Between the Lines - Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

Release Date: July 2012
Published By:
Allen & Unwin (Aus)
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Synopsis: 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.

Review: Between the Lines is a tough one for me. There was so much I liked about this book, and at the same time, so much I want to pick apart as well.

First things first, totally understand that Jodi Picoult wrote this book with her 16 year old daughter and so I understand that this book was not going to be anything like the adult works of Jodi Picoult that I adore. The concept behind this book was 100% intriguing and original. And Picoult’s daughter can take the credit for this as the idea of the story itself was hers. The execution of the concept was enough to make the story enjoyable, but flawed enough that parts of it bothered me.

This book alternates between Delilah’s view, Oliver’s view, and then chapters out of the fairy tale Between The Lines itself, which I thought was clever. What I struggled with, is that the story being told in the fairy tale was deeper and more interwoven than Delilah’s real life it seemed.

So much focus was put into making the fairy tale sound good, that I feel like the authors didn’t think about Delilah’s actual life, except to give a few cliques in the hope that this would satisfy the reader. It didn’t. I had so many questions about Delilah’s life. Things I wanted to know about her that never were answered. However in the fairy tale, I felt this story was more well rounded and explained. Go figure.

The other thing, was that the romance between Prince Oliver and Delilah just happened?! Like… how did that happen? One minute she’s reading the fairy tale and they’re talking, and the next thing they’re pining for each other… did I miss something? I just felt like the chemistry that would be present when forming a relationship never happened. Looking beyond this aspect however, I did think they were pretty cute together.

I did enjoy the land that was set up in the fairy tale itself though. The characters within were fantastic, and funny, and well thought through. I loved that they were free to do whatever they wanted when they weren’t ‘acting’ and found this part of the book to be witty and original.

I absolutely loved the different coloured writing and fonts for each person’s side of the story. I loved the illustrations scattered throughout the pages, and I ADORED the full page coloured illustrations at the start of the fairy tale chapters. Absolutely gorgeous. Examples of the images you see in the book are actually shown in the trailer itself below FYI.

And whilst the quotes that I pine for in Jodi Picoult’s novels weren’t in your face, they were there to be found if you looked hard enough: “I think that when you live in a world with limits… when you’ve met everyone and seem everything you’re going to see - you lose the hope that something extraordinary will happen in your life”

Overall, great idea for a story. I know this is marketed as YA, but I do feel it’s aimed at younger YA readers, that is, for those aged between about 10 to 16 or so. And I do think this will be well received by those readers also. As an adult, perhaps I nitpicked over it too much instead of accepting the story for what it was, and that is at essence, the sweetest of fairy tales. After all, everyone deseves their happy ending.


Rating: 3 out of 5

What do you think?

  • Maree says:

    Lovely review Melissa! I must admit I completely gushed over this book, and I think it was because it appealed to the side of me that still loves a good fairytail. For me the story was so enjoyable that I overlooked things which would annoy me in any other book.

    Also, I’m interested to see if we get a follow-up to this. I went to the Brisbane event for this and Jodi said they were not completely shutting the door on the sequel, so perhaps that would provide more depth in Delilah’s life?

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