Thursday, September 20, 2012

Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer (Review)

Genre:Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Publication.Date  June 26th (US/Canada)/July 5th (UK)2012
Published By:  Simon Pulse (US/Canada)/ Hodder & Stoughton (UK) | 
WebsiteJodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer 

Between The Lines - Goodreads
My review copy:A copy of the book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Where to get:

What happens when happily ever after…isn’t?

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.

Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.

“I’d much rather pretend I’m somewhere else, and any time I open the pages of a book, that happens.”
“He’s not your typical prince, more like a square peg in a round hole, kind of like me. He’s the sort of guy who wouldn’t mind reading side by side on a date.”
“Just so you know, when they say "Once upon a time” . . . they’re lying” 
“Can you imagine what it would be like to know that your life was just going to be a series of days that were all the same, that were do-overs?”

     Between The Lines was a surprisingly sweet and delightful read, and not at all what I initially thought it would be. I suppose I should start by saying that this was my first book by Jodi Picoult, but, although I haven't read any of her previous novels, I had a pretty good idea what they were about (who doesn't?). While it was obvious to me that Between The Lines was not going to be yet another melancholic, harrowing, and profoundly meaningful read (in other words: not the usual Jodi Picoult's type of book), I did expect it to be a slightly lighter contemporary romance/drama aimed at the Young Adult audience. Needless to say, I was wrong. Oh, so wrong! Not only is the book more of a romantic fantasy than a contemporary novel, it also reads more like a MG than a typical YA. Filled with gorgeous illustrations, adorable characters, wonderful settings and breath-taking adventures, it is a book that is just as entertaining as it is innovative, and one that has something for everyone on the age spectrum. 

     Between The Lines is a magical and beautifully written tale about true love, following your dreams, the power of imagination, and finding your own happily-ever-after. It's a wonderful story, and one with a beating heart. To someone like me, who grew up reading fairy tales and watching Neverending Story (over and over again), reading this book was a fantastic, uplifting experience. I enjoyed everything about it, from the imaginative premise, interesting characters and sparkly dialogues to the colorful illustrations. It's not a demanding read, you won't be biting your nails in anticipation of what happens next, nor will you come out of reading it with a tear-streaked face and a whole lot of emotional trauma. No, you're more likely to giggle, sigh in amazement, and clap in excitement. At the same time, though, the authors offer the reader something to think about, too, as they don't shy away from more serious issues, such as abandonment, growing up with only one parent, fear of rejection, and social awkwardness. And they tackle them in the most graceful and subtle way. Ultimately, the real magic of this book lies in the ingenious concept and its magnificent, breath-taking execution. Jodi and Samantha ask many great questions: what do characters do when no one is reading the book? What happens to them? Do they have their own, somewhat more real lives outside the story? And what if the characters are tired of playing the same old scenario over and over again? What if they want out? What happens then? I thought the concept was downright brilliant and I had a whole lot of fun following Oliver's adventures as he was trying desperately to escape the imaginary world of Between The Lines (yes, the book in the story has the exact same title). It was very entertaining! 

     I liked the characters a lot. Both Oliver and Delilah were likeable, cute, and quite convincing. While I didn't think that the characters were exceptionally fleshed-out, I also didn't think them necessary to be. After all, it's more of a fairy-tale than a typical boy-meets-girl contemporary novel, and definitely a plot rather than character driven one. I liked how Jodi and Samantha handled the dynamics between the protagonists, their dialogues were funny and seemed real - as real as a dialogue between a girl and a character from a book can be, that is. However, as much as I enjoyed the adventure part of their story, I can't say that I felt the chemistry between them. And that's one of the reasons why this book felt more  middle grade than young adult to me. The world building was rich and exquisite, and I absolutely loved all the fantasy elements, but at the same time, I thought that the romance part was a little bit lacking. Maybe it's the whole concept of a girl falling in love with a character from a children's book that I had a problem with, or maybe it's just the fact that the story focused mainly on getting Oliver out of the fairy-tale novel he was stuck in, and not on the young couple's feelings - I don't know. All I know is that I wanted a little bit more sexual tension between these two, because to me they acted more like really good friends than teenagers in love. 

     That's not to say that I didn't love the book, because I did. I absolutely and utterly loved it. It was fresh, sweet, funny, and just so deliciously readable. I loved exploring the imaginary world from Oliver's book, but I also liked reading about the world Delilah lived in. Like I said before, I liked both Oliver and Delilah, but these two were not the only memorable characters. I loved some of the side-kicks, too, especially Delilah's best friend, Jules. She was hilarious! And Oliver's side-kick, Frump, was too. And while they didn't play essential roles in the story, their presence added a lot of flavor to it. 

     All in all, Between The Lines is a brilliant work of fiction with a provocative and engaging theme: life is but a story and the happy ending we get (and whether we'll get it at all) is entirely up to us. Nothing is set in stone. We hold the power to shape our future, all it takes is just a little bit of faith and persistence. To me, Between the Lines is a book with a timeless appeal, and one that I will be re-reading time and time again.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Joyous Reads said...

Glad you enjoyed this book. This book was like Toy Story wasn't it? It gave me a brand new appreciation for the characters in a book. Imagine having to live their days over and over again like a Groundhog Day nightmare. Yeesh.

Great review, Evie. Thanks for sharing.

Amy said...

I have heard a lot of mixed things about this book. It sounds good to me though. I am glad that you enjoyed it. Thanks for the great review!!

Kelly said...

I have seen this book but hadn't read what it was about. Sounds really cute. Didn't think she would write a book like this. Sounds really sweet. Thanks for the great review. I may pick it up or have my middle grade daughter read it!

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

Okay so your review says EVERYTHING that I felt about this one, Evie. I loved that it was so different from Jodi's normal books (and I know REALLY want to read the ones of hers I haven't) and how imaginative it was. I loved that it was light-hearted and more of a fantasy than anything, and I enjoyed watching Oliver and Delilah's interaction. That said, I also agree that there could have been a bit more spark between them. FAB review!

Henrietta @ Leisure Reads said...

It's good to know that this is more of a romantic fantasy than a contemporary novel. My inner child yearns for reading books with cute characters. I guess I have to pick this one up to tame the craving :) Thanks a lot for the awesome review!

Giselle from Book Nerd said...

I really enjoyed this one too! It had such a different twist to the genre! Most people think its just Jodi Picoilt and the second name is the illustrator but it's really her daughter! I love when a mother and daughter team writes together. Cute and imaginative story!

Tiffany Mahaffy said...

Yay!! So glad you enjoyed it. I can't wait to start it myself, it sounds like something I am going to really enjoy!

Shannon (Giraffe Days) said...

Did I say this before, maybe, but I love finding other Toronto-based bloggers! You and Michele, if there are more let me know! We should totally support our Toronto book blogging community!

Thanks for the giveaway, Evie. :)

Randi M said...

Glad you liked this, Evie! :) It's on my to-read list (I was supposed to read it for my book club, but I can't make it to the meeting...). Great review! Interested to see what I think of the middle grade-appeal you mentioned.

The Blonde Zombie said...

I've SO many mixed things about this book, mainly bad things... I think I'll check it from the library, but I won't be rushing to do it.

I did read some of Jodi's books years and years ago and I must admit, I got very tired of her books...they are very samey..

Lynn K. said...

I've never read any books by Jodi before and I wasn't too keen on this either....that is, until I heard that there would be illustrations inside and now that I've read your review. It certainly sounds like a book I'll enjoy.

Grace Lo said...

I've read My Sister's Keeper by Jodi before and cried so hard . . . (Shh, don't tell anyone.) I've been wanting to read this for a while; how cool would it be to read something about a book character that comes to life, literally?

Jaime Lester said...

I am very curious about this one. I have wondered if it might be a little too young for my old self, but I have enjoyed plenty of MG's. Either way, however it may turn out, I am looking forward to the chance.

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