Tuesday, July 3, 2012

[Review] Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult

Author: Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 02/07/2012
Publisher: Allen & Unwin (AU)
Pages: 370
Source: For review
Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

My Rating:
Good Read

The Review:

Wow. It's really been a while. Let me just note if I had read this book when I was 11-15, I would be giving this 5 stars, no questions asked. There's a lot to love about this book and I'm glad that this book exists. I truly hope that more people read it, and this experience and given me the push I needed to try some of Jodi's adult works.

Jodi Picoult worked in collaboration with her teenage daughter, Samantha, in making her latest novel for teens. Between the Lines follows Delilah, a fiften-year-old girl who is simply fed up with reality. That's why she spends much of her time inside books . . . and one book in particular. A fairytale book where she can empathise with the hero (Oliver) in the story as he'd lost his father. Of course, this fairytale hero's father died a brave and mighty hero. The same cannot be said for Delilah's dad, who left her and her mum. One day, Oliver speaks to her. And he wants out of the fairytale.

This half-contemporary realism, half-fairytale fantasy story is filled with colour and flavour. It's effortless getting stuck into this book because we're handed so many visuals and illustrations that pop out at you that you'll feel as though you're either in the story itself as an onlooker, or as though you're reading a storybook. I could not appreciate the illustrations enough. Simply across the board, presentation is this book's most strong point - it's visually breathtaking.

Presentation just instantly gets a book brownie points. Every single one of the illustrations brings more to the story and enhances the experience rather than hinders or distracts. It's a book about a fairytale - what better way to really drive that home than include famed illustrations? We're even served a bit of variety. Besides full-paged, delicately drawn and coloured fairytale-esque pictures that are very rip-out-of-the-book-stick-it-on-your-wall tempting, we have silhouettes and tiny pictures strewn throughout. This is one of those books that need to be READ and not listened to via audiobook.

In addition to those illustrations, there are colour-coded perspectives. That's right - multiple perspectives. I just about squealed when I figured out that the writing was going to be mostly in colour. It's such a rare thing that I can't help but get excited anytime I see coloured text in a book. In essence, we are granted three perspectives: Delilah, Oliver and the storybook. It's a nice way to break up the action and for the most part the transitions felt seamless. I cannot even pick an absolute favourite perspective because at one point or other I would be stuck on one particular POV.

As I mentioned before, if I'd been a tad younger I would have loved this to bits. This mainly has to do with the premise and the ages and behaviours of the characters. The premise is so, so cute - a reader who must help her fairytale prince escape from his book. I "aww"ed more than a myriad few times and it's the kind of book that I think many younger teenage girls will love. It also has this timeless quality about it that gives me a reason to consider keeping this in my collection for the next generation to experience.

To be expected, this book ends in a fairly fairytale-esque manner. There was simply too much sweetness to keep track of and every loose end is tied together nicely. I'm personally drawn to slightly ambiguous endings where you're really forced to think and theorise on what actually happened at the end. Between the Lines is not one of these books, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, since it's based so heavily on fairytales that it only seems fitting that it ends like a fairytale too.

Between the Lines is a beautifully illustrated novel that tackles tough issues, but despite that it remains light and fun. Just like a fairytale, this story draws on reality and fantasy elements and is simply awe-inspiring. 



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I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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