Saturday 28 July 2012

210. Between the Lines by Jodie Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

Between the Lines by Jodie Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
Published July 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:
Delilah hates school as much as she loves books. In fact, there's one book in particular she can't get enough of. If anyone knew how many times she has read and re-read the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially the popular kids, she'd be sent to social Siberia ... forever.To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there's a handsome (well, okay, hot) 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?

Most people will recognise the name Jodie Picoult, she is a writer of very popular adult fiction.  This is her first book written for younger readers, and she has written it with her teenage daughter.  Most readers would have, at some point, read a book where they had wished that a particular character was alive, so that they could meet them and talk to them.  This is the case for 15 year old Delilah, the book is called Between the Lines, it's a fairy tale and Delilah feels a real connection with the prince, Oliver.  Being obsessed with a fairy tale at 15 is strange enough, but when Oliver starts talking back to Delilah, that's when the strangeness really starts!

It's a great idea for a story.  The book itself is broken into parts. One is the text from the original fairy tale and there are colour illustrations that accompany that part of the story.  Then we have chapters told from Oliver's perspective (inside the book) and chapters told from Delilah's perspective (outside the book).  

Delilah first figures out there is something strange about this book, when, on page 43, the words HELP ME are carved into the rock face that Oliver is climbing, and when she at last realises that she can speak to him, she is sure she is sure she is going crazy...but no, she really can talk to a character in a book.  She learns that Oliver is not happy in the book.  When the book is closed, all of the characters stop telling the story and get on with their own lives, as soon as the book is opened, they are pulled back to their places and the story is told again.  They are like actors, playing the same parts, telling the same story day after day, and Oliver has had enough.  Now the pair just need to figure out how to get Oliver from the pages of the book and into Delilah's real world.

This is pretty much what the story is about, trying to find a way to help Oliver.  They start with spider...that doesn't work, they try a magic painting...that doesn't work, Delilah even gets pulled into the book, but that's not the solution either.  The key is, to go to the source, track down the author and see if she can help them.

In some ways this book reminded me of the movie, The Princess Bride.  It has that same feel about it, especially the Fairy Tale chapters. There's a scene where Oliver has escaped the mermaids, and has promised them he will find them men. When he finds himself on a bridge guarded by Trolls, he has to figure out which bridge to cross, with the knowledge that trolls will either always tell the truth or always lie, so he must use his wits to figure out which bridge to cross.....and his payment for crossing the bridge is to inform the trolls of some lovely young women, who will be happy to look past their troll like ways in their quest for true love.

It's funny, clever in parts and more than a little bit romantic.  Girls will love it.  When I first started reading I had it pigeon-holed as a teenage read, but now I think it has a wider audience.  Younger girls will really like the romance, and it;s innocent.  There is is a kissing book, but it goes no further than that, and with girls 10+ happily reading books like the Hunger Games where violence is a key theme, a bit of kissing should make a nice change.

So what happens to Oliver?  Does he get out of the know the answer to that...I am not telling, you will  have to read it yourself to find out!

Who will like this book: Girls age 11+
Read it if you like: fairy tale romances


  1. Would this one work as a CD??


    1. Hi Meegan,
      I think it would work really well as an audio book, especially if they used multiple narrators.

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