Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult (Book Review)

“Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

A romantic and charming story, this companion novel to Off the Page will make every reader believe in the fantastical power of fairy tales.” – Between the Lines, Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

I had the great fortune of finally reading one of the books that has been sitting on one of my many bookshelves. The book has been in my bedroom for going on six years. Six years, y’all. (And if you want to know the truth, I checked out the audio version on my library app and listened to the book. Oops).

But, I digress. This week I read Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer. I have a whole shelf of Picoult’s work because I read House Rules a million years ago and it’s been stuck in my mind ever since. (I haven’t actually gotten around to reading any more of her novels, but I’m a fan!)

Between the Lines is different from Picoult’s usual fiction genre, because this YA book was co-written with Picoult’s daughter, Van Leer. There’s a section in the front of the book where Picoult talks about how her daughter called her because she had a great idea for a book, so the mother-daughter duo sat down and wrote it. Inspiring, really.

This book is clever, well done, and is split three ways. The chapters are told from Delilah’s and Oliver’s perspectives, but in between their chapters, we get the fairy tale story that Oliver is trapped in as well. The narrated version is very well done to reflect this. One person narrates Delilah, another person narrates Oliver, and a third narrator tells the fairy tale.

Not only did Picoult and Van Leer write an original story, they also wrote the fairy tale that the story is about. We love authors who put thought and care into their art.

Besides the craftsmanship, Between the Lines is sweet and funny. It’s a clean, quick, lighthearted read that I would recommend to, well, anyone. The struggle to get Oliver out of his fairy tale and into Delilah’s world is nerve wracking. What if he’s only an inch tall, like his illustration? What if he dies? Delilah has already fallen for this picture perfect prince, she’s not going to risk his life!

Rating: 5 out of 5

Why: I seem to be reading some truly awesome books lately because this one once again is a 5 out of 5. I love that this story is original. I love that the fairy tale is included in the book and not just the struggle to free Oliver from said fairy tale. I love that the other characters think that Delilah needs help when she keeps getting caught talking to a book. Because let’s be real, mental health and YA books haven’t always been coupled together. Delilah’s mother sends her to a therapist because our girl Delilah is obsessed with a book and thinks it’s talking to her. Of course, we know that it is, but good on Delilah’s mom for trying to support her daughter while looking out for her!

I also love that the characters in the fairy tale have their own personalities when the book is closed. The premise being that when the book is open, the characters are ‘on stage’ and are now performing for the reader. Once the book is closed though, they all relax and are themselves. Socks, the gallant steed that Oliver rides, is actually an anxiety-driven pony who worries about his figure and almost refuses to be a part of the story because he has a pimple on his muzzle. The boy crazy mermaids who lure men to their deaths are in fact “hardcore feminists,” and Repskulio, the villain, loves collecting butterflies. It’s a really fun touch that I adore.

Ending Thoughts: This book is well-written, fun, clever, and unique. I highly recommend this book! I just found out that there’s a sequel, so guess who’s adding yet another book to her TBR? Maybe in six years, I’ll read that one too.

With love and wishing you a blessed day, Storm

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