Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

"When they say 'Once upon a time'...they're lying. It's not once upon a time. It's not even twice upon a time. It's hundreds of times, over and over, every time someone opens up the pages of this dusty old book." That's Oliver, the prince in Between the Lines, a novel by Jodi Picoult and her daughter, Samantha Van Leer. Between the Lines is also the name of the fairy tale where Prince Oliver lives and speaks his lines over and over again. What happens when a character knows he's a character, and desperately wants out? What happens when a reader falls for the character, and wants to help him escape? That's the premise of this young adult novel that will touch the heart of every teen and adult woman who was a loner who turned to books, and saw those books come to life.

At fifteen, Delilah McPhee is one of those girls. She's a ninth grader whose first words in the book are, "I'm weird." She would rather spend time with a book than participate in sports, or be outdoors. She's a loner whose attempts at sports only cause her to be a social pariah. She injures the most popular girl in school, hangs out with a girl with a pink Mohawk and safety pins in her ears, and lives with her mom after her father left them five years earlier. And, when she comes across an old fairy tale, Between the Lines, in her school library, she falls for Prince Oliver. She reads the book over and over again until one day, she realizes the book has changed. And, it isn't long before Oliver leaves her a message, "Help me."

Between the Lines is the story of two misfits reaching out for each other. As Delilah and Prince Oliver attempt to find a way to get Oliver out of the book, they grow closer to each other, discovering neither had a father in their life. And, a prince who lacks the gift of courage, and a girl who lacks confidence, scheme and create plans to change the course of a story.


The illustrations in this book are by Yvonne Gilbert and Scott M. Fischer, and they're gorgeous, and appropriate. The book is told in three parts, illustrated by the ink. Prince Oliver lives in a fairy tale, and that story is told with colored illustrations suitable for a fairy tale, and black print. It begins, "Once upon a time," and it truly is the fairy tale. Oliver tells his own story in purple print, and each time the READER opens the book, Oliver is thrust back into the fairy tale at the point where the book is opened. Delilah's story is in green ink.

Between the Lines is a story for young adults who feel as if they are misfits. At the same time, those of us who were once lonely readers will find the book beautiful and moving. It takes courage for both teens to attempt to change their roles in the world. This book isn't for all of Jodi Picoult's adult readers. It's a young adult novel aimed at that market. At the same time, that aim targets the heart of so many adult readers. It's a fairy tale in which the reader and the character actually have a say in the outcome, with a little help from one more lonely teen. Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer illustrate what many of us readers and dreamers always suspected. There really is life Between the Lines.

Jodi Picoult's website is www.jodipicoult.com

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer. Simon & Schuster. 2012. ISBN 9781431635751 (hardcover), 353p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


5 comments:

Inside A Book said...

What a beautiful review you've given to this book. You are right, this can touch so many of us who felt out of step, out of touch or less than others and chose solace in books. I know I sought them often. I have students who feel the same. Now we just need a book like this for boys!!

I am thrilled to know that this gets your praise. I was wondering how it might come together with Ms. Picoult's propensity for hot button social topics. I enjoy much of her work but I didn't know how it would bridge to YA. I think I will much prefer this genre. In the end it may teach an even deeper awareness and lesson.

Once again, you prove it...you're awesome!

Lesa said...

Thank you! What a nice comment.

This book has nothing to do with those hot button social topics. I don't read Picoult's adult books. But, this one grabbed me. The heroine is somewhat bullied in school, however, she also causes some of her own problems by her clumsiness. And, all three of the young people involved have father's who are not in their lives, either dead or gone. But, this isn't a social issue novel at all.

It hit home for me. I'm going to have a hard time giving it up, but I think my niece will enjoy it. (Probably not as much as I did, though. She's not the loner I was.)

Beth Hoffman said...

Lesa, this is a wonderfully written review! I was (am) a loner, and though this is a YA book, I know I'll add it to my list. It sounds like a terrific read!

Lesa said...

Beth,

It was such a good book that I kept my copy for myself, and ordered a book & had it sent to my niece. I didn't want to give up my copy. I think you're going to like it!

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