Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Between the Lines - Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

Illustrations by Yvonne Gilbert & Scott M. Fischer

'There is a completely different world that happens between the lines.'

Delilah is a fifteen-year-old girl who keeps re-reading the same book. It's a fairy tale, which she discovered in the school library one day, the librarian having originally found this very special edition. Delilah studies hard and isn't one of the popular girls in her high school. She does have one best friend, Jules. Delilah loves the familiarity of this particular book, called Between the Lines. She enjoys the fact that there is a happy ending, and that each time she reads it, she takes comfort from the fact that there are no surprises. Also, the main character, Prince Oliver, never knew his father, and as Delilah lives alone with her mother, she feels empathy with his situation too.

One day, something magical occurs; one of the pages is different to how it looked before, and then Prince Oliver moves, and looks at Delilah and speaks directly to her. He tells her that characters within the story exist when the pages are closed too, and that he would like to change his life, to experience more than the limitations of his current role. 'We all have lives outside the lives that we play when a Reader opens the book. ' He wants to break free from the book, and he shares this with Delilah. They find an attraction and common ground between them at the dissatisfaction with aspects of their lives. But is there any way for them to help each other, and to be together.

This magical tale was written by established, highly successful author Jodi Picoult and her daughter, Samantha van Leer, who had the original idea behind the story, and presented this to her mother as a suggestion for a book. The storytelling is creative and intriguing, and I enjoyed having the three different voices of Delilah, Oliver, and the original fairy story itself. This multiple narrator viewpoint is a familiar feature of Picoult's adult novels. Delilah is a likeable character, struggling through the difficult teenage years, and the characters in the fairy story are very entertaining, most of all when we meet them 'behind the scenes' so to speak, when we learn how they really act and behave when they are outside of the story. 

What also made the book special I felt are the beautiful illustrations, both the ones that are a full page, and the smaller images that appear alongside or in the text; these are charming and embellished the story nicely. 

I enjoyed reading this story, and in parts I felt it was very imaginative and clever. I think I enjoyed the initial section of the novel the most, as the two characters get to know one another and discover more about each other's lives. I do enjoy Jodi Picoult's novels, so it was interesting to read this different work and see how it played out. I was a bit unsure at times about the direction of the story, and how things would unravel. Certainly though, the concept is such an interesting one - 'Did you really think that a story exists only when you're reading it?' I think this will be enjoyed most by the younger end of the young adult reading market. 

Published by Hodder & Stoughton

Reviewed for amazon vine


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting Sam. It was a cute story and an enjoyable read.

  2. Sounds fascinating. I had not heard about this book and always enjoy Picoult's books. I will definitely check it out!

    1. Thanks for your comment Susan. Hope you enjoy this one.

  3. Hi!
    I just came across your site and it is really lovely! I happily followed you and will enjoy reading your updates. You can find me over at Rainy Day Reads, It would be great if you could stop by and I would love to have a fellow book lover as a new follower.
    Christine x
    Rainy Day Reads

    1. Hi Christine, many thansk for visiting and following my blog. I have visited your site and followed back, and look forward to reading your future posts.

  4. I was interested to read your review, but I doubt I will be reading this one as not much of a fan of the YA genre.

  5. Having read several of JP's books this year, I'm taking part in the Jodi Picoult Project, I'm eager to read this one as well.

    Great post, it was interesting to read your thoughts on a book that bloggers seem to either totally love or totally hate.

    1. Thanks for your kind comment Tracy. I hadn't heard about the JP Project, sounds good.


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