Her first foray into the realm of YA, Jodi Picoult teams up with her daughter Samantha Van Leer to write Between the Lines, a book about whether or not the characters in a beloved story take on a life of their own when the book isn’t being read. Akin to the likes of Toy Story, Prince Oliver and his kingdom come alive as soon as the covers of the book are closed. He longs to be free of the monotony and repetition of reliving the familiar story over and over again. Delilah, a teenager who finds herself inexplicably drawn to a children’s fairytale thinks she’s losing her mind when she notices changes in a book she knows so well. Neglecting the people in her own life, she attempts to help this fictional prince to freeing himself from the confines of his pages.
The word that kept popping to mind as I was reading this book was cute. The story is cute, everything about it is very… cute. I felt it perhaps read more like a middle grade book at times rather than a young adult. Told in 3 voices – Delilah, Prince Oliver and the book’s actual fairy tale – it provides a nice pacing of all viewpoints as the book progresses. It basically feels like there are two separate, slightly-parallel, stories going on. There’s the fairy tale, told in broken out parts – interspersed with the other “real life” story from Delilah and Oliver’s point of views. The gorgeous drawings introducing each fairy tale chapter also provide a nice classic feel. Along with these beautiful illustrations are small silhouette pictures interspersed throughout the text that correspond with the story.
If you’re looking for a typical Jodi Picoult-style book, this may not be what you’re looking for. It has a very different narrative style to it, and I’d respectfully guess that much of it was written by Samantha; a bit fresh, with so much potential for future works. Overall, it is a lovely twist on the classic prince-saves-princess tale, and an imaginative plot that explores all options to get to its intended ending.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ (3/5 stars)
Between the Lines is now available in stores.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.