Clichéd, Yet Charming | Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

Friday, April 27, 2018

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: 6/26/12
Pages: 353
Source: purchased

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. A romantic and charming story, this companion novel to Off the Page will make every reader believe in the fantastical power of fairy tales.

Jessamyn Jacobs is an author of a forgotten fairytale. That fairytale, however, finds its way in Delilah’s hands where she reads it nonstop. Oliver, the main character of the fairytale, wishes more than anything to escape the confines of the book. He would rather explore the real world than go on his destined adventure repeatedly. With Delilah’s help, they work together to give Oliver what he most desires. Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer is a unique concept told in an intriguing format that will sure have you wanting more. 

  • The concept is so unique. It’s very much A Night at the Museum meets books. When the book is closed, characters of the fairytale are able to live relatively normal lives within the confines of their book world. 
  • The format will blow your mind. It certainly confused me at first before I put the pieces together, however when readers figure it out, it makes complete sense and makes the reading experience more magical. The physical books have different color fonts to show which narrator is speaking: the fairytale story, the real-life Delilah’s story or the fictional Oliver's story. The disadvantage here is for those who listen to it on audiobook which cannot show different colored fonts. The audiobook (I had begun listening to the book) made the section changes a bit more difficult to catch; it changes voice actors to depict which narrator is speaking. However, the narrator for Oliver’s story and the fairytale story sounded very similar, making it difficult to differentiate.  
  • The target audience is YA, however Between the Lines takes on an almost middle grade voice. I mentioned this in my Off the Page review but it still stands. Between the Lines and Off the Page are marketed as YA, however with a children’s fairytale, a very young protagonist, and a silly subplot (via Oliver), it makes it incredibly middle grade.
  • The layers of the characters mingles with stereotypes and fairytale clichés. The big theme in both novels was that everyone should have their own happy ending. However, the only happy ending that I could see was the male protagonist’s. The other side characters didn’t receive their own happy ending. Sure, Oliver guessed that they were happy but readers were given enough depth into the side characters’ lives that we knew that some may be not as happy as others thought.
  • Who doesn't love books about books?

Despite having some issues with stereotypes and a misplaced target audience, I did enjoy Between the Lines. The plot may have been simple but the depths of the characters and the magical concept was enough to keep me thinking about the book long after it had ended. Overall, Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer is a novel that is both simple and sweet. 

Between the Lines (6/26/12): 4 stars
Off the Page (5/19/15): 4 stars

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