Between the Lines
Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
Delilah knows it’s weird, but she can’t stop reading her favourite fairy tale. Other girls her age are dating and cheerleading. But then, other girls are popular. She loves the comfort of the happy ending, and knowing there will be no surprises. Until she gets the biggest surprise of all, when Prince Oliver looks out from the page and speaks to her.
Now Delilah must decide: will she do as Oliver asks, and help him to break out of the book? Or is this her chance to escape into happily ever after?
This isn’t your typical Jodi Picoult novel. It takes an entirely different tack from the courtroom episodes and family dramas of which we are all so familiar. Between The Lines is a collaboration between Jodi Picoult and her 16-year-old daughter, Samantha van Leer. I saw the two promoting the book on BBC Breakfast, and intrigued by the concept, I immediately rushed out to buy it. Usually, I’m one to avoid fantasy but with this I was instantly sold, despite not having read a young adult novel in years and being generally aversed to fantasy.
In Between The Lines, fairytale meets reality, literally. Delilah, socially alienated, seeks solace in what becomes her favourite fairytale. Delilah relates to the main character, Oliver, a brave Prince who like her, is lacking in a father figure. The characters however, don’t cease to exist once the book is closed. They lead entirely separate lives outside of the story and only play their parts when the book is open.
Oliver, in reality isn’t quite the hero portrayed in the book. He is to an extent cowardly, forever avoiding Seraphina, a ditzy Princess who can’t quite distinguish between life in and outside of the story. Oliver longs to escape the book, and only Delilah can hear his pleas. Falling for him, Delilah attempts to work with Oliver to help him escape the story, while fending off the concerns of her mother, who is convinced her daughter needs psychiatric help.
In the same style of all Picoult novels, there is a changing shift in perspectives which really enriches the concept in terms of gaining an insight the feelings of both characters in and outside the book. I found myself completely lost in this story and I didn’t want it to end. The story really pulled on my heartstrings at times, and I felt all kinds of emotions reading Between the Lines.
Had this book not have had Picoult’s name on it, I might not have bothered, but I’m glad I did. Between the Lines, for a young adult fantasy novel is written with a very mature tone and an irresistible charm which left me enchanted from start to finish.