Book Review: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Emily Bestler Books/Atria/Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
ISBN: 9781451635751
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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.

When I first heard the premise of this story I knew I had to read it just as soon as I could get my hands on it. For a self-proclaimed lover of both books and fairy tales, this book seemed right up my alley. I love the idea that the characters of the fairy tale were no more than actors putting on the same play time and time again. Even when Oliver becomes disenchanted from the story and decides not to take part, he is compelled to act out the story. The characters live their own separate lives in the scences provided by the author when the book is closed.

I’d read Jodi Picoult before and liked the stories she told. I wondered how it would be different since it was not just her writing this time, but her daughter as well. Since Picoult has typically wrote books focusing on family conflicts, usually with some sort of legal involvement, she could use her daughter’s help transitioning into the world of YA literature. The writing style was very different from that of her adult novels, but not in a bad way. Picoult still managed to include her multi-viewpoint style into the book following Delilah, Oliver, and the fairy tale itself.

Delilah is your typical good-girl social outcast. She grows up with a single parent mother. She loves her overly-concerned mother who very hard to support both of them. At school, everyone dislikes her (except for her best friend) because of her uncoordinated blunders. Jules is Delilah’s angsty best friend who is very into the goth scene. Delilah deals with her issues by burying her nose in a book. She develops a strange obsession with the fairy tale. This is how she comes to notice Oliver. She has read the story so many times that she notices an illustration has slightly changed.

Her relationship with Oliver is cute but is ultimately shallow. The relationship is more idealized than realized. If the authors had spent more of the pages showing the growing relationship between Delilah and Oliver instead of spending all their time trying to solving Oliver’s problem, maybe their relationship would ring truer.

In my opinion, the secondary characters made the story. I liked following Delilah and Oliver, but the story book characters were so unique and what kept me interested. Lots of stories deal with solving a young couple’s issues but very few show the personalities of the secondary characters. The overly self-conscious pony, the dentist pirate, and the butterfly obsessed villain just made the story that much more lighthearted and enjoyable.

I had two issues with this story. The first problem I had with the story is that Oliver‘s contemporary knowledge is a bit disjointed. He understands what a fire extinguisher is and knows how to operate it but has never heard of a sandwich. Putting two pieces of bread together is a lot less difficult than operating a fire extinguisher. The second problem I had with this story is that I was not a big fan of the point of view of the fairy tale itself. I felt that the story could have been told just as well without them and that they were really just extraneous pages. Other than these two issues it was a very fun story to read.

With a fairy tale story, you root for and expect a happy ending and this book delivers. This book is sweet and funny. It doesn’t pretend to be serious or touch on major issues. I would recommend this book to younger reader, but not older ones. I think target audience of this story is a bit younger than myself. While you don’t have to be young to enjoy this novel, I think the story has a younger tone. This would be great for a mother daughter book club. If you are young at heart or just like a good fairy tale, pick up Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer’s book, Between the Lines today!

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer is available now.

This review was written by Sarah Jameson.

Sarah Jameson is from New Jersey. Currently a college student, she is pursuing degrees in Psychology and Business Management at Rutgers University. She is a book and television enthusiast.

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