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Off the Page Hardcover – May 19, 2015
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Frequently bought together
From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Picoult and van Leer dive back into the realm of fairy tales coming true in this companion to Between the Lines (Delacorte, 2012). Storybook prince turned real-life boyfriend, Oliver, has started high school with his true love, Delilah. Despite a few social mishaps, Oliver (being referred to as Edgar, whose place he had to take in order to escape the pages of the book) finds himself on the fast track to popularity, much to Delilah's chagrin. The two have just started to work through their new problems, when they discover something is wrong in the book from which Oliver originated. The story seems to be rewriting itself and the real Edgar (who took Oliver's place in the story) doesn't know how to lead the other characters. Soon, bigger problems arise, with more real-life beings and storybook characters switching places unintentionally, and the book's author, Edgar's mom, Jessamyn, falling ill. Is happily ever after a dream still out of reach? Readers need to have read the first title in order to follow the plot and they will easily find themselves pulled back into the world of Oliver, Delilah, and Edgar. Strong narrative voices keep the alternating chapters from becoming confusing, and the cultural references are spot-on, although they may cause the book to feel dated in a short time. VERDICT A fun, fairy-tale romance for teens who believe in happily ever after. Recommended.—Heather Webb, Worthington Libraries, OH
PRAISE FOR OFF THE PAGE:
“A fun, fairy-tale romance for teens who believe in happily ever after.”—SLJ
“Fairy-tale sweet.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A lovely fairy tale emphasizing the importance of family and creativity.”—Booklist
PRAISE FOR BETWEEN THE LINES:
“An exploration of the nature of escapism that asks whether reality is any more real than make-believe, Between the Lines will delight readers of all ages whose imaginations willfully blur that distinction.”—Los Angeles Times
“Between the Lines is a romance between a girl and a boy, but even more, it’s a love letter to the visceral bond between a reader and a musty, beloved book. . . . The fictional Between the Lines is funny and unexpected . . . and it’s fascinating to watch the authors address the problem of what it would be like to live not just in a story, but in a physical book.”—The Washington Post
“What wasn’t to love about the exciting, imaginative story of Delilah, a high school student, and the fairy-tale prince she fell in love with, Oliver?”—Bustle.com
PRAISE FOR #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR JODI PICOULT:
“Jodi Picoult turns tough topics into bestsellers.”—NPR.org
“Blockbuster novelist.”—Boston Globe
“Cultishly successful writer.”—The Washington Post
Top customer reviews
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It was good, but I liked the first one better. It became a little "too real" sometimes, so obviously it wasn't a fairytale anymore. I do like the premise, however, I still liked it after all, and Oliver is dreamy (he's, literally, a guy from a book, so how he will not be awesome?). I liked the friendship between Delilah and Jules too [SPOILER ALERT so sad both can't have their HEA with Oliver and Edgar. The last choice by Edgar, clever but a little sad too...]
Great quotes and amazing drawings (I think I really truly love illustrated books!)
"A wish is just words. Belief is the catalyst. It's what sets that wish into motion. When two people want the same exact thing and that wish is caught between them, there's nothing more powerful,"
"Then why don't wishes come true every day?" [...]
"This world isn't filled with magic. Why do you think so many people escape through fiction?"
"But I didn't get to say goodbye."
"That's the thing about death. You hardly ever do. The fact that you don't get to say goodbye is what makes it feel so unreal. That's why it's so hard to wrap your head around. You feel like if someone's going to leave forever, there should be a last hug or kiss, right?"
I would seriously recommend this book to everyone. It is one of the most captivating and inspiring books I've ever had the pleasure of reading. You would do yourself an injustice to let this baby pass you by.
(This review contains significant spoilers for the preceding book, and moderate ones for this one.)
As the description says, this is the sequel to the story about a girl who falls in love with a prince who is a character in a book, yet somehow alive. Her discovery of this and the "falling in love" part was mostly dealt with in the first book (Between the Lines), which I think was better than this was, but still not that great. We know that Prince Oliver (and all the other characters in said book) were "alive" in the sense that they can think and communicate, but they don't have blood and they can't leave the book, a source of much frustration to Delilah, who obviously wants to be with Oliver. As the reader, we aren't told too much about the physics of this: Since the author of the book Prince Oliver comes out of doesn't seem to know that Oliver is actually alive, so how did he get that way? How is Prince Oliver allowed to "trick" the book in order to escape, but then it wants him back? It's almost as if the book is sentient, too. None of this is ever explained, and aside from some of the more major Deus ex Machinas that save the plot from going nowhere, it's almost possible to put it on the back burner.
Some other reviewers have commented about the scenes between Oliver and Delilah as being "nauseating", but aside from some cliches, they're pretty decent.
The main part I take issue with is that the majority of the trouble Prince Oliver has in fitting into high school is about the relationships, and not about the coursework. He just arrived on Earth out of a fairy-tale kingdom and picks up how to use computers and graphing calculators in a few months? He doesn't have any more trouble in chemistry than Delilah? He gets a perfect score of 2400 on the SAT?! I get A grades for the most part, but I had to take the SAT four times to get a score I thought was pretty good. There's no indication Oliver had so much as an algebra class in the fairytale kingdom he's from. The only part of Oliver's interactions at school that makes sense is him being a wizard at acting Shakespeare – which I commend the authors for writing in. Very clever.
I'll refrain from spoiling too much, but it doesn't get better from there, sadly. Some more of the characters from the book comes out into the real world, and one of them dies, the fairytale physics of which are never explained (since nobody can die inside the book, and the fairytale characters that come out of the book don't have human blood). The book continues to fall to pieces and attempts to persuade Oliver to go back into it. The sequence of events that happens after this makes very little sense, includes a love triangle, and results in the author of the book Prince Oliver is from cheating death (from disease) by going into the book to live... forever? That's not explained either. Oh, and Edgar (Oliver's lookalike from Earth, the author's son) decides to go with her, sacrificing his love life (eternally!) so that Oliver and Delilah can have theirs (temporarily!). Which essentially alienates most teenage boys reading the book, as Edgar is the one they probably relate to the best.
Perhaps if the fairytale physics of this were explained better, I might like this book more. But they aren't, so instead, I finished the book quite frustrated. Yes, true love requires sacrifice. But doesn't it require sacrifice *on the part of the people in love*? Why is Edgar so willing to sacrifice his love life for Oliver and Delilah? If the authors were trying to make a point about sacrifice, why is it that they allow Edgar's mother to escape death by entering the fairytale world? None of this was explained, and I'm not sure there even is a good explanation possible. So as it is, it's not exactly possible to like this book.
Plot twists are good, and the teen drama is kept "normal" in a fantasy-real world tale. Read it together and you might see places to talk about misunderstandings in relationships, and other real world issues. I don't see any harm in it just as a gift, but I do think it's best read together... if only to make the point that adults do "get it" about how it feels falling in love with all the hurt and drama no one "understands"... in part because they are being shut out of the full story... and the ways we can talk ourselves into distressed what-if over nothing - and risk damaging or destroying relationships we value.
A good book, and good to share.
I still would like the read the short story Samantha wrote in the second grade!!