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Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Between the Lines
Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Source: Won
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.
Between the Lines is dressed to impress. With an intriguing cover and a fairytale-type plot, it's sure to draw in a crowd. Add gorgeous, vivid illustrations and colorful, playful font and you've amped it up even more. Not only that, but it was written by the writing goddess Jodi Picoult and her daughter, making it a seemingly unforgettable and unique YA book. I admit that the only Jodi Picoult book I've read so far is My Sister's Keeper, but that book made me bawl my eyes out and I will not soon forget it. I loved Between the Lines, but it lacks some things that I can't overlook. Despite having everything right and perfect on the outside, it has some internal flaws that kept it from gaining a higher rating.

Oliver is a prince. And he's clever. He knows that a world exists outside of the pages he lives in, even though it seems that rarely does anyone believe him. He's pretty great, but he lacks something, you know? Outwardly, there's nothing wrong with him. A handsome prince with serious brains. But he can be…selfish. And I don't appreciate that. There's one particular thing he does where he doesn't think about Delilah at all and only of what he wants an what will benefit him and make him happy. That's just seriously wrong. He did have good intentions, but he should have thought before he did what he did. A bit too impulsive, but he does have a good heart. Also, I don't find the name Oliver particularly hot or anything because it reminds me of Oliver Twist which reminds me of the worst ten hours of my life. I'm rambling now, so, let's move on.

Actually, I'm not hugely a fan of the name Delilah either. I don't hate it, but it doesn't make the list of top one hundred names ever either. Even so, Delilah was a seriously awesome heroine. She can be sweet, but she seriously has an attitude. And I love that about her. She doesn't just go along with everything Oliver wants. She wants the best for him, but she needs things to fit into her life, too. And I think that that's reasonable. She's extremely strong, and it's impossible not to admire that. I would totally read another book just because I adore her and I bet that she'll go on to do great things in life, you know?

Ethan does not show up much, but I like him. In fact, he only really shows up near the end, but I love him. Um. He's somewhat of a loner. Oliver's opposite. But then in the end, they're not so different as it seems. And Ethan's obviously smart too, and he has a plan to give everyone a happily ever after.

The idea for this book came from Samantha, and clearly she has an awesome imagination. I wish I had that kind of imagination, seriously. I've never read anything vaguely like Between the Lines, at least nothing that I can think of. So this book scores some points just for that. Because so many YA books these days feel exactly the same. Between the Lines is like a glass of water.

(Quick random observation that really has nothing to do with the plot: I do think this book tries a bit too hard to ride on the popularity of Jodi Picoult. Her name takes up like half the freaking spine of the book and then there's Samantha's name, a bit smaller, and then it says Between the Lines in like really small lettering. Like, what is up with that?)

That aside, I did love the plot of this book. It had some plot holes that are too spoilery to mention, so obviously I won't mention them. But the point is that they exist, and I can't overlook that. And then some plot lines just…drop. Like they are there one moment and they're never really resolved. I don't know if they were meant to be left open-ended or what, but…it just seemed like poor execution to me.

I do like the way Delilah goes about trying to get Oliver out of the book. She's smart about it. She does what she thinks might work and when it doesn't, she tries to decide what to do next. But at the same time, I think she lets it take over her life a bit too much. She becomes obsessed with it. Too obsessed with it. Everyone has obsessions, but generally they are not ones that could get you declared insane or sentenced to an asylum, you know?

Ah, but I get ahead of myself. Before Delilah becomes overly obsessed, she lives a very normal life. She's every teenage girl. Shy. Only one really close friend. Loves to read, one story in particular. I love how something that seems so ordinary can turn into something so very extraordinary. She wants something, and in a very twisted way, she gets her wish.

Loved the originality. While there were unoverlookable faults, this book real made up for a lot of them. I consider this book easily a favorite.

Delilah is already half in love with Oliver when she meets him for the first time, and as the story progresses we can see them beginning to fall even more for each other. It builds slowly. And while Oliver might be a bit behind on the times, Delilah has a sensible head on her shoulders and doesn't want to rush things. She wants to enjoy things, and she also doesn't want it to move too fast. That's something that's extremely refreshing to see because it's not very common in the YA genre. Oliver and Delilah's sparks fly across the page, even through the page. (See what I did there?)

The story rotates. First there is a part of the fairytale story being told, the story that is the book Delilah loves. Then there's the POV of Oliver, and then Delilah. And it rotates like this through the entire story. I absolutely love that the story is told this way. You get the swoony fairytale, and you can see why Oliver wants so desperately to escape and why Delilah loves it so much. Then you can get into Oliver's head and also Delilah's, and this rotating POV just thrilled me. I was worried it would be difficult to keep up, but I was wrong. I always knew exactly what was going on and the dual (triple?) POV thing was the perfect way to tell this story. And Jodi and Samantha together have created unique voices for their characters, and if they work together to write a book again I'll be the first in line to buy it.

Let's all take a minute to appreciate the color illustrations, shall we? (I did plan to put a picture on here, but then I got too lazy, so yeah. Maybe I'll add one sometime soonish.) And even more than that, there are some sweet black silhouette illustrations that show up randomly and are still beautiful. And they just add so much to the book. They somehow make it more real. I'm not sure who the illustrator is, but I seriously admire him/her. They just embrace the story so beautifully and the level of detail is awesome.

I love happily-ever-afters. Have since I was old enough to know what one was. And this HEA…well, it made me absolutely tingle. Not only was it so sweet I thought I would melt, but it was absolutely the perfect ending. I wondered how it would happen, but Jodi and Samantha gave this book the perfect ending without making anything too convenient or too easy. That's easily one of the best things about this book and maybe even what I loved the most. I mean, there was that part of me that thought things wrapped up too nicely, but whatever.

I really loved Between the Lines, but it wasn't a perfect book. Although I loved the writing, it wasn't stellar and could have used work. The plot was original but oversimplified in some points. Although I spend the good part of this review gushing, I need to mention that this book does have problems. It's a very fairytale type book. It's a ton of fun, but lacks a little substance in some places. Between the Lines is a fun, quick read for all ages, though, and I would absolutely recommend it. Because it goes to show that there isn't always a damsel in distress. Sometimes, it's the prince needs saving.




  1. I am looking forward to reading this one, I have absolutely loved Jodi Picoult books, I have read all of them. I think this plot sounds really new and different for YA and I always love something new!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  2. I do agree that Jodi Picoult is a great author, but don't you think her books are overly cliché? There's always some lawsuit and the storyline is the same. The first books of hers you read, you find it fantastic. Then you read the second book, and you realize that, hey, this is practically the same as the first book. It all depends which book you read first. That book wil most probably be your favourite.

  3. I wasn't a huge fan of the one JP book I read, but this one does sound awfully cute. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  4. It's great that the heroine is likable but not a wimp - and that she stands up to the guy!

    Great review:)

  5. Personally, I find that the book has this amazing concept to it (how books actually work, acting out parts), and is just super neat. I have to agree that at times Oliver really did irritate me, SPOILER like taking her into his world. SPOILER ENDS And I really wished that there was more of Edgar (that's his name, not Ethan; but close) in there. He was introduced, like, in the last twenty pages of the book and was ultimately the hero of the story. Overall, I find it a very good story with simple concepts that won't confuse a reader.


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