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.
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?
Jodi Picoult, best-selling author of My Sister’s Keeper, has teamed up with her daughter Samantha Van Leer to conquer the YA book world. Not only is this Samantha’s first published book but it also Jodi’s first publication of a YA book. I have pretty much read all of Jodi Picoult’s novels so jumped at the chance when David told me he had her new YA book to review, Between the Lines.
Characters: Our main character is, of course, Delilah. She is an outsider at school with only one true friend Jules as her entire year has shunned her due to her clumsy nature which always seems to result in an injury to the most popular, not to mention head leader, in school. Unlike many YA books there is nothing spectacular about Delilah she is completely normal with no hidden talents or extraordinary beauty. She does, however, obsess over a fairy tale book, Between the Lines, and one day believes that the main protagonist, Prince Oliver, is talking to her. Delilah retreats into the book constantly talking with Oliver and trying to help him find a way in her world so he no longer needs to stay trapped reliving the same story over and over. Although Delilah is in fact a character which I’m sure every young girl could relate to as she is pretty ordinary I do feel that she was underdeveloped. It seemed that although her background story was made clear and her position as a pariah within school, I couldn’t quite bond with her in the way I do when reading other books. Oliver, however, was exactly how you would picture a Prince; charming, chivalrous, intelligent, complimentary and English (Come on let’s face it when we think of a Prince we can’t help but think they speak like Prince William or Harry? … No, just me? =P). I did enjoy Delilah’s character as she was believable; however, I feel that she could have been developed more.
Originality: The concept of a character from one of our favourite books coming to life is something which we all must dream of. For me it’s vampire Bill from Charlaine Harris’ series. Picoult credits her daughter with the books concept of a book within a book where the main protagonist is deeply unhappy at reprising the same role every time someone reads the book. The originality of the book made me endeavour to read on as the idea was fresh and didn’t at all seem overly supernatural. Perhaps there are other books out there that deal with same idea; however, I have yet to discover them so for originality Van Leer and Picoult defiantly have impressed me.
Plot: I didn’t really know what to expect from the plot but I was certain that with Jodi Picoult’s help there would be unexpected twists and an even more unpredictable ending. I was right in thinking that the ending was surprising, but again I couldn’t help but feel that the plot underwhelming. There was little suspense or build up to the ending. I won’t ruin the ending for those who haven’t read it yet but I felt as though it was quickly put together and with little explanation. However, the ending does make me think that there may be a sequel which would allow for the plot to be filled in and expanded.
Writing: Although the characters and the plot didn’t wow me the writing style certainly did. Like Picoult’s previous books each chapter switches between Delilah’s perspective and Oliver’s with interweaving chapters from the actual fairytale. It wasn’t until I was half way through the book that I realised that Delilah’s chapters were in a different font which helped to distinguish from Oliver but also subconscious made me connect it with her thoughts, like you associate someone to their handwriting. Overall the writing was stylish and accompanied by detailed and silhouetted illustrations.
Chloe’s Rating: Overall I have to say I was disappointed with Picoult and Van Leer’s YA offering. Between the Lines is defiantly an easy and simple read, however, I think fans of Picoult will be expecting the same intricate and mysteriousness that she portrays in her other works of fiction. The biggest compliments I can give are to the originality of the story and the fact that this is Samantha Van Leer’s first attempt at writing which is no easy feat. I think new authors should be given credit and not judged too harshly. Since I liked the premise of the book and the writing style I would have to give Between the Lines three snitches.