Book Cover
Title Between the Lines
Author Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
Cover Art ---
Illustrated By Yvonne Gilbert, Scott M. Fischer
Publisher Simon & Shuster - 2013
First Printing Simon & Shuster - 2012
Book Cover
Title Off the Page
Author Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
Cover Art Sue Blackwell
Illustrated By Yvonne Gilbert, Scott M. Fischer
Publisher Delacorte Press - 2015
First Printing Delacorte Press - 2015
Category Young Adult Fantasy
Warnings None
Main Characters Oliver, Delilah, Edgar, Jules
Main Elements Fairy tale

Click to read the summaryBetween the Lines

Click to read the summaryOff the Page

Though I'd heard of Jodi Picoult I'd never read any of her books before, including Between the Lines. And I'd highly recommend reading Between the Lines before reading Off the Page if you can. While I still really enjoyed the sequel I sometimes felt a little left out of not knowing what came before.

My favourite part was Picoult's and Van Leer's take on what it would be like to be a character inside a book. When no one is reading you could run between the pages, jumping over the margins and wandering the vast white wastelands of the title page. Everything is two dimensional, but at the same time you never really get hurt and can never really die, because everything just resets itself the next time someone opens the book. And how all the characters are actors, that what they are like while you read their scripted roles is very different from what goes on while you aren't looking.

Now not every book is perfect, and there were certain moments where I could no longer suspend my disbelief. In fantasy, there is the fantastical premise (i.e. characters in a book are alive and can interact with us), which the reader must accept and the writer must then mould into something believable. Now I could believe in the world inside the book, what I could not believe is Oliver pretending to be Edgar and successfully tricking Edgar's mother. And even more so, going to high school and taking a chemistry class and not even knowing what science is. He also aced his SAT's by making pictures of dragons with the little circles you fill in for your answers.

However the characters were complex, and interesting and presented with quite a few ethical dilemmas, for every happy ending there was a price to pay, and not everyone was to get their happy ending either. It was frustrating because you wanted everyone to end well, but even the reader has difficulty in deciding what the right thing to do is.

The book comes with some lovely illustrations, both coloured and black and white. And I must admit I can't recall another book where each character's POV was represented in a different font colour! It was little touches like that which gave the feel of a childhood fairy tale, while still being a young adult novel which can be enjoyed by anyone of any age.

And this is pretty hilarious - Prince Oliver's Adventures in the Real World. If you think the video is cute, I'm sure you'll enjoy the book.

July 2015
I couldn't wait to know how the story started, so I went out and bought Between the Lines. Again, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I read the two books in the right order, I had certain expectations of what I would find in this book based on what I read in the second, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it!

Once again, I love the illustrations, goes perfectly with the idea of children's fairytale that comes to life, and the fact the text for different speakers is in different colours. You might think reading in purple is hard on the eyes, but the font is large and clear. Overall its a lovely package (well, I kinda hate the cover, it could have been so much more).

I liked how not only does it jump between characters point of views, but the fairy tale in which Oliver lives is also interspersed (the second book kind of assumes you know the story), so you kind of get to read the original book while you're at it without it being dumped on you in the first few chapters in one chunk, at least enough of it to get the gist of the storyline.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed these, they were light, fun, cute, no annoying love triangles (well...sorta, but not really), the boy is neither bad nor a jerk, the girl isn't a helpless idiot nor obsessed about not being good enough for him, and its a lovely journey into all our childhood fantasies, about whether characters in a book can come to life, and can you fall in love with someone who is literaly (and literary) two dimensional!

Posted: April 2015


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