Friday, June 8, 2012

Mandy Reviews: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

ISBN #: 978-1451635751
Page Count: 352
Copyright: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Emily Bestler Books

Book Summary:
(Taken from dust jacket)

What happens when happily ever after ... isn't?

Delilah hates school as much as she loves books. In fact, there's one book in particular she can't get enough of. If anyone knew how many times she has read and reread the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially the popular kids, she'd be sent to social Siberia ... forever.

To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there's a handsome (well, okay, hot) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there's something deeper going on. And one day Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they're from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?

Together with her daughter, Samantha van Leer, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult has written a classic fairy tale with a uniquely modern twist. Readers will be swept away by this story of a girl who crosses the border between reality and fantasy in a perilous search for her own happy ending.

Mandy's Review:

Okay, ladies and gentlemen, let's all admit it: We read books because we love how our imaginations light up and play the story our in our minds. We give the characters voices, we give them personalities and we give them life (with the help of the author, of course) inside of our imaginations. We become familiar with the characters and start to feel as if we really know them and understand them.

But, what if, when we close the books we read, the characters came to life inside the book and began talking to each other about their world and the things they know instead of the words the author has given them? What if the characters could see the readers' faces? What if one of us, a reader, felt like we knew a particular character so well we started to have feelings for the character ... and vice versa?

I believe these were some of the questions that passed through Samantha's mind and sparked the idea for this novel. Thankfully, she pitched the idea to her mom, Jodi, and they agreed to sit down and write this book together.

And I am so glad they did ...

The first thing I noticed, and liked, about this novel was the beautiful illustrations throughout. I've posted one below. This one is opposite the title page at the beginning of the novel. I promise you: pictures do not do these illustrations justice. You have to see them for yourself.

Not only are these colorful illustrations interspersed throughout, but there's also black and white drawings on the edges of many of the pages. I've included one of those below as well.

Now to the actual written contents of this novel...

Three stories are being told at one time: A fairy tale (titled Between the Lines), Oliver's story, and Delilah's story. I enjoyed reading the fairy tale while reading Oliver's and Delilah's viewpoints of their situation. The fairy tale portion was in black lettering, Oliver's portion was in a purplish-blue lettering (depended on the light I was under), and Delilah's portion was in green lettering. I loved the originality of the novel being set up this way. I don't think I've ever seen that done in other novels.

The fairy tale started out like most fairy tales do with "Once upon a time..." and went into a Prince needing to rescue a damsel in distress. Along the way, the Prince encountered many situations meant to endanger him, in which he was able to quickly outwit his opponents. After many trials, the Prince reaches the tower where the evil villain is holding the damsel captive. Fighting ensues and the Prince defeats the evil villain, wins the damsel's hand and they live happily ever after.

Oliver is the Prince in the fairy tale. Seraphima, the damsel, is actually an airhead and seemingly dim-witted. She easily confuses the lines of the fairy tale with the characters' reality. Oliver doesn't want to hurt her feelings, but he cannot stand her and doesn't want anything from her other than friendship. Oliver just wants to be free: Free of the kingdom, free from the fairy tale, free from having to kiss Seraphima at the end of the fairy tale every time someone opens the book to read the story. Can he exist outside of the book? Is it even possible? If so, is there a reader who can hear him and help him?

Delilah hates school. She's pretty much a loner. She really only has one friend, Jules, that she hangs out with. Books are her life. She loves to read. When she came across the fairy tale, Between the Lines, in her school's library, she received a shock as soon as her fingers touched the cover. Right then she knew the book was something special.

From the first page, Delilah was hooked and read the book every chance she got. So much so that her mom thought her depressed and wanted to take her to see a psychiatrist. What her mom didn't understand was that Delilah and Oliver could talk to each other. A human and a character in a fairy tale were able to converse every time Delilah opened the book. They began caring for each other and trying to figure a way for Oliver to leave the fairy tale permanently.

This novel took me back to my pre-teen days when I loved reading fairy tales. It was like a literary portal transporting me back in time when I felt those feelings of swooning over the prince, gasping at the perils he faced and laughing at his trickery over his opponents. It was absolutely wonderful!

I cannot gush enough about Between the Lines. I already liked Jodi Picoult as an author, but when Jodi and Samantha get together to write a novel, the effect is truly magical. I highly recommend this novel to all you YA book lovers out there!!!

*A hardcopy of this novel was provided by Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. Great review :) I liked it a lot as well, just wrote my review of it this morning.


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