Between the Lines Review

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

The next category to tackle for my reading challenge was a book written by two people. This was tricky for me because I could not think of a book that had been written by two people, side from anthologies, and I wanted to a book, not a collection of short stories. A google search send me to Goodreads, of course, which had a list of options. This story was written by Jodi Picoult, whose work I had not actually read before, and her daughter, Samantha. Samantha had come up with an interesting premise, a character and a reader who fall in love and try to figure out how to be together.

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This sounded intriguing and cute so I decided to give it a shot. Lucky for me, the book was available as an audiobook, when I wanted it, on Overdrive – My Library’s Online Database. I started this book back in July and it only took a few days.

In this story a young, bookish girl avoids making friends at school by getting sucked into a book. Pretty normal stuff, until she notices the main character of the book looking back at her. She tries to convince herself that she’s imagining things, but can’t help trying to discover the truth, and once she does, builds a bond with this 16 year old fairy tale prince who wants to leave his story and enter the world beyond the page.

Honestly, I was a little disappointed in the actualization of this premise, but I think it was simply written for a much younger audience. I think they could have made this a lot more interesting, however it is told from the perspective of a couple of teenagers dealing with their first romantic forays, so I suppose angst is going to be part of the recipe. I definitely misunderstood the age of the male lead at first and thought he was a lot older than he was so for a good portion of the book I was very creeped out as the main character was pretty young, only 14. Despite having had my own crushes on characters in stories, let’s be real who hasn’t, I still had a hard time identifying with the protagonist. I did think the premise was pretty cool, but my favorite part of the storytelling was the way the characters are portrayed as having separate individual lives outside of the storyline on the page. I also really liked the ending, it was a clever twist. The team does do a great job of creating conflict for the characters and the problem solving that takes place is really interesting as is the imagery.

I would definitely recommend this book but for a much younger audience, think 13-16 age range. It’s a highly appropriate book for young readers with an interest in fantasy that isn’t of the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings Genre. For adults the relationships are a bit cheesy and the book doesn’t really go into any difficult subjects, except for brushing on psychotherapy, fitting in at school, and depression, and these are just the lightest possible brushes.

If you’ve read this story and are interested in other similar options check out the sequel Off The Page by Jodi Piccoult and Samantha van Leer, Beauty by Lisa Daily, or The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Would you recommend any other Jodi Picoult books?