Delilah's mother didn't understand what was going on - how could she? She was definitely trying to be a good mom, something I want to applaud. Too many families are presented as absolutely dysfunctional in YA novels, so it was an awesome thing, to see a parent who truly CARED.
I would recommend Between the Lines to anyone who loved Alethea Kontis's Enchanted. It's definitely along the same lines, and completely adorable. It's a lighter read, but one that will leave you smiling. Plus there are WONDERFUL illustrations included! Jodi Picoult's writing is as moving as ever, with some poignant moments added in, and her daughter, Samantha, is as talented as her mother. For me, Between the Lines read more like a middle grade book, but I did thoroughly enjoy it!