(Fairy Tales Meets Reality in): Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult, Samantha van Leer
Series: Between the Lines #1
on 2014
Pages: 368
What happens when happily ever after ... isn't?..Delilah hates school as much as she loves books. In fact, there's one book in particular she can't get enough of. If anyone knew how many times she has read and re-read the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially the popular kids, she'd be sent to social Siberia ... forever...To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there's a handsome (well, okay, hot) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there's something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they're from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?..Together with her daughter Samantha van Leer, #1 'New York Times' bestselling author Jodi Picoult has written a classic fairy tale with a uniquely modern twist.

I’ve been a fan of Jodi Picoult for many years and I was excited to see she was delving into the world of young adult – and with her daughter as her co-writer! Between the Lines is a fun story which asks the question: What happens to story characters when their book isn’t being read?

Oliver is a fairytale prince. Generations of readers have watched on as he slayed dragons, saved princesses and defeated evil villains. Delilah, a girl in the real world, loved to read about Oliver and his life within the pages of his storybook. Living vicariously through him is the perfect escape from her world. And no matter how many times she’s read his book, she finds comfort in the familiarity. Until one day the story isn’t the same as the previous hundreds of times she’s read it – things within the pages are changing.

Between the Lines is a story of two teenagers wanting a different life. Oliver and Delilah are great characters in this twist on a fairy tale. The authors manage to incorporate a modern take whilst maintaining the essence of a traditional story. The mixture of contemporary with fantasy was handled really well throughout the novel and I loved the illustrations which popped up across the story. The idea of the characters within a book having hobbies, opinions, romantic entanglements and other unique personality quirks which readers don’t see is both fun and interesting. This take on characters being actors in their stories was original and not a concept I’ve read before.

Oliver and Delilah contrasted each other brilliantly and their relationship developed nicely from the beginning of the novel until the final page.  They brought out the best in each other and I found myself looking forward to the inventive ways they would try to be in the same world together. The secondary characters were entertaining and interesting in their own ways. Rapscullio (which is a great name for a villain), Jules, Delilah’s mother and the others each helped bring more dimension to Oliver and Delilah’s lives and I enjoyed reading about them. The plot is intriguing and suitably fairytalesque – this is a book I’d be comfortable recommending to middle graders yet there is enough happening to keep older readers engaged.

Between the Lines is a sweet novel suitable for readers of all ages. Fantasy and contemporary come together in a great mix to deliver a story about wanting to escape and finding a place to belong.


Many thanks to Allen and Unwin for the review copy. 


  1. Glad to see you liked this one too Kate! I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, but the almost whimsical feel and mix of fantasy and reality was something that I really liked. It’s great that it suits a really wide age range as well which makes it accessible. Fantastic review 🙂

  2. Hi Kate! Found you through the aussie group on bookblogging.net. Nice to meet you (: I’ve been meaning to read Jodi Picoult for a while now but just haven’t gotten around to it (typical super long TBR), this definitely put it up a few notches on my TBR list though! Love the fact fantasy is blended into it, would be a nice transition into reading contemporary as I haven’t found one I really enjoy yet. Do you have any other contemporaries you’d recommend? I’ve found it hard to find a really page-turning book in this genre.

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