The following post is a guest review by Katie Crombie – we hope you’ll enjoy it! – Vicky
Title: Between the Lines
Author: Jodie Picoult and Samantha van Leer
Publication date: July 5, 2012
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Length: 352 pages
Age group: Young Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository
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.
The first thing you need to know about this book is that it is Jodi’s first venture into the young adult market, co-written with her teenage daughter, Samantha. It is therefore very different to what you have come to expect from Jodi whose novels are generally very adult based. Although Between The Lines is predominantly aimed at teenagers, as an adult I found this very readable and believe she could certainly reach a wide audience with the story.
Between The Lines explores the idea of what happens to characters in a book when the book is closed. What if they have their own lives inside the book, merely acting out the story of the book each time it is opened, with the pages as their stage. It tells the tale of Delilah, a lonely and misunderstood 15 year old who comes across the book and falls in love with Prince Oliver in the fairy tale. Oliver inside the book also falls in love with Delilah and discovers that she can hear him when he speaks to her from within the pages. He is also unhappy at being trapped inside the fairy tale world and together they embark on a quest to rescue him from his world, to begin a new life in the ‘real world’ with Delilah. As with all Jodi Picoult books, the story is told by not just one character, with the chapters alternatively narrated by Delilah and Oliver. Delilah’s story is interspersed with Oliver’s story and the actual fairy tale too which includes mermaids, dragons and princesses in towers. The fairy tale would make a great book in itself and I particularly liked those chapters, each which had an illustration at the beginning, reminiscent of a traditional fairy tale.
The concept is an interesting and original one and would probably make a good movie. Jodi’s daughter, who came up with the plot idea, certainly shares her mother’s talent for a compelling story and in-depth characters. This could be the beginning of a great partnership.
Although I don’t make a habit of reading young adult novels (Harry Potter and Twilight aside!), there was something refreshingly charming about this story. I would recommend to teens and adults alike.