Monday, June 25, 2012
ARC Review: "Between the Lines" by Samantha van Leer and Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Simon Pulse
From Goodreads: "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."
I must admit that I really quite enjoyed this book, despite feeling conflicted by a number of different things. I think that I enjoyed it so much was because of outside factors influencing my opinion of it (after having read a number of heavy dystopians it was nice to read a lighter/ fluffier read).
One of the things that I can't help but wonder is whether this book would have been published had her mother not been world-renown author Jodi Picoult/ had her name attached to it. Overall I found everything about this book to be quite young and juvenile (I would personally recommend this book more so to MG readers than YA readers)- from the writing, to the characters themselves, to the clipart circa 1995 graphics contained within it (though I do believe the hand-drawn illustrations were beautiful and brought something to the book).
From a writing standpoint I have read numerous breathtaking written books by young authors (ie. authors under the age of 20) and I am afraid that this is not one of them (as mentioned, I found the language to be too juvenile and everything, from the plot to the characters, was quite underdeveloped or too melodramatic). But from the story itself standpoint I do think that it is an interesting concept- I think that all of us have at one point or another wondered what our favourite characters do when we close the book or how they would be in real life (not unlike how we fantasize what it would be like to be locked in a store/ mall without any adult supervision a la Emmy Laybourne's "Momument 14" or what our toys do when we go to bed a la "Toy Story"), so I found it nice that someone actually gave those fantasies of ours a voice.
All in all, despite my complaints I do think that Samantha Van Leer should be commended for penning a novel at such a young age, it is an arduous task that few her age (or heck, people even a decade or more older than her) would be able to accomplish. I am very curious to see whether she continues to pursue a writing career in the future.
I received this book from the publisher to read and review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.