Sunday, July 8, 2012

Review: Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: June 26, 2012
Pages: 358
Received: from Simon & Schuster Canada

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.
I was surprised to see this magically in my mailbox one day from Simon & Schuster Canada. I was pretty excited to receive such a great book without having to beg ask for a review copy. I really didn't know a lot about the book, but I loved the cover right away and had heard a lot of bloggers chatting about it. To be honest, I've never read a Picoult book, so I had nothing to compare this to, which is probably a really good thing since her regular novels are not really written for young adults and are not about fairy tales. I think it's probably best to have come into this book with no expectations about the authors, then my review will be unbiased.

So the biggest thing that I loved about this book is that it has multiple point of views – the story playing out as if the reader is reading a fairy tale, then Oliver's actual point of view and finally we hear Delilah's side of the story. I found it unique to tell the story in this way.

I think I identified with Delilah a lot, because as a tween/teen I spent a lot of time reading and dreaming of other worlds. Wanting so much more. I believed in so much and felt that anything was possible.
“No one ever asks a kid for her opinion, but it seems to me that growing up means you stop hoping for the best, and start expecting the worst. So how do you tell an adult that maybe everything wrong in the world stems from the fact that she's stopped believing the impossible can happen?”
The story idea is of being able to have contact with a character in a book was so interesting. Can you imagine reading a book and suddenly one of the characters turns his head and looks at you and says “Hello.” I'm sure it would shocking to say the least, but also completely incredible. I'd want to know everything – what's it's like being inside the book, what happens after the book closes, and why don't all books work this way.

Honestly, the love story that begins to unfold between Delilah and Prince Oliver is sweet and innocent. They develop this kind of need for each other and are only happiest when in each others presence (you know when the book is open). I actually looked forward to the different attempts at getting Oliver out of the book, because you know when you are in love that anything seems possible.

There are a few twists and turns in this book that I did not see coming, but it was left open for the possibility of a sequel, but still works as a lovely standalone read. It was a sweet story and very quick read that I could recommend to to tweens, teens and adults.

About the authors:

Jodi Picoult was born and raised in Nesconset on Long Island, New York. Her first story, at age 5 was "The Lobster Which Misunderstood." She studied writing at Princeton University, graduating in 1987, and had two short stories published by Seventeen magazine while still in college. Immediately after graduation, she took on a series of miscellaneous jobs, from editing at a textbook publishing company to teaching eighth grade English classes. Soon after, she attended Harvard University to earn her master's degree in education.
Picoult's novels tend to center on human emotion and complex human relationships. Most of her books' storylines incorporate a criminal or civil case which lasts throughout the book's narrative, concluding shortly before the book ends. In books that don't follow this pattern, an attorney character is still often included. At the end of nearly all of her books, there is an unexpected twist.

Samantha Van Leer is the daughter of Jodi Picoult. She is a junior in high school. She conceived the idea for this book and pitched it to her mom, who was in the middle of a book tour. In her spare time, Samantha can be found playing softball, doing contemporary dance, acting and signing in musicals, and cuddling on the ground with her three dogs, Dudley, Alvin and Oliver - for whom the prince in this fairy tale was named.


  1. Glad you mostly liked it. I feel like the younger crowd would probably enjoy it a lot more than me. I mean I probably would have loved it when I was a younger teenager, but now it felt a bit simplistic to me... I started reading it, but I just couldn't get into it, so I set it aside and I haven't really looked at it again. :/


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