“Between the Lines” is well-known author Jodi Picoult’s first foray into the world of Young Adult literature. The book begins with a note from Picoult, explaining that the story was conceived by her daughter, Samantha van Leer, who immediately called her on a book tour to share her idea — the two then co-wrote the novel together over a period of two years. The final result is a story that basically reads like a fairytale within a fairytale, and though it may not include enough action to hold the attention of older teens, the book is simple enough and, well, fairytale-enough to keep young readers interested.
The story is about a girl named Delilah who happens upon a beaten-up children’s book in her school library, shoved onto a shelf where it doesn’t belong. 15-year old Delilah is so entranced by the book that she keeps it checked out of the library constantly, and reads it over and over again, nonstop — she feels a kind of kinship and understanding with the book’s main character, Prince Oliver, and grows very attached to him. Her mother quickly becomes suspicious and frustrated with her daughter’s behavior, unable to comprehend her daughter’s “obsession” with a fairytale.
But Delilah’s connection with the story runs deeper than it appears — Prince Oliver speaks to her. No exaggeration, he actually comes alive and speaks to Delilah from the pages of the beat-up children’s book. He explains to her that his storybook world doesn’t only exist when someone is reading it; rather, the characters are more like actors and actresses that are simply playing their parts when the book is open. When it closes, they go about their normal lives, trapped within the pages of the story.
Of course, talking to Prince Oliver only makes Delilah’s feelings for him stronger, and it isn’t long before she grows to love him. The two of them become determined to be together, and set off on an impossible adventure to try and free Oliver from his fairytale world so they can be together forever, in the real world.
This novel is a definite change of pace from the usual YA novels on bookstore shelves today — no paranormal romance, no mythical creatures, and very little modern technology. This book goes back to the roots of storytelling, and of old fashioned fairytales. As mentioned above, the lack of intense action may leave some readers bored; however, it also may find others impressed with the change of pace. Either way, the novel is an extremely quick read, double-spaced, and even has illustrations scattered among the pages. Some might call it refreshingly different.
“Between the Lines” by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer will be available at the Wausau Barnes & Noble, beginning on its release date of Tuesday, June 26th.