Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Between the Lines

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Between the Lines
Jodi Picoult &
Samantha van Leer
Release date: June 26th 2012
by Simon Pulse


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.

*A copy was provided by Simon & Schuster Canada for review purposes*
I’m not sure if the fact that I’ve read a few books by Jodi Picoult in the past affected my enjoyment of this novel, and even though I knew not to expect her usual story-type since it’s written with her daughter, this was a lot different than what I had envisioned. It’s a good book. It is. But I think it’s aimed at a younger YA audience and this is where I was left a little underwhelmed.

It’s a fairy tale in all it’s classic glory. This is a story about princes, love, friends, overcoming the impossible to get to your ever afters. Delilah, loner, social pariah, loves to lose herself in a story. This takes a whole new meaning when a character from a child’s illustrated book – sweet and charming Oliver – starts talking to her! Like all Jodi Picoult novels, the story is told from several perspectives. This case is a bit unique in that we have Delilah, we have Oliver, but also, we have Oliver’s story – the actual fairy tale in his book. I thought this gave it an extra kick, without disrupting the flow as they are generally kept short. Being a fan of multiple perspectives to begin with, I really enjoyed getting to know both Delilah and Oliver individually. Delilah is in the “real world” with real problems: a pretty average teenage life. I liked her character; the outcast who’s trying to escape by reading. She’s kept fairly plain Jane and I think a lot of readers will be able to relate to her. However, I found myself easily favoring Oliver’s POV. Oliver has been stuck in his fairy tale since it was written, with a “book” family of his own that makes his chapters vibrate with life. Oliver himself is a very likeable character with imperfections and an enchanting demeanor, but I especially adored every single one of the unusual people – and creatures – that we got to meet alongside him. I did notice some inconsistencies in his character, though, particularly in his knowledge of the real world – or Otherworld as he calls it – by mentioning things that would not have been possible for him to recognize or perceive. Maybe it simply needed to tell us more about how they acquired what they do know. Like I said, as I felt this was aimed at a younger YA audience, these small discrepancies are most likely expected to be overlooked, which is certainly manageable.

The story is, in one word, pleasant. For someone so young as a co-author, the writing is especially fluid with beautiful, almost cinematic, descriptions. Cute humor and adorable passages makes it a lighthearted novel. To spice things up a bit – my favorite part of the book – are the sketches and illustrations that are scattered throughout to give us a very fun reading experience:

-These are from the uncorrected proof and the finished copy may differ 
(it stated that the final book would have full colored illustrations)

After everything is said and done, a fairy tale is what you get. It’s cute, it’s fun, and it’s refreshing; what you expect from this story will factor in your enjoyment of it. I was effortlessly and quite easily kept entertained by its imaginative plot, but as I was expecting something a bit less fluffy, it failed to completely dazzle me. With that said, readers who are fascinated by fairy tales and have a weakness for happily-ever-afters will surely eat this one up!

3 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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29 Responses to “Review: Between the Lines”

  1. The Teen Book Guru

    Great review, Giselle! I love Jodi’s books so I’m probably going to go into this with Hugh expetations, no matter how much I tell myself not to LOL. Hopefully I’ll still love it!! And OMG Fairytales?? Boy does that sound awesome but also so not up Jodie’s ally. Awesome review!! You are so lucky to got an ARC of this! <3 So dying to read it.

  2. Lindsay

    I finished this book last night (review up tomorrow) and agree with you that it was aimed at a younger YA audience… in fact, I might even say middle grade. I did really enjoy it though!

    Great review!
    Lindsay @ Turning the Pages

  3. Aylee

    I think “pleasant” and “cute” are good words to describe this one as well. It was billed as Jodi Picoult’s YA debut but I too felt it read more like MG. This was my first Jodi Picoult experience and it was pretty meh to be honest, so I’m eager to read something else of hers that will hopefully change my mind.

  4. Nick

    I’ve read a couple of books by Jodi Picoult and have enjoyed them. I’m a little wary of this one although the concept sounds interesting. I’m glad you did enjoy it although there were some things that didn’t work out.
    Great review, Giselle. 🙂

  5. Giselle

    Thanks ladies!!

    @Aylee: I recommend Nineteen Minutes it’s one of her most recommended and I loved it! It’s about a school shooting.

  6. Meg K.

    The plot for this book sounds really original, and Oliver sounds like an intriguing character, especially since he’s from a fairytale story and all. 🙂 It’s really too bad that this book isn’t as dark as it could be (I really love dark books. Not the ones full of fluff and bunnies >.<), but the concept is still interesting.

    Great review, Giselle! 😀

  7. Danica Page

    Thanks for the review. I’ve had my eye on this one for awhile. Those sketches are amazing.

    I figured the book would be like this. I will have to eventually track this one down.

  8. Amy

    This sounds enjoyable, but probably not something I would pick up. The illustrations look really awesome though. The way you describe it reminds me of how I felt about the book I just reviewed. It seemed more for younger YA. (Though I think the one I read might have been Middle Grade, so that would explain that lol) I have actually never read any of Jodi Picoult’s books. Great review muffin!!

  9. Kris (Imaginary Reads)

    This sounds like a cute story, but I was expecting something aimed at a bit of an older YA audience, not fluff and cuteness. The imaginative aspect is intriguing though, and I’d love to see more illustrations. If I have time and feel like a light-hearted read, I will be sure to pick up this book.

  10. Katie @ BlookGirl

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one all that much, but it sounds like many people WILL enjoy it, which is what’s important. I’ve actually never read a Jodi Picoult novel, so I doubt I’ll read this one, though she is said to be fantastic author.

    I do like the idea of color illustrations in the book. I wouldn’t mind if more books were like that, but then again, I’m a sucker for interesting pictures 🙂

    Great review, love muffin!

  11. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    This is a great review. As we talked about yesterday, I’m not sure that I have read a Picoult novel and I don’t think I will start with her venture into YA. I’m not certain that I would enjoy this one, sounds more like a MG to me.

  12. Hannah Doermann

    Hmm… I’m not sure if I’m going to read this. I loved those of Jodi Picoult’s adult books that I’ve read, but I don’t know if I want to read this one if it’s aimed at such a young audience. I think I might pass because too fluffy and unrealisty happily ever afters bug me :p Great review, though!

  13. Beverley

    Such a lovely review, Giselle! I’ve just started this one and even though I’m trying not to compare it to Jodi’s other books, I’m still feeling a little underwhelmed too. But I’m glad she wrote this for teens with her daughter because it’s definitely unique, especially with the fairytale and beautiful sketches!

    Thanks for the great review and I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  14. Lexie

    Great review! This sounds like a fun, easy read, which is understandably surprising–“fun, easy reads” are not Picoult’s usual. Still, it sounds like an enjoyable read, and since I adore fairytales, I think I may pick this one up. 😀

  15. Sam

    Although this didn’t blow you away, it does sound like a good read. I love the illustrations! I wouldn’t have thought such a book would have illustrations. Great review, Giselle!

  16. Aneeqah

    I hadn’t heard about this book before, but now I think I may end up adding this one to my TBR. Even though I’m not a fan of younger YA, it seems like a great fluffy type read, and those pictures look really neat! Lovely review, Giselle! =)

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  17. Shooting Stars Mag

    Thanks for the review. I do love Jodi’s adult books and I’m excited to check this out…especially since she wrote it with her daughter, which I just think is adorable. Thanks for the “warnings” though. I shall keep them in mind. I like the drawings. too cool!


  18. Alexa

    I adore fairy tales – so I really think I’m going to adore this book. Though it does sound like it’s targeted towards a younger audience, I often find I don’t really mind that. Thanks for the review!

  19. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue

    Agreed, Giselle! I went into this trying to remind myself it wasn’t one of Jodi’s typical novels (which I adore…MERCY is my favorite), and to expect a light fairy-tale. I did like this one but I agree, it was more a MG story than a YA one.

  20. Camille Picott

    I have a hard time with “fluffy” YA. I’ve read some, and they just don’t appeal to me all that much. I chalk it up to my age. 🙂

    Great review! I didn’t know Picoult wrote YA.

  21. Manshu Li ❤ AKA Vivian

    Wow, this seems like a sweet read for a rainy day! Wonderful review as usual, Giselle! So glad to be back and reading your posts again <3 They make me smile 🙂 and those sketches seem really nice o_o I'm intrigued…mainly because I'm pretty big on fairy tales in all their glory 😉

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  22. Rebecca (Kindle Fever)

    Oh, I love those sketches! That’s really cool. But I guess I can see how you’d feel it would be aimed at a younger YA audience. I’m glad those exist too though. 😉 I’m definitely curious!

    Glad you enjoyed it, even if you were a bit underwhelmed. 🙂 Great review!

  23. Candace

    I might want this for the illustrations! But that cover is blah compared yo those pictures. I think they could have done more with them.
    Its too bad this one didn’t resonate more but I appreciate your review cause I hadn’t seen one yet. It does sound cute though so I may check out a few more reviews.