Customer Reviews: Between the Lines
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on June 26, 2012
As I long-time fan of Jodi Picoult, I've been watching her career very closely. It's been interesting to watch her change over time, to see her plots evolve and her create a unique formula all her own (something of a female-focused legal plot packed with deep family conflicts and laced with commentary on modern issues and literary elements) and then watch her deviate from that. I was particularly intrigued when Picoult announced that she was working on a YA/MG novel with her daughter. I wasn't sure what to think -could it be really good, or would Picoult be able to translate into the YA world?

Between the Lines is a unique take on the concept of happily ever after. In this world, fairy tales are more than what they seem. Young Delilah is something of a loner, who would rather stick her nose in a book than in anyone else's business. One day she comes across a strange book called Between the Lines, a seemingly stereotypical fairy tale that holds a strange secret of its own. The characters are real people, and when prince charming himself starts speaking to Delilah, she finds that's he's anything but the traditional fairy tale prince. He yearns for more -he yearns for freedom and real love. And it's up to Delilah to free him.

Picoult and Van Leer offer a unique and more in-depth dissection of the traditional fairy tale than anything else I've ever read. The struggles here felt real, honest and most importantly -not easy (like they would be in a traditional fairy tale). I also enjoyed how Picoult wove her trademark multi-character viewpoint style into Between the Lines. Not only do we jump between various characters, we are even treated to actual excerpts from the fairy tale book in the story, and it offers interesting insight into the characters and weaves incredibly well into the overarching plot.

As expected from Picoult, Between the Lines is well-written and solidly plotted, but something about the writing just seemed...simpler here than anything else I've ever read by her. The writing wasn't as complex, the characters weren't as multi-faceted, the plot was a little more linear and not so twisty -perhaps this is just the result of moving in the YA genre, but it was a little jarring for a long-time Picoult reader. Regardless, it worked well for the subject matter.

Between the Lines is a unique and unexpected entry into the YA genre, and a solid debut for Picoult. Not at all disappointing for long-time Picoult fans, but definitely for teens.
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on July 21, 2012
When I first saw this book pop up for pre-order in the Nook book store, I practically jumped up and down. A young adult novel by the woman who wrote Plain Truth, My Sister's Keeper, and Keeping Faith?! Hell yeah I want to read that! My name was on that pre-order list so fast I'm sure I had to be one of the first.

But this has to be said - for Picoult fans - this is absolutely not the insightful, deep story telling that you can normally expect from Jodi. In fact, nothing at all in this story would remind you even a little bit of Ms. Picoult's writing. It pains me to say it, but I fear that her name was put on the cover so prominently so as to help her daughter's novel push through to the shelves easier.

But I wasn't done yet - I decided that even though it wasn't truly a Picoult novel, I would still give it a fair shot.

I'd give this one a weak 3 stars. Don't get me wrong, I adore young adult novels, and can get caught up in an angst ridden relationship just as easily as the next girl, but Delilah and Oliver's relationship just doesn't ring authentic at all in this story. After only a few short conversations that consist mainly of Oliver watching Delilah read the book - he declares himself completely and utterly in love with her and ready to be wed. And Delilah's fall for him seems just as compulsory and shallow. It seems she only falls in love with Oliver because they both grew up without a father. But even then, Oliver reveals that it was just how he was 'written' in the book, not truly his childhood that she had been relating to. The narrative alternates between Oliver, Delilah, and randomly - the fairy tale itself. I admit, about halfway through, I just starting skipping the parts that were supposed to be part of the fairy tale as they seemed to serve no actual purpose. It'd be one thing if they were being used as a device to let the reader get to know Oliver better - but Oliver spends the entire book complaining about how his 'character' in the fairy tale has absolutely nothing to do with the real him.

I was really bummed that this story didn't pull me in as I had hoped, because the concept actually did seem incredibly interesting. It's that sort of story that could have been so amazing, but it read a little too forced and a lot too skin-deep and predictable.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon July 5, 2012
Between The Lines was a surprisingly sweet and delightful read, and not at all what I initially thought it would be. I suppose I should start by saying that this was my first book by Jodi Picoult, but, although I haven't read any of her previous novels, I had a pretty good idea what they were about (who doesn't?). While it was obvious to me that Between The Lines was not going to be yet another melancholic, harrowing, and profoundly meaningful read (in other words: not the usual Jodi Picoult's type of book), I did expect it to be a slightly lighter contemporary romance/drama aimed at the Young Adult audience. Needless to say, I was wrong. Oh, so wrong! Not only is the book more of a romantic fantasy than a contemporary novel, it also reads more like a MG than a typical YA. Filled with gorgeous illustrations, adorable characters, wonderful settings and breath-taking adventures, it is a book that is just as entertaining as it is innovative, and one that has something for everyone on the age spectrum.

Between The Lines is a magical and beautifully written tale about true love, following your dreams, the power of imagination, and finding your own happily-ever-after. It's a wonderful story, and one with a beating heart. To someone like me, who grew up reading fairy tales and watching Neverending Story (over and over again), reading this book was a fantastic, uplifting experience. I enjoyed everything about it, from the imaginative premise, interesting characters and sparkly dialogues to the colorful illustrations. It's not a demanding read, you won't be biting your nails in anticipation of what happens next, nor will you come out of reading it with a tear-streaked face and a whole lot of emotional trauma. No, you're more likely to giggle, sigh in amazement, and clap in excitement. At the same time, though, the authors offer the reader something to think about, too, as they don't shy away from more serious issues, such as abandonment, growing up with only one parent, fear of rejection, and social awkwardness. And they tackle them in the most graceful and subtle way. Ultimately, the real magic of this book lies in the ingenious concept and its magnificent, breath-taking execution. Jodi and Samantha ask many great questions: what do characters do when no one is reading the book? What happens to them? Do they have their own, somewhat more real lives outside the story? And what if the characters are tired of playing the same old scenario over and over again? What if they want out? What happens then? I thought the concept was downright brilliant and I had a whole lot of fun following Oliver's adventures as he was trying desperately to escape the imaginary world of Between The Lines (yes, the book in the story has the exact same title). It was very entertaining!

I liked the characters a lot. Both Oliver and Delilah were likeable, cute, and quite convincing. While I didn't think that the characters were exceptionally fleshed-out, I also didn't think them necessary to be. After all, it's more of a fairy-tale than a typical boy-meets-girl contemporary novel, and definitely a plot rather than character driven one. I liked how Jodi and Samantha handled the dynamics between the protagonists, their dialogues were funny and seemed real - as real as a dialogue between a girl and a character from a book can be, that is. However, as much as I enjoyed the adventure part of their story, I can't say that I felt the chemistry between them. And that's one of the reasons why this book felt more middle grade than young adult to me. The world building was rich and exquisite, and I absolutely loved all the fantasy elements, but at the same time, I thought that the romance part was a little bit lacking. Maybe it's the whole concept of a girl falling in love with a character from a children's book that I had a problem with, or maybe it's just the fact that the story focused mainly on getting Oliver out of the fairy-tale novel he was stuck in, and not on the young couple's feelings - I don't know. All I know is that I wanted a little bit more sexual tension between these two, because to me they acted more like really good friends than teenagers in love.

That's not to say that I didn't love the book, because I did. I absolutely and utterly loved it. It was fresh, sweet, funny, and just so deliciously readable. I loved exploring the imaginary world from Oliver's book, but I also liked reading about the world Delilah lived in. Like I said before, I liked both Oliver and Delilah, but these two were not the only memorable characters. I loved some of the side-kicks, too, especially Delilah's best friend, Jules. She was hilarious! And Oliver's side-kick, Frump, was too. And while they didn't play essential roles in the story, their presence added a lot of flavor to it.

All in all, Between The Lines is a brilliant work of fiction with a provocative and engaging theme: life is but a story and the happy ending we get (and whether we'll get it at all) is entirely up to us. Nothing is set in stone. We hold the power to shape our future, all it takes is just a little bit of faith and persistence. To me, Between the Lines is a book with a timeless appeal, and one that I will be re-reading time and time again.
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on February 14, 2016
This book had such an amazing concept, and was very funny, silly, cute, and fluffy.
Between the Lines was not a deep and dark book, it instead was cheerful and adorable. This is perfect as a quick summer read.
The characters were all well developed, although I do admit the relationship between Oliver and Delilah was a little quick and was not very believable at first. Fortunately, as the novel continued, I found myself loving them together.
This book was very funny but in a silly kind of way, for example, the fairy tale itself was rather silly and weird. There were several moments outside of the fairy tale that did have me laughing (I seriously loved the mermaids, they were great).
If you are looking for a thought provoking novel, this may not be it, but it is still fun and enjoyable. I recommend giving it a try, especially because it only gets better in Off The Page, its companion novel.
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on September 9, 2014
Jodi Picoult’s Between the Lines got hooked from the opening chapter. It is interesting to be able to relate to, and sympathize with the characters so easily. And the great dialogue and narratives. I like the pattern. Brings to mind the pattern in Janvier Chando’s Splendid Comets. Jodi Picoult's writing style shone here. The characters are imposing and portray unique angles.It is a truly universal story.
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on June 26, 2012
I've always loved reading Jodi Picoult books, I've only read 3-4 of her adult novels but all of them captivated me in a way thats hard to compare too. Her books always tug at your heartstrings, make you question your feelings regarding certain issues, and really make you think, which good novels should make you do (in my opinon). When I heard she was coming out with her first YA novel paired with her daughter I knew right away I wanted to read it.

This book is unlike any of her other novels, in fact I honestly couldn't tell from the writing style that it was even Jodi Picoult, and if I didn't know who wrote the book, I never in a million years would have guessed that she was the author. That being said, the writing was PHENOMENAL, just not typical Picoult that's all. This was a modern day fairy tale. It flipped between the fairy tale, a character in the fairy tale; Oliver, and The girl reading the book; Delilah. I liked how it flipped between the three different perspectives, and the illustrations in the book (althought I read the ARC and the artwork was not final) was stunning. I loved the illustrations that clung to the words in the beginning of the book, I felt it added to the book in a way that was unique and fun.

This book was magical, fun, and I think any book lover will truly enjoy the concept of this book, we all know we've "fallen" for a fictional character before and maybe not to this extreme but its fun to imagine the possibilites of having a magical book that truly comes to life when you open the pages. I truly hope that Jodi Picoult partners on more YA books with her daughter because it certainly was a magical duo.
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on July 25, 2015
A totally delightful book that everyone needs to read. The twists and turns were really good. I also like how that the relationship between Prince Oliver and Delilah develops in this story. I also really enjoyed the way that Delilah and Oliver each have their own lives within their given spheres.

Delilah seems like your typical teenage girl who happens to love a certain fairytale. Yet when she reads the fairy tale, she notices that certain things are changing within the fairy tale. Oliver and the other characters are very different within the fairy tale itself. They have the roles that they play within the fairy tale, but have lives and are very different within the fairytale. We also learn that Delilah and Oliver can communicate with each other. At first Delilah think she is losing her mind, but finds that Oliver wants to get out of the book. So Delilah and Oliver try to find different ideas, none of them working out very well.

One of the things that I liked was the fact that they had incorporated some of the other things that teenagers go through with their parents. I really liked the relationship between Delilah and her mother. Oliver’s relationship with his fairy tale mother. Plus even the relationship between Edgar and his mother, who happened to be the one who wrote Between The Lines, title of the fairytale. I really enjoyed it a lot.

The other thing that I loved about this book was the illustrations. The illustrations were absolutely beautiful. I felt that as we were reading the fairy tale part of Between The Lines the art really represented some of the good parts of what you love about fairy tales when you were young. The illustrator of this book really did a good job. I totally enjoyed the illustrations as they made the book a much richer experience for me as a reader.

Also when Delilah meets Edgar and his mother, it comes as a very different experience for her. She finds that Edgar was the model for Prince Oliver. So Delilah after spending some time with Edgar tells him of what has been going on. Edgar comes up with a very inventive idea. Since they can’t change the story, how about they write a new story. This idea seems to work and Edgar is now in the new story and Oliver is now in Edgar’s place. I also like how everybody seem to get their happily ever after.

I totally loved this book and the characters. Plus the illustrations really made this book special to me.

4.5 Hearts
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on November 3, 2014
Just so you know, when they say "Once upon a time"... they're lying.

Between The Lines is every reader's dream, in my opinion, because who hasn't wished for their favorite book characters coming to life? I know I have with several books and that's why this is a really great book that I'm sure a lot of people will love as well.

To say this book is unique is putting it lightly. It's a contemporary young adult book but it also has fantasy elements, which I loved. There were two points of view: Delilah and Oliver's, but it also focuses on pages that are part of the book, Between The Lines, that Oliver is a part of. So yes, this book is pretty remarkable in that way.

I just really love the concept of this story. Oliver, a fictional prince stuck to repeat the same fairy tale over and over again and Delilah, a reader that loves said fairy tale and as it turns out the only one who can actually hear Oliver. And together they're trying to find a way to get Oliver out of the book.

The trouble Oliver and Delilah go through to try and get him out of the book was huge to say the least. Everything they tried failed each and every time. But I loved how they didn't want to give up now that they had found each other. The story wasn't perfect or anything because it's not like it's the best book I have ever written but it was a sweet story, cute, romantic with fairy tale elements. I just love books like that from time to time.

Overall, Between The Lines was a pretty great story that I know will speak to any reader. In the end all the pieces fitted and everyone got their happy ending, just like I hoped they would.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon April 28, 2015
I've been a longtime fan of Jodi Picoult's and every year I anxiously await her newest novel. When I heard about this novel written by her and her daughter, I knew immediately that I would read it. This is just a warning to potential readers: if you are expecting the traditional storylines that Jodi Picoult writes, you won't find it in this book. Instead, this novel is a unique take on a fairy tale that comes to life. It was so creative and fun to read! I enjoyed reading about Delilah and her interactions with Prince Oliver. How many times do some of us fall in love with the character in a book? What would happen if one of those characters wanted to talk back with us? I highly recommend this novel to anyone, Jodi Picoult fan or not, who is interested in a twist to the traditional fairy tale. I am looking forward to the next book by Picoult and Van Leer.
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on May 28, 2014
Between the lines is a story written by Picoult and her daughter Samantha who I must admit shows wonderful writing talent if this book is an example of her imagination and ideas. The book explores the world of Delilah a young fifteen year old girl who finds herself in a high school where she is not in the 'popular' crowd and where she finds escaping into the world of fiction is a good way to escape the sometimes painful reality of her young adolescent life.

Delilah finds herself entranced by a fairytale involving a young prince named Oliver, and it becomes a favorite as she reads it over and over, and to her surprise the young prince takes on a life all his own, and they will embark on a journey of life, love, and discovering that the reader of a book may not be the only one trying to escape their lives, although for Oliver (the young prince and main character in the book) the last thing he wants is to have his life read over again; in fact he'd like nothing more than for Delilah to be able to help him find a way to be able to escape this particular book for good.

As the reader follows these two young people get to know each other, you read the book Between the Lines while following Delilah and Oliver's story; this book was very original. I quite literally could not put it down and would recommend it to anyone who likes Picoult's books; this one is a little different than usual and quite honestly I loved it (and its illustrations); and the idea that Picoult wrote it in collaboration with her daughter. Great characters, scenery, and plot
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