While Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer is unquestioningly a novel that will appeal to teenaged readers, it was a story enjoyed by this 30-something reviewer. I positively LOVED it! While of course I loved this novel because I enjoy reading fantasy, the other thing that I liked about it is that it gave readers a chance to really think about what happens to fictional characters after a book is put down. Unlike what happens in the fictional Between the Lines, however, I liked to think that after one stops reading the real Between the Lines, Delilah and Oliver are enjoying their own “happily ever after.” Just as there are Romeo and Juliet in literature, as well as Scarlett and Rhett, there will now be Delilah and Oliver.
All the same, to be fair – and this is what happens when an adult reads this novel – one can’t help but view Delilah’s fixation, obsession, of a fictional boy as something that screams “insanity.” Of course Delilah herself, to her credit, questions the mental state of someone talking to a book, talking to a character INSIDE of a book, but as she goes further into this experience and becomes enraptured with the world existing on the pages of the fairy tale story her mother keeps telling her is more suitable for children, the whole thing just starts to look, well ... ODD. The big reason why so many people read a novel to the end is that they want to see how an author pulls the whole thing off. They want to see the story actually succeed, but in order to do that, it has to make sense – both according to fictional guidelines established within a story’s world and the guidelines established within the annals of mental health. And many times, as I saw this story progress and Delilah continue to have conversations and even feelings for a fictional character, I kept stopping as I read and rolling my eyes to mutter, “This is CRAZY.” But then again, it’s fantasy. It’s all in good fun, and readers must allow for this in order to appreciate the story in all of its glory.
Delilah McPhee is a 15-year-old girl being raised by her single mom with the typical angst and struggles of most girls her age. When she becomes obsessed with a fairy tale starring 16-year-old Prince Oliver, she feels a connection to this character that goes beyond their shared lives without a father they can never know. Her obsession stems from the fact that she can communicate with Oliver – he actually turns into a walking and talking person on the pages of the book! This connection takes Delilah on a journey of a lifetime, where she will discover that, when it comes to fiction, the lives of the characters on the pages are not all that they seem.
New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult and her teenage daughter present their first-ever novel for teens, filled with romance, adventure, and humor.
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.