May 27, 2012

Review: Between the Lines

I am a huge Jodi Picoult fan. When I learned she was going to step into the world of YA, there were certain expectations I had – a controversial topic, a court case, tears. This is not what happened with her new novel, written with her daughter, Samantha Van Leer, and it was a pleasant (and refreshing) surprise.  

My husband works for B&N and was able to secure an ARC for me - GO HUBBY!

Summary (from book jacket):

What happens when happily ever after…isn’t?

Delilah hates school as much as she loves books—one book in particular. In fact if anyone knew how many times she has read and reread the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially her cooler classmates, she’d be sent into social Siberia…forever.

To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there’s a handsome (well, okay, incredibly handsome) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there’s something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is.

Turns out, this Prince Charming is real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they’re from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?

My thoughts:

First, let me say that this is such an interesting concept for a YA novel – what if the story continues after the cover of a book is closed? I am surprised that we have not seen this story told a lot because we see this idea with toys.

There are three different stories in this novel: Delilah’s, Prince Charming, and the fairy tale Between the Lines. These three wrapped together create an intriguing story about longing, friendship, and teen angst.

What I loved about the novel: the plot concept and the illustrations.

The plot concept is intriguing – what happens when we close the cover to books we read? Does the action stop, or are the characters merely actors playing their parts? This element of the novel was one of my favorites because it was interesting to see some of the characters feel they were living their parts more than their lives. It reminded me of actors like Daniel Day-Lewis who stay in character while shooting movies. It was especially amusing to read the interaction between Prince Charming and the villain and to learn that in the end, the characters are more like a family on a film set.

To make the novel even more appealing, Picoult and Van Leer sprinkle illustrations throughout. I think this will appeal to tween and teen readers. My students especially discuss how much they love when writers include those illustrations. This is where Picoult and Van Leer are really playing to the audience.

What I struggled with while reading this novel: the changing writer’s voice.

With that said, let me say that writing a novel with her daughter was an interesting idea. The storytelling is true Picoult-style with alternating points-of-view, but there were parts that I found difficult to read because the writer’s voice would change, sometimes in the middle of a paragraph. I found myself saying in my head, “This part is all Picoult,” and then a few paragraphs later, “This is all her daughter.”

There is a note in the front of this novel where Picoult discusses how she and her daughter wrote this novel together. If that note is in the final copy, be sure to read it. If you’ve never read one of her books, you more than likely will not notice the difference. It is slight, but it is still there.

Overall, tween readers will especially enjoy this novel because the concept and execution will appeal to them.

I recommend this novel to all YA readers because of the interesting concept, and really, who does not enjoy a good fairy tale once in a while?

Between the Lines is on sale June 26, 2012 – add it to your summer reads!


  1. So adding this one to my reading list--it sounds like one my MS kiddos will enjoy! Thanks for the review!

  2. I've read a few of Jodi Picoult's books and enjoyed them. I wasn't aware that she wrote a YA novel, so I'm excited about the release of this! I like the concept, and the three POVs sound interesting. Thanks for the review :)


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