Monday, July 30, 2012

Jenn's Review: Between the Lines

Summary: 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.

Review:  I must confess, this is my first Jodi Picoult book, and it will probably be my last. That is, unless she plans to do more collaborations with her daughter because this is so ingenious! No knock on Ms. Picoult, it's just that her books are usually a little too serious for me, so I was surprised at how light this novel is.

Who hasn't imagined a happily ever after with a fictional character or imagined themself as the hero/heroine of the story? Here, the cloncept is explored in full. The novel is written in three voices, the children's book in which the characters live, Oliver, and Delilah. Though it has great potential to be confusing, it is cleverly set in three different fonts in three different colors interspersed with gorgeous illustrations and little cameo silhouettes which make things brilliantly clear. The story itself is nothing like I've read before. I loved the way the reader gets insight into both characters as the novel goes along. Delilah discovers that who she sees on the page is not exactly who each character is when the book is closed and that though she sometimes thinks she'd rather be anywhere than where she is, that's not really true. Oliver discovers that life outside the pages is more complex than he imagines, especially when you have to start considering others.

While I found the twist of the ending fun, I also thought it was rather abrupt. There was no real denoument to speak of and there were loose ends that could have been tied. I was left wondering about what was going to happen with several characters. Also, I felt a bit like some of the other characters, such as Delilah's best friend Jules, were filler, but I think that is more to do with the fact that the style in which it was written limits the amount of story you can tell.

All in all, Between the Lines is a brilliant concept and I sincerely hope that mother and daughter attempt to write together again. It's a creative, fun read and I highly recommend it.

Final Take:  4/5


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