Fifteen year old Delilah fits the bill of a bookish loner pretty well. She spends most of her time reading, and lately, it’s been the same book, over and over. Between the Lines is a fairy tale meant for much younger readers, but Delilah feels a connection to it and its protagonist and hero, Prince Oliver. One day, Prince Oliver actually speaks to her, and Delilah’s world is forever changed. How can the two have any sort of real relationship when one of them lives in the real world and the other lives in a book?
Much has been made about the fact that this is Jodi Picoult’s first foray into young adult fiction (despite the fact that her novels have crossover appeal for teens), and that she collaborated with her teenage daughter on this book. The result of this collaboration is a mostly fun metafiction offering a twist on the traditional teen romance.
This is definitely a novel meant for younger readers, as the story offers the lightest of light romances to its readers. While there are certainly older teens who will enjoy the novel’s central romance, it’s going to work best for a younger audience who like their love stories without any messy emotional complications or complexities. There’s plenty of lightly silly humor to be found in this book’s pages, too, which makes the whole thing feel rather young.
Despite all that, there are still three different narrative threads found throughout the book. Although each of these threads is presented in different fonts and colors, this is not a book that lends itself to a reader who is likely to put it down for large chunks of time. The book is incredibly plot-heavy, which might deter some readers. However, large font and more than a smattering of fairy-tale illustrations help break up the text.
While certainly not offensive in any way, it wasn’t particularly remarkable for this reader, either. It’ll find an audience because of its topic, tone, and author, but it’s largely forgettable. Recommended to readers looking for light fairy-tale romance.
Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer. Simon Pulse: 2012. Library copy.