I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult. Even though I have yet to read every single one of her adult novels, I own all of them, so when I heard that she was writing a young adult novel, I was absolutely thrilled. Between the Lines is a modern fairy tale where the characters in a book come to life and one in particular – Prince Oliver – is desperate to escape the pages he’s confined to.
Jodi Picoult says in an interview at the back of the book that she wanted to write a younger novel in order to bridge the gap between YA and her adult novels. She hopes that a 12-year-old will pick up Between the Lines, fall in love with it, and be inspired a year later to pick up My Sister’s Keeper. I think this is exactly what this book does. I feel it is a little younger than YA – perhaps ages 9-12 as opposed to ages 12-18, so it was very different to what I expected, but if you’re whimsical enough and can still be swept away by fantasy, then you may enjoy Jodi Picoult’s new endeavour.
There were some scenes that I actually really enjoyed, although I won’t mention them here for fear of ruining the story; scenes that propelled me into the story and made me wonder what it’d be like to live in a fantasy world. I pictured Oliver’s world as very similar that in Shrek – clearly fictional but with little quirks that make it believable. It is also a novel with a contemporary meaning, Delilah is unhappy with her life as it currently is and so turns to the book as a way of escape and identification. I found it difficult to like Delilah even though I empathised with her situation, but I was pleased to see that she develops throughout the story.
Between the Lines is also a book that makes me realise just how much I love ‘pretty’ books. It’s not absolutely necessary – I still enjoy books even if I dislike the covers and I enjoy e-books even though I don’t even get to see their covers for the most part, but it can be a wonderful thing. Delilah’s copy of Between the Lines is purple and leather-bound with gold lettering, which is near enough exactly (minus the leather!) what my copy looks like after the jacket is taken off. The novel itself is also full of colourful sketches, black and white illustrations, and coloured text. It’s a book that I am glad to own; I wish all books were this beautiful!
Between the Lines is a vivid, enchanting modern fairy tale; a book that any child will want to own, treasure, and read to help them escape their own everyday worries.
Thank you Hodder & Stoughton for providing this book for review!