A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Between the Lines is a romantic fantasy about a girl who can communicate with a prince in a fairy tale. There's some kissing, hand holding, confessions of love, and even a marriage proposal. Within the fairy tale itself, Prince Oliver is in peril, facing the dragon who killed his father, being imprisoned by pirates who threaten him with torture, and battling a sword-wielding villain. In real life, Delilah and Oliver don't always act perfectly (she sneaks out of her room, leaving her mother frantic, and he takes Delilah into his fantasy world without asking her whether it's what she wants). Even so, they risk everything to be together and ultimately learn to think about more than their own happiness.
What's the story?
Misfit Delilah is embarrassed to be so obsessed with a fairy tale she finds in her school library, but when she realizes she can communicate with the story's handsome prince, she really has a secret to keep. Meanwhile, Prince Oliver is quite taken with the brown-eyed reader and wants to get out of his scripted world and into hers (even if he's quite confused about how a computer works and why Delilah would choose to wear something as immodest as blue jeans). Can they work together to set Oliver free? Or will he be stuck rescuing a vapid princess forever -- while Delilah faces off against vapid high school royalty on her own?
Is it any good?
Written by a famous author (Jodi Picoult wrote Change of Heart and My Sister's Keeper, among others), and her teen daughter, this YA novel takes a bit of time to get into. Part of this pacing problem is due to the story's structure: Delilah and Oliver not only take turns narrating from their points of view, but the original fairy tale is also told in interstitial chapters.
Even so, tweens will eventually be swept up in BETWEEN THE LINES' romantic premise and in the clever idea that characters have rich lives when readers aren't reading their stories; for example, when the book is closed, Prince Oliver finds the main villain putting sprinkles on cookies. In the end, there's enough humor and clever plot turns to keep the story moving. It's hard not to smile when a vapid princess realizes that she's actually in love with the prince's loyal basset hound -- or when a misfit girl risks everything to rescue her prince.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fairy tales. How is this book different than typical fairy tales -- and how is it the same? What's powerful and lasting about stories about princes and princesses that we continue to tell them in modern times?
Did you find yourself more interested in Delilah and Oliver's story or in the original fairy tale that Delilah reads about the dashing Prince Oliver?
Even though Between the Lines has swordplay and some gross details, the violence never feels very visceral. Is fantasy violence always different than realistic violence -- or do you sometimes find it equally gruesome? How does tone impact your reaction?
- Authors: Jodi Picoult, Samantha Van Leer
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Princesses and fairies, Fairy tales, Great boy role models, Great girl role models, Pirates
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
- Publication date: June 26, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 368
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.