Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release: June 26, 2012
Source: Library
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.
What an interesting concept this book has.

This was the recurring thought running through my mind the entire time I was reading Between the Lines, and it was definitely my favorite part of the book. There are many novels out there about forbidden romance, but this is the first I have read in which the fact that half of the couple is a character in a book is keeping them apart. Because of their nontraditional problems, Delilah and Oliver have to be more creative than usual when devising ways to be together, and I grew progressively more interested with each of their schemes. I could not wait to find out what their next idea would be and how it would work out, which kept me constantly entertained.

Despite my enjoyment of the plot, I cannot say I liked the two worlds in which it takes place. Oliver's parallel universe is highly unbelievable, because the way its inhabitants talk does not match the time period of the historical kingdom. Oliver an his friends are perplexed by modern medicine and technology, and yet they toss around words like "zit" and phrases like "low-carb diet," which I am sure were not used in the middle ages. I was not expecting the dialogue to be truly medieval, but I would have liked to see something a bit less colloquial and contemporary. This made the historical aspect of Between the Lines very disappointing.

Delilah's world is not a very accurate portrayal of high school life either, as everything is oversimplified, especially the characters. The popular girl is Delilah's biggest enemy, the brainless jocks annoy her, she is best friends with the girl everyone else thinks is weird, and her mother is the classic overbearing type. Their personalities and relationships do not go any deeper than the stereotypes set up for stories about fifteen-year-old social outcasts, which is something I cannot stand. There is more to a teenager than his or her social status, and I wish Between the Lines would have recognized that, especially since one of its co-authors is part of this age group.

These problems were created because the authors tried a little too hard to appeal to their readers. They went unforgivably overboard with their teen-speak and moulded their characters into clich├ęs so extreme that it would be hard to find real people like them, creating settings that are completely unrealistic. However, the positive aspects of this book were created because one of the writers came up with a fabulous concept for a story. Between the Lines is a valiant effort at executing a great idea that will appeal to fans of romance and fantasy mixed with contemporary. The details did not sit right with me, but the story line is sweet, exciting, and full of first love that is fittingly perfect, and I look partially fondly upon the book just based on that.

2 comments:

  1. Great review. I also thought it was an interesting concept, but it didn't quite work for me. It was oversimplified and stereotypical, and I actually wasn't fond of its portrayal of first love (where a young girl risks everything for a guy she barely knows). Also, it seemed more appropriate for a "tween" audience, younger than those who typically read YA. [I reviewed it on September 20th on my blog if you're interested in what else I had to say about it].

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  2. Really good review. I picked it up at Walmart to read in the book section while my dad was shopping and I put it back in about 15 minutes. I thought the plot was really cute, but I couldn't get into their worlds. I had to move on to the next book beside me!

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