Between the Lines

( 179 )

Overview

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult and her teenage daughter present their first-ever novel for teens, filled with romance, adventure, and humor.

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, ...

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Between the Lines

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Overview

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult and her teenage daughter present their first-ever novel for teens, filled with romance, adventure, and humor.

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

"Just so you know. When they say, 'Once upon a time,' they're lying." There is a boy in Delilah's life. Unfortunately for this winning young bookworm, this young heart throb is a character in a fairytale. Then one day, the seemingly impossible happens: Prince Oliver contact his most fervent admirer, hoping to transcend his literary existence. That decision and Delilah's response catapults both into a series of unforgettable adventures. This romantic fantasy by adult novelist Jodi Picoult (Sing You Home; House Rules) and Samantha van Leer. (P.S. Picoult might be a new name to some readers, but her credentials are flawless: To date, more than fourteen million copies of her books are in print. Editor's recommendation.

Publishers Weekly
Prolific and bestselling author Picoult teams up with her teenage daughter to pen a clever YA romance about the magical relationship between a loner and her fictional “Prince Charming.” Imagine 15-year-old Delilah McPhee’s surprise when she starts to have a conversation with Prince Oliver, the hero of a fairy tale she adores. From Oliver she learns that characters in a story lead very different lives when a book is shut—in Oliver’s “reality,” the story’s villain is actually a butterfly aficionado, and Oliver has no interest in his betrothed, Seraphima. Elements from Picoult’s other novels—alternating character viewpoints with distinguishing fonts, snappy chapter endings—are present, and the story is peppered with pop culture references to The Hunger Games, the Kindle Fire, and the X-Men, as well as comic relief in the form of characters like a talking horse that thinks it has a weight problem. The reason given for Delilah’s obsession with the fairy tale—like her, Oliver grew up without a father—is weak, but that’s unlikely to trouble readers who will be swept up by the romantic premise. Ages 12–up. Agent: Laura Gross, Laura Gross Literary Agency. (June)
From the Publisher
"A compulsively readable charmer. The teen dialogue and interior monologues feel authentic, while Picoult’s practiced hand balances humor with larger issues such as abandonment, hope, and existential quandaries related to fate and human nature. Both silhouette and pencil drawings abound; characters climb in and around the text to excellent effect. Younger readers and their parents will appreciate the gentle, wholesome romance, with nary a shred of paranormal action. The tender, positive tone and effective pacing that builds to a satisfying finish will inspire readers to pass the book to a friend—or reread it themselves." —Booklist

"A clever YA romance about the magical relationship between a loner and her fictional “Prince Charming.” Elements from Picoult’s other novels—alternating character viewpoints with distinguishing fonts, snappy chapter endings—are present, and the story is peppered with pop culture references to The Hunger Games, the Kindle Fire, and the X-Men, as well as comic relief in the form of characters like a talking horse that thinks it has a weight problem. Readers...will be swept up by the romantic premise." —Publishers Weekly

"Picoult and her coauthor daughter deliver an enjoyable, metafictive twist on the traditional teen-romance novel.... Book lovers in particular are likely to get a kick out of the blurring of the lines between character and reader, fact and fiction.... Fizzy fairy-tale fun." —Kirkus Reviews

"Picoult and her daughter, Van Leer, have created a multilayered universe where what is real is in the eye of the beholder." —VOYA

"Engagingly written...a fun romp that fans of both fairy tales and teen romance will enjoy." —Shelf Awareness for Readers

“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

“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

"An exceedingly clever concept that would be challenging to pull off, if not for the deep understanding of character, plot and pacing provided by Picoult... Conceptually, "Between the Lines" is reminiscent of the "Toy Story" movies... 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

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times

VOYA - Barbara Allen
Fairy tales are just that: tales. But the characters in Between The Lines have their own lives when the book is closed. Oliver longs to escape his prescribed existence in the book, and Delilah is obsessed with Oliver's book. She reads it constantly because she feels a connection with Oliver since he too grew up without his father. One day Oliver realizes that Delilah can hear him, and they strike up a friendship. The two long to find a way for Oliver to leave the book. The first attempts backfire when only words will leave the book and every time the book is shut everything starts back at square one. Delilah's mother begins to think something is wrong because Delilah will not stop reading this fairy tale and is talking to the book. In a last-ditch effort, Delilah travels to the author's house to see if she can find a way to safely remove Oliver from the book. Picoult and her daughter, Van Leer, have created a multilayered universe where what is real is in the eye of the beholder. All at once, the reader is in the fairy tale, in the world of the book when it is closed, and outside the book. Delilah and Oliver allow the reader to suspend their realities and hope that Oliver finds a way to live outside his predestined world and be with the girl of his dreams. Reviewer: Barbara Allen
Kirkus Reviews
In her first foray into teen fiction, Picoult and her co-author daughter deliver an enjoyable, metafictive twist on the traditional teen-romance novel. Delilah is a 15-year-old, self-professed loner who would rather have her head buried in a book than gossip about boys or play fashion police in the halls between classes. But it's not just any book that Delilah wants to lose herself in; it's an obscure fairy tale called Between the Lines with a dashing young prince who literally comes to life before her very eyes. Prince Oliver is equally captivated with Delilah, and the two embark on a quest to find a way and a world in which they can finally be together. Told from Delilah and Oliver's alternating points of view, this take on the traditional star-crossed-lovers tale will make for a light read for those preteens and early teens who aren't looking for more mature, emotionally complex love stories. Book lovers in particular are likely to get a kick out of the blurring of the lines between character and reader, fact and fiction. Periodic illustrations from the fairy tale Between the Lines function well as reminders of Oliver's fictive "reality," but others, too closely resembling clip art, are distracting and out of place. Fizzy fairy-tale fun. (Fantasy. 9-13)
Children's Literature - Natalie Gurr
Fifteen-year old Delilah hates school, but she loves reading. Lately, a children's fairytale is taking up most of her time. Her mom is starting to get worried and if the popular kids found out they'd slaughter her, but this little fairytale is more than a just a book to Delilah. When Delilah reads it, she feels that something deeper is going on and then, one day, something happens. Delilah hears a tiny voice calling from inside the story. Turns out, the handsome Prince Oliver, star of the fairytale, is real and he's ready to get out. While life inside the story is great, Oliver has always longed for something more, a different adventure. Delilah is the first person to hear his pleas. Together, Oliver and Delilah look for a way to free Oliver from his folio prison. Delilah was looking for a way to change her life, and Oliver might be the answer. But, even if Oliver does get out, how can two teenagers from different worlds possibly make it work? Well known-author, Jodi Picoult, has teamed with her daughter to write a delightful story. Part fairytale and part realism, the story is a fun read for girls who have always wished for their dreams to come true. Reviewer: Natalie Gurr
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Fifteen-year-old Delilah likes nothing better than to escape into a book when high school life gets too depressing. But after the hero of her favorite fairy tale comes to life before her eyes, she starts to wonder if she's been spending too much time with books and not enough time with real people. Oliver, a 16-year-old prince, feels trapped in his story, reliving the same scenes over and over. He longs to leave his book, and he is attracted to Delilah, the reader he sees most often hovering above the pages. Delilah and Oliver may be from two different worlds, but they have an emotional connection. Will it be strong enough to bridge the gap that separates fantasy and reality? Written in collaboration with her teenage daughter, this light novel is a departure from Picoult's usual milieu. The story shifts between Delilah's and Oliver's perspectives and is interspersed with sections from the fairy tale in which Oliver is trapped. Full-color and black-and-white illustrations decorate some pages. While the writing style is polished and the pacing is good, the characters lack depth and the ending falls flat. On the whole, this book is a fluffy, fun read for younger teens, but one that lacks emotional punch.—Misti Tidman, Boyd County Public Library, Ashland, KY
The Barnes & Noble Review
The first young adult novel by Jodi Picoult -- whose number of bestselling novels (nineteen) is greater than the number of years her co-author, daughter Samantha Van Leer, has been alive (sixteen) -- is a modern fairy tale with a high-concept twist: "What if the characters in a book had lives of their own after the cover was closed? What if the act of reading was just these characters performing a play, over and over...but these characters had dreams, hopes, wishes and aspirations beyond the roles they acted out on a daily basis for the reader? And what if one those characters desperately wanted to get out of his book? Better yet, what if one of his readers fell in love with him and decided to help?"

According to Picoult's introduction, the premise of the novel came from her then-twelve-year-old daughter, who pitched Picoult while on book tour. The idea that one might interact with one's imaginary friends has been a recurring theme in children's literature, from The Velveteen Rabbit (what if your stuffed animals came to life?) to The Neverending Story, but any child of the 1980s who has ever seen animated video for the Norwegian band aha's "Take On Me" can summon from memory Morten Harket's pencil-sketched form trying valiantly to escape the margins of his comic book to meet his lady, while pursued by pipe wrench-wielding thugs in helmets.

This particular good-looking guy confined by book covers is black-haired, blue-eyed Prince Oliver (rendered handsomely in full-color plates by illustrator Yvonne Gilbert, complete with Robin Hood green tunic and artfully tousled Harketian fringe). Each time his book is opened, it arrives at a happy ending with character-Oliver wed to the equally lovely Seraphima, with "hair so pale it shimmered like silver," "eyes the violet of royal robes," and skin that "glowed like moonlight." Alas, offstage, Oliver the real boy has visions of a dark-haired girl with eyes "like honey" whose "lips taste like mint and winter and nothing like Seraphima."

Imagine his surprise, then, to see this very girl one day looming large over the top of his page. The girl is fifteen-year-old Delilah Eve McPhee, a high school sophomore living in New Hampshire with a kind and beautiful mother reduced, by marital misfortunes, to the humble -- and very fairy-tale- esque -- profession of housecleaner. Delilah is also a devoted reader, and her favorite book happens to be Between the Lines, by Jessamyn Jacobs - - starring Oliver. When the two meet on page 43, they discover they can speak to one another. And they have so much in common! Both grew up without a father (Oliver's slain by a dragon; Delilah's conquered by a second wife who bears him two more children and absconds with him to Australia); both feel "like a square peg in a round hole." And as Delilah says, "Being a teenager isn't all that different from being part of someone else's story. There's always someone who thinks they know better than you do." They are also united in finding each other uncommonly attractive.

Unfortunately, Oliver is still a two-dimensional drawing on a page, and each time he hurls himself at Delilah, he encounters an invisible scrim that causes him to ricochet back into his own story. This necessitates all form of imaginative engineering -- one is tempted to suggest, Dude, try the pipe wrench! -- to draw the lovers together. (Spoiler alert: there is a kiss, at which point Delilah discovers that Oliver's breath tastes like "maple syrup.")

This being a modern fairy tale for contemporary young women, concessions are made: mermaids spout feminist rhetoric, and Delilah's retorts include, "I want you in my life. But I want it to be my life!" And: "In my world, you don't get married at fifteen, unless you are pregnant and have been on an MTV show." The characters flirt with the philosophical questions one would expect from those who spend time with books for a living: Is the author God? Do the books write themselves, or does the author write the books? Who owns the story -- writer or reader? Not all of these brain-teasers are satisfactorily resolved, but the Picoults ensure that girls who love fairy tales and boys who love war games are equally united in their happily-ever-after twist.

Amy Benfer has worked as an editor and staff writer at Salon, Legal Affairs, and Paper magazine. Her reviews and features on books have appeared in Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, The Believer, Kirkus Reviews, and The New York Times Book Review.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451635751
  • Publisher: EMILY BESTLER BOOKS/ATRIA/SIMON PULSE
  • Publication date: 6/26/2012
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 207,590
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is the author of eighteen novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers House Rules, Handle With Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister’s Keeper. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. Visit her at JodiPicoult.com.

Samantha van Leer
is a junior in high school. She conceived the idea for this book and pitched it to her mom, who was in the middle of a book tour. In her spare time, Samantha can be found playing softball, doing contemporary dance, acting and singing in musicals, and cuddling on the ground with her two dogs, Dudley and Oliver—for whom the prince in this fairy tale was named.

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    1. Hometown:
      Hanover, New Hampshire
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 19, 1966
    2. Place of Birth:
      Nesconset, Long Island, NY
    1. Education:
      A.B. in Creative Writing, Princeton University; M.A. in Education, Harvard University
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Delilah

I’M WEIRD.

Everyone says so. I suppose it’s because while other fifteen-year-olds are talking about the best lip gloss and which movie star is hotter, I would rather be curled up with a book. Seriously—have you been to a high school lately? Why would anyone sane want to interact with Cro-Magnon hockey players, or run the gauntlet of mean girls who lounge against the lockers like the fashion police, passing judgment on my faded high-top sneakers and thrift-store sweaters? No thanks; I’d much rather pretend I’m somewhere else, and any time I open the pages of a book, that happens.

My mom worries about me because I’m a loner. But that’s not entirely true. My best friend, Jules, totally gets me. It’s my mom’s fault that she can’t see past the safety pins Jules sticks through her ears and her pink Mohawk. The cool thing about hanging around with Jules, though, is that when I’m with her, nobody even looks twice at me.

Jules understands my fixation on books. She feels the same way about B-movie horror films. She knows every single line of dialogue in The Blob. She refers to the popular girls in our school as Pod People.

Jules and I are not popular. In fact, I am pretty much banned from ever being popular or, for that matter, within a hundred feet of anyone popular. Last year when we were playing softball in gym, I swung the bat and broke the left knee of Allie McAndrews, the head cheerleader. Allie had to stay off the top of the pyramid for six weeks and accepted her prom queen crown on crutches.

The worst part was I completely missed the ball. Anyone who didn’t hate me before the Injury suddenly had a reason to ignore me or sneer at me or slam me against a locker when we passed in the halls. Except Jules, who moved here a week after it happened. When I told her why I was a social pariah, she laughed. “Too bad you didn’t break them both,” she said.

Jules and I have no secrets. I know that she is addicted to soap operas, and she knows that my mother is a cleaning lady. There’s only one thing I haven’t told Jules, and that’s the fact that for the past week, the reason I’ve avoided her is that I’m embarrassed by my choice of reading material.

A fairy tale written for elementary school kids.

If you think it’s social suicide to literally bring the head cheerleader to her knees, you should try reading a children’s book in plain sight in a high school. If you read Dostoyevsky, you’re weird but smart. If you read comic books, you’re weird but hip. If you read a fairy tale, you’re just a dork.

I discovered this story a month ago, when I was eating lunch quietly in the school library. There I sat, chewing on a peanut butter and Fluff sandwich, when I noticed that one book on the shelf was upside down and backwards, as if it had been jammed in. Figuring I could help Ms. Winx, the librarian, I went to fix it, and got an enormous electric shock to the tips of my fingers.

The book was tattered and the spine was shaky—I would have thought that by now it would have made its way to the annual sale, where you could buy old novels for a dime each. It was illustrated—clearly a fairy tale—but it was shelved with nonfiction books about World War I. And strangest of all, it didn’t have a bar code to be checked out.

“Ms. Winx,” I asked, “have you ever read this one?”

“Oh, a long time ago,” she told me. “But it’s actually quite special. The author hand-painted the pictures and had it bound.”

“It must be worth a fortune!”

“Not so much,” Ms. Winx said. “The writer was known for her murder mysteries. This was more of an experiment for her. A prototype that never evolved. In fact, she never wrote another book after this one. I was a big fan of her other novels, and couldn’t pass this up when I found it at a rummage sale. So for a nickel, it became the property of the school.”

I looked down at the cover—Between the Lines, by Jessamyn Jacobs.

I checked it out that first day, and while I was in Earth Science class, I hid the fairy tale inside my textbook and read it from cover to cover. It’s about a prince, Oliver, who goes on a quest to rescue a princess, who’s been taken hostage by the evil Rapscullio. The problem is that Oliver, unlike most fairy-tale princes, isn’t a big fan of taking risks. His father died in battle, and as far as he’s concerned, it’s far better to be safe than sorry.

I think that’s what made me keep reading. The very first thing you learn about Oliver is that it wasn’t easy growing up without a dad. It was as if the words had been taken straight from my mouth. My father had not died in battle, but he’d left my mother when I was ten years old and found himself a new, improved family. She cried every night that year. I was a straight-A student—not because I loved school but because I didn’t want to be one more person who disappointed my mother. We had to move to a small house and my mom had to work hard cleaning the homes of the girls who treated me like pond scum.

True confessions time: Oliver is cuter than any guy in my school. Granted, he is two-dimensional and illustrated. Don’t judge me—go take a look at Wolverine in an X-Men comic and tell me he isn’t hot. With his jet-black hair and pale eyes, it seems that Oliver is smiling up from the page directly at me. Clearly, any normal girl would take this as a sign that she needs to get out more. But me, I don’t have too many places to get to.

Plus, he is smart. He conquers one obstacle after another—not with his sword but with his cleverness. For example, when he is held captive by a trio of creepy, boy-crazy mermaids, he promises to get them dates in return for a pack of supplies—flotsam and jetsam that had washed into the ocean after shipwrecks. He uses that junk—other people’s garbage—to rescue himself from the snares of the fiery dragon that had killed his own father. He’s not your typical prince, more like a square peg in a round hole, kind of like me. He’s the sort of guy who wouldn’t mind reading side by side on a date. And he knows how to kiss, unlike Leonard Uberhardt, who practically tried to swallow me whole behind the jungle gym in seventh grade.

That first week, I read the book so often that I memorized the words; I knew the layout of the pictures on the pages. I dreamed that I was being chased by Rapscullio or forced by Captain Crabbe to walk the plank. Each week, I’d bring the book back to the library, because that was school policy. I’d have to wait until it was returned to the shelf a day later, giving someone else a chance to read it. But what other ninth grader cares about fairy tales? The book was always waiting for me, so I could check it out again and reconfirm my position as Public Loser Number One.

My mother worried. Why was a girl like me, who could easily read thousand-page adult novels, obsessed with a children’s book?

I knew the answer to that, not that I was about to admit it to anyone.

Prince Oliver understood me better than anyone in the world.

True, I’d never met him. And true, he was a fictional character. But he also was what people needed him to be: a dashing hero, an articulate peacemaker, a cunning escape artist. Then again, Prince Oliver had never existed anywhere but on a page, and in some random author’s brain. He didn’t know what it was like to be stuffed into a locker by the cheerleading squad and left there until some janitor heard me yelling.

Today, I decide as I wake up and stare at the ceiling, is going to be different. First thing, I am going to return the book to the library. In my English journal, I’ll write down that I’ve been reading The Hunger Games for my outside reading requirement (like 98 percent of the ninth grade), and I’ll explain why I am Team Peeta instead of Team Gale. I’ll tell Jules that we should go to the Rocky Horror marathon at the cheap theater this weekend. Then in Earth Science I’ll finally get enough courage to go talk to Zach, my vegan lab partner who insists on feeding tofu crumbles to the class Venus flytrap, and who probably will save the whales before he turns twenty-one.

Yes, today is the day everything is going to change.

I get up and take a shower and get dressed, but the fairy tale is sitting on my nightstand where I left it before I went to bed. This must be what an addict feels like, I think, trying to fight the pull of one last, quick read. My fingers itch toward the binding, and finally, with a sigh of regret, I just grab the book and open it, hungrily reading the story. But this time, something feels wrong. It is like an itch between my eyebrows, a wrinkle in my mind. Frowning, I scan through the dialogue, which is all the way it should be. I glance at the illustration: the prince sitting on a throne, his dog waiting beside him.

“Delilah!” my mother yells. “I told you twice already… we’re going to be late!”

I stare at the page, my eyes narrowed. What is it that’s off? “Just let me finish—”

“You’ve read that book a thousand times—you know how it ends. Now means now!”

I flip through the book to the final page. When I see it, I can’t believe I haven’t noticed it before. Just to the left of Princess Seraphima’s glittering gown, drawn into the sand, is a grid. Sort of like a bingo chart. Or a chessboard.

“How strange,” I say softly. “That was never here before.”

“DELILAH EVE!”

When my mother uses my middle name, it means she’s really angry. I close the book and tuck it into my backpack, then hurry downstairs to scarf down breakfast before I am dropped off at school.

My mother is already rinsing her coffee cup as I grab a slice of toast and butter it. “Mom,” I ask, “have you ever read a book and had it… change?”

She looks over her shoulder. “Well, sure. The first time I read Gone with the Wind and Rhett walked out on Scarlett, I was fifteen and thought all that unrequited love was wildly romantic. The second time I read it, last summer, I thought she was silly and he was a selfish pig.”

“That’s not what I mean…. That’s you changing—not the book.” I take a bite of the toast and wash it down with orange juice. “Imagine that you’ve read a story a hundred times and it always takes place on a ship. And then one day, you read it, and it’s set in the Wild West instead.”

“That’s ridiculous,” my mother replies. “Books don’t change in front of your eyes.”

“Mine did,” I say.

She turns and looks at me, head tilted as if she is trying to figure out if I am lying or crazy or both. “You need to get more sleep, Delilah,” she announces.

“Mom, I’m serious—”

“You simply saw something you overlooked before,” my mother says, and she puts on her jacket. “Let’s go.”

But it’s not something I overlooked. I know it.

The whole way to school, my backpack sits on my lap. My mother and I talk about things that don’t matter—what time she is coming home from work; if I’m ready for my Algebra test; if it’s going to snow—when all I can focus on is that faint little chessboard scratched into the sand of the beach on the last page of the fairy tale.

Our car pulls up in front of the building. “Have a good day,” my mother says, and I kiss her goodbye. I hurry past a kid plugged into his earphones, and the popular girls, who cluster together like grapes. (Honestly, do you ever see just one of them?)

The school’s current “it” couple, Brianna and Angelo—or BrAngelo, as they’re known—are wrapped in each other’s arms across my locker.

“I’m gonna miss you,” Brianna says.

“I’m gonna miss you too, baby,” Angelo murmurs.

For Pete’s sake. It’s not like she’s leaving on a trip around the world. She’s only headed to homeroom.

I don’t realize I’ve said that out loud until I see them both staring at me. “Get a life,” Brianna says.

Angelo laughs. “Or at least a boyfriend.”

They leave with their arms around each other, hands tucked into each other’s rear jeans pockets.

The worst part is, it’s true. I wouldn’t know what true love feels like if it hit me between the eyes. Given my mother’s experience with romance, I shouldn’t even care—but there’s a part of me that wonders what it would be like to be the most important person to someone else, to always feel like you were missing a piece of yourself when he wasn’t near you.

There is a crash on the metal of the locker beside mine, and I look up to see Jules smacking her hand against it to get my attention. “Hey,” Jules says. “Earth to Delilah?” Today she is dressed in a black veil and a miniskirt over leggings that seem like they’ve been hacked with a razor. She looks like a corpse bride. “Where’d you go last night?” she says. “I sent you a thousand texts.”

I hesitate. I’ve hidden my fairy-tale obsession from Jules, but if anyone is going to believe me when I say that a book changed before my eyes, it’s going to be my best friend.

“Sorry,” I say. “I went to bed early.”

“Well, the texts were all about Soy Boy.”

I blush. At 3:00 A.M. during our last sleepover, I confessed to her that I thought Zach from my Earth Science class was possible future boyfriend material.

“I heard that he hooked up with Mallory Wegman last weekend.”

Mallory Wegman had hooked up with so many guys in our class that her nickname was the Fisherman. I let this news sink in, and the fact that I had thought about Zach this morning before reading my book, which seemed a thousand years ago.

“He’s telling everyone she slipped him a real burger instead of a veggie one and it overloaded his system. That he has no recollection of doing anything with her.”

“Must have been some really good beef,” I murmur. For a second, I try to mourn Zach, my potential crush, who now has someone real, but all I’m thinking of is Oliver.

“I have to tell you something,” I confess.

Jules looks at me, suddenly serious.

“I was reading this book and it… it sort of changed.”

“I totally understand,” Jules says. “The first time I saw Attack of the Killer Tomatoes I knew my life was never going to be the same.”

“No, it’s not that I’ve changed—it’s the book that changed.” I reach into my backpack and grab the fairy tale, flipping directly to the last page. “Look.”

Prince? Yup, standing right where he usually is.

Princess? Ditto.

Frump? Wagging happily.

Chessboard?

It’s missing.

It was there less than a half hour ago, and suddenly it’s gone.

“Delilah?” Jules asks. “Are you okay?”

I can feel myself breaking out in a cold sweat. I close the book and then open it again; I blink fast to clear my eyes.

Nothing.

I stuff the book into my backpack again and close my locker. “I, um, have to go,” I say to Jules, shoving past her as the bell rings.

Just so you know, I never lie. I never steal. I never cut class. I am, in short, the perfect student.

Which makes what I am about to do even more shocking. I turn in the opposite direction and walk toward the gymnasium, although I am supposed to be in homeroom.

Me, Delilah McPhee.

“Delilah?” I look up to see the principal standing in front of me. “Shouldn’t you be in homeroom?”

He smiles at me. He doesn’t expect me to be cutting class either.

“Um… Ms. Winx asked me to get a book from the gym teacher.”

“Oh,” the principal says. “Excellent!” He waves me on.

For a moment I just stare at him. Is it really this easy to become someone I’m not? Then I break into a run.

I don’t stop until I have reached the locker room. I know it will be empty this early in the morning. Sitting down on a bench, I take the book from my backpack and open it again.

Real fairy tales are not for the fainthearted. In them, children get eaten by witches and chased by wolves; women fall into comas and are tortured by evil relatives. Somehow, all that pain and suffering is worthwhile, though, when it leads to the ending: happily ever after. Suddenly it no longer matters if you got a B– on your midterm in French or if you’re the only girl in the school who doesn’t have a date for the spring formal. Happily ever after trumps everything. But what if ever after could change?

It did for my mom. At one point, she loved my dad, or they wouldn’t have gotten married—but now she doesn’t even want to speak to him when he calls me on my birthday and Christmas. Likewise, maybe the fairy tale isn’t accurate. Maybe the last line should read something like What you see isn’t always what you get.

There is still no chessboard on the sand.

I start flipping through the pages furiously. In most of them, Prince Oliver is in the company of someone or something—his dog, the villain Rapscullio, Princess Seraphima. But there is one illustration where he is all alone.

Actually, it’s my favorite.

It comes toward the end of the story, after he’s outsmarted the dragon Pyro and left the beast in the care of Captain Crabbe and the pirates. Afterward, as the pirates load the dragon onto the ship, Oliver is left alone on the shore looking up the cliff wall at the tower where Seraphima is being imprisoned. In the picture on page 43, he starts to climb.

I lift the book closer so that I can see Oliver more clearly. He is drawn in color, his jet-black hair ruffled by the breeze, his arms straining as he scales the sheer rock face. His bottle green velvet tunic is tattered: singed from Pyro’s fiery breath and torn from his escape from shackles on the pirate ship. His dagger is clenched between his teeth so that he can grasp the next ledge. His face is turned toward the ocean, where the ship slips into the distance.

I think the reason I love this illustration so much is the expression on his face. You’d expect, at that moment, he’d be overcome by fierce determination. Or maybe shining love for his nearby princess. But instead, he looks… well… like something’s missing.

Like he’d almost rather be on that pirate ship. Or anywhere but where he is, on the face of the rocky cliff.

Like there’s something he’s hiding.

I lean forward, until my nose is nearly touching the page. The image blurs as I get close, but for a moment, I’m positive that Oliver’s eyes have flickered away from the ocean, and toward me.

“I wish you were real,” I whisper.

On the loudspeaker in the locker room, the bell rings. That means homeroom is over, and I have to go to Algebra. With a sigh, I set the fairy tale down on the bench, still cracked open. I unzip my backpack and then pick the book up again.

And gasp.

Oliver is still climbing the sheer rock wall. But the dagger clenched between his teeth is now in his right hand. Steel to stone, its sharp tip scratches the faintest of white lines into the dark granite, and then another, and a third.

H

I rub my eyes. This is not a Nook, a Kindle Fire, or an iPad, just a very ordinary old book. No animation, no bells and whistles. Drawing in my breath, I touch the paper, that very spot, and lift my finger again.

Two words slowly appear on the surface of the rock wall.

HELP ME.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 179 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(103)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(22)

2 Star

(16)

1 Star

(16)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 179 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Between the lines is a really fun story. Deliliah is a 15-year-

    Between the lines is a really fun story. Deliliah is a 15-year-old teenager who doesn't quite fit in with everyone else. She loves to read, and one book has become her favorite. The only problem is that the book she loves so much is a fairy tale for kids entitled "Between the Lines." Try as she may, she just can't stay away from it. Deliliah is a bit of a social outcast and her only friend, other that her books, is Jules, who has the whole wild punk-rocker scene going on. (Her character is really fun and entertaining). Deliliah is enthralled with Prince Oliver, the main character in her book.......and Prince Oliver is enthralled with Deliliah, and desperately wants to get out of that book and into her world.


    The story is written from Deliliah's point of view, as well as from Prince Oliver's point of view, and is also told from a narrative fairy tale perspective. I found the story to be delightful and entertaining, and everything you would imagine a YA fairy tale to be. I loved the interaction between Deliliah and Oliver as they plotted and planned trying to figure out a way to get Oliver out of the book, as well as all the adventure that took place in the process of trying to make this happen. I also enjoyed the other characters in the book, especially the mermaids. The ending was really a classic happily ever after one with a different twist. I would recommend this book for girls even as young as 9 or 10. I think I would have enjoyed it at that age. Between the Lines is a cute and imaginative modern day fairy tale that girls of all ages will love.

    18 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    My favorite

    Jodi has been my favorite author since i read my sisters keeper. As a 16 year old male i look for much more than simple romance in novels. But in this love story Jodi made me cry yet again. I absolutly love the plot; two partners working together til the very end even though the stakes are high. Its a common example of enduring hardships to just trynto he with the one you love. Delilah is a true sweet heart. Please read it and find out for yourself. Everyone deserves a happy ending.

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 28, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Fantastic. I couldn't put this book down. Highly Recommended

    Fantastic. I couldn't put this book down. Highly Recommended

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    It was a struggle to finish the book. And that sums up what I th

    It was a struggle to finish the book. And that sums up what I think of this novel. I 'd give it 2 1/2 stars because there are some teen girls who will enjoy the fluffy romance but I hesitate to even label it YA as it reads much younger. A teen who loves one fairy tale and reads nothing else--as a librarian I would gently nudge her in the direction of something different, perhaps similar but at least different. The stories of the two protagonists were easy to follow but the story itself just wasn't plausible. Will Prince Charming get out of the story/off the pages and come into the princess' life? Who cares? Not me, at least in this story. And the ending leaves one realizing that if your life isn't going just right, you can easily change it; how realistic is that? But this is a fairy tale, after all. I just didn't see the point.

    11 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 27, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Very good book. I loved the characters. makes a great summer rea

    Very good book. I loved the characters. makes a great summer read

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 24, 2012

    A sales lady at one of the BandN stores actually recommended thi

    A sales lady at one of the BandN stores actually recommended this to me and at first i thought it would be horribley cliche and childish but I LOVED it. Im 19 and I couldnt put the book down, but whether your 15 like one of the main characters Delilah or your in your fortys you will like this book. It shows just how much it means to believe in something and really pull through with it. Even though she looked crazy and nobody believed her she didnt care she wanted Oliver out and she was going to get him. Romance, suspence, humor, and all else is in this book and I very much reccommend this.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    Awful

    Boring, lacking interest, not at all like her other books.

    5 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors and I bought this boo

    Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors and I bought this book on a whim because I love her books. But it was a struggle for me to read this book. Although it was a cute love story, everything was cliche. I felt like the book had potential to be really good, but in the end, it wasn't. I've seen too much of the main girl characters being outcast. And falling in love with a prince from a children's book sounds pathetic. I'm sorry, but it's just my opinion.

    5 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    Look's like a good book. :)

    This is a nice switch from the same kind of teenage love story. it is not too old so it will be easy for tween's and teen who what a love story butt not too old to read. :) :)

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 28, 2012

    The plot line of the story was definitely very interesting, and

    The plot line of the story was definitely very interesting, and it was a sweet, cute love story, but the ending really confused me; it was as if the authors were in a hurry and wanted to end the book as quickly as possible. There is very little explanation at the end of the story as to how and why the ending is even possible in accordance to the rules of the story's "universe." But hey, at least they all live happily ever after, even if it doesn't make sense.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    Not her best

    I think jodi should have just let her daughter write this because this books mislead her typical readers.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    Do not waste your time or money on this book.

    Reading this book was pure torture. Slow, boring and stupid. Plus an awful ending. No stars for this one. (They made me give it at least one star to submit this.)

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2012

    Best book ever

    Lovvveed it great summer read could not put it down

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2012

    Anonymous

    Don't waste your time or your money. And what up with the ridiculous names? I just didn't understand the point.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Light and Entertaining, Fun for All Ages

    I think that this story does exactly what it is supposed to do-- it provides a sweet and imaginative read for people of all ages. It's very easy to get through, and though it is a young adult novel, it paints a real picture of what teenagers (and adults) feel when they are alone and isolated, and is peppered with little insightful quotes you can come back to again and again. I would recommend it for young readers, but it's a fairy tale that doesn't compromise on intellectual integrity-- making it just as entertaining for adults :)

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 4, 2013

    Sweet and creative

    This was a lovely quick read. Definitely a special book. Would make a great gift for any teenage girl! I'm 24 and loved it :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 19, 2013

    Between the Lines is a modern day fairy-tale that captivates th

    Between the Lines is a modern day fairy-tale that captivates the reader and teleports them into the authors fantasy world. The novel portrays a high school girl who is taunted about her obsession for reading. It is a very well written story that is extremely relatable for any teenage girl when it shows the struggle of being teased and bullied in school. The main character Delilah falls in love with a character from this story and begins to wonder about life inside a story. Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer write about a story about a story that is full of twists and turns that will leave the reader wondering about what is to come next. I would highly recommend any person to read this passionate novel.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2013

    Read this book

    I love this book it funny and a great love story of two who have to find a way to be together

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2013

    To put it simply... AMAZING!!

    This book was so good! It had such a unique plot, characters, and twists that you are entertained throughout the read. Loved it and is definitely one of my new favorites

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    Waste of time and money

    Interesting concept but very badly executed. Nice of Picoult to support her daughter's interest in writing but this should never have been published. Writing level might interest an8yr old but even they might get too bored to continue after thr first two chapters. Don't waste your time and money.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 179 Customer Reviews

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