Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

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Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A clever look at what happens to the characters of a book when the cover is closed. Hint: it's something rather special.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: July 2012
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1444740967

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Delilah is a teenager who probably should have moved beyond fairy stories, but there’s one in particular that has her hooked. Between the Lines – a book within a book – is a classic story of a prince searching for true love and battling all sorts of dragons and demons on the way, and for Delilah it’s the perfect escape. Plus, the handsome hero, Prince Oliver, doesn’t hurt. Like Delilah he’s growing up without a father (though this matters far less to him than it does to her) and like Delilah he can feel something of an outsider, a little bit different from everyone else around. One day, as Delilah is reading the story for the umpteenth time, she gets the odd feeling that Oliver is talking back to her from the pages. But could there really be a whole other world that goes on between the pages when the book is closed, are they all just characters acting out the script of the story but different people when the spotlight is off, and is there a chance that, between the lines, there’s a lot going on that is not for readers to know about?

Told with chapters alternating between three points of view, through Delilah’s and Oliver’s eyes interspersed with the ‘real’ story, this is a highly readable modern day fairytale about a classic fairytale. As Delilah reads about Oliver’s battles her own life mirrors that of the story, though in her case she’s fighting with her mother over the right to read and re-read the book while he’s fighting with his mother over whether or not he should be going on a dangerous adventure.

There’s nothing wrong with the fact that you have a teenager reading a children’s book (or that we had an adult reviewing this teenage one) and the story needs Delilah to be a bit older to make it work. And it does work. I didn’t know what to expect or how on earth it would end and I wanted to find out. While I didn’t adore the way it finished, and found one character’s departure a little abrupt and poorly thought out, I couldn’t have thought of any better way to end it since to put the book down and say ‘Sorry, I tried but it’s not going to work’ wasn’t something Delilah would have done.

This is, for want of a better word, a pleasant book. It is not especially funny, nor is it risqué in the way some teenage work is, but instead it is sweet and inoffensive, as only fairytales can be. The plot developments and the various set backs Delilah and Oliver encounter help build the anticipation but the back and forth between the book within the book and the characters’ perspectives stalls this somewhat so it never gets truly exciting or unputdownable.

Though the premise is an intriguing one, it was definitely the name on the cover that attracted me to his book. And yet this is Picoult like never before. There are no courtroom scenes, legal battles or dramatic plot twists here. There is still a decent amount of family drama and potential for heartbreak, but those aren’t hallmarks exclusive to her. Co-written with her teenage daughter, whose idea the whole thing was in the first place, this is a book I’d call good but not great. If every teenage girl is looking for her prince, some would count Delilah lucky she found hers and he was as perfect and princely as one might dream. But she’s very superficial in her judgements: she likes him because of his dashing good looks and the way he is a good listener, but there’s nowhere else he can really go while she’s talking to him so he’s something of a captive audience. I thought he redeemed himself a bit with his loathing for his fictitious princess but I almost wished the ending had involved Delilah realising that her real life friends and family were more important than a one dimensional character in a book, no matter how handsome he is. I loved the idea of this book, but I only liked the delivery in the end, even taking into account the target audience.

I would like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy of this book. We also have a review of Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer.

Sometimes it's nice to read up a level, sometimes as Delilah knows it's nice to read down one. Either way, we have Top Ten Adult Books That Teens Should Read and Top Ten Teen Books That Adults Should Read bursting with recommendations for you.

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Buy Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer at


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