Wednesday 26 September 2012

Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

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.
Goodreads Summary

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. 


  1. I've been having a hard time deciding if I should buy a copy of this or not. Your review makes it so exciting, though! We'll see ;)

    - Ellie @ The Selkie Reads Stories

  2. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one. Like neiruxe I've been undecided as to whether or not to buy a copy.

    1. Personally I wasn't fussed to read it, but Georgina who reviewed it is a big Jodi Picoult fan. I think if you love Picoult you will love this.

  3. I have this one on my stacks, but I've been almost afraid to open it and read....

    I don't want anything to mar the Jodi Picoult book love I have going on...and changes sometimes do that. What a relief that you and others are loving it. Maybe I'll read it soon!

    1. I think you just have to dive in. I am sure it will have the same quality as her other books.

  4. Vivienne, I enjoyed your review of this mother-daughter YA book, and I have a special request: would you please add a link to your review to my reading challenge, The Jodi Picoult Project? I'd sure appreciate that. Here is the link: Thank you!

  5. I generally don't like fantasy or fairy tales so I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed this book.

    1. I am so glad you liked it too. Georgina was over the moon with it.

  6. This is on my TBR shelf and I'm looking forward to it, but I've heard some bad words about it. Thanks for putting some worries to rest, though!


Hiya, thanks for stopping by, it is always nice to hear what you have to say, so do leave a comment if you have time.