Reviewed by Georgina Tranter
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on the 5th July 2012
Pages - 361
Once upon a time in a land far, far away there lived a brave king and a beautiful queen, who were so much in love that wherever they went, people stopped what they were doing just to watch them pass. Peasant wives who were fighting with their husbands suddenly forgot the reason for the argument; little boys who had been putting spiders in the braids of little girls tried to steal a kiss instead; artists wept because nothing they could create on canvas came close to approximating the purity of the love between King Maurice and Queen Maureen. On the day they learnt that they were going to have a child, it is said that a rainbow brighter and grander than anything ever seen before arched across the kingdom, as if the sky itself was waving a banner of joy.
Delilah knows it’s weird, but she can’t stop reading her favourite fairy tale. Other girls her age are dating and cheer leading. But then, other girls are popular.
Delilah 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?
Bestselling author Jodi Picoult has teamed up with her teenage daughter Samantha to write a novel for young adults. Between the Lines is the result of this partnership, and as a huge Picoult fan I couldn’t wait to review this title. Would it work, could she write as successfully for a younger audience?
Delilah is a sixteen year old school girl who dreams of happy endings. With divorced parents, Delilah is aware that real-life doesn’t always work out the way you want it to and she seeks solace in the books that she reads. One day in the school library she finds a book on a shelf that she has never noticed before. Taking it home she is immediately drawn into the fairy tale world of King Maurice and Queen Maureen.
She reads and re-reads the book to the extent that she knows every page off by heart, then one day she hears a voice from within the book – Prince Oliver is talking to her! Delilah is the first reader who has ever been able to hear him and they strike up a friendship that develops as time goes on. The big question is, how can they be together when one person lives in the real-world, and the other is trapped inside a book? Suspend your disbelief and think back to the favourite book that you always return to reading (my favourite is Diana Wynne Jones’ Fire and Hemlock) and imagine what could/would happen if the book could come to life.
The book is set into three distinct parts – the fairy tale, Oliver’s story and Delilah’s story and all written in different coloured inks with pictures from the fairy story to accompany the reader into the world of Between the Lines. We follow the story of Oliver and his quest to rescue the beautiful Princess Seraphima from the clutches of the evil Rapscullio. We then learn of Oliver’s desperation to escape the world that he is trapped in and his wish to enter into the real world. Delilah is having a hard time at school, she has already broken the knee of the head cheerleader and is clearly not very popular; she would much rather escape into fiction where things are clearly defined and the ending is always happy.
I loved this book, it’s nearly 400 pages long but it never felt like a struggle. The way that it is broken up makes it really readable, and the illustrations are so beautiful that this is a book I definitely want to share with my daughter when she is old enough. I questioned all of the positive comments that I initially read about this book, could it be that good, and were parents really reading it alongside their daughters – well it is, and they are. No violence, drugs or sex; just pure escapism, romance and fairy tales. Do Delilah and Oliver get their happy ending though? There’s only one way to find out, go between the lines.
If you are a big fan of Jodi Picoult, you might be interested in taking part Jodi Picoult reading challenge which can be found here organised by the lovely Suko.