Between the Lines

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Between the Lines Book Poster Image
Mother and daughter team up to write fun, modern fairy tale.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational value

Between the Lines crosses a wide range of genres, such as fantasy, romance, fairy tale -- and even science fiction -- so will appeal to many different kinds of tweens and teens. Readers will build their vocabularies through this book.

Positive messages

Readers get the point that "home is not a place but rather, the people who love you" as the two main characters go to great lengths to be together (eventually helping others find their homes, too).

Positive role models & representations

Delilah and Oliver don't always act perfectly (she sneaks out of her room, leaving her mother frantic, and he takes her into his fantasy world without asking her whether it's what she wants). Even so, each works hard to help the other get what he or she wants, and they ultimately learn to think about more than their own happiness. Readers will appreciate that Delilah is brave enough to belive that, in this fairy tale, she's the one "who's going to save the prince."


Prince Oliver is in peril throughout the quest to save a princess, including facing the dragon who killed his father, being imprisoned and threatened with torture by pirates, and battling a sword-wielding villain. He's also captured by evil mermaids who have a collection of skeletons ("some still rotting with flesh peeling back from the bone").


Some kissing between Prince Oliver and Princess Serephima. In real life, Oliver kisses Delilah. and there's some talk of dates and love; he even proposes to her.


Occasional pop culture references, such as Justin Bieber, The Little Mermaid and other Disney movies, iPod, Twilight.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Delilah's exasperated mother asks her whether she's on drugs.

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.

User Reviews

Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written byAbigail F. December 2, 2017

A change for this author

Between the lines is a light-hearted change for this author! I have read many Jodi Picoult books, most of which are more mature and have difficult subject matt... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byheadoverheelfornovel June 18, 2013

a note for parents with concerns

this novel was beautifully written i wanted to buy this book at a book fair but my mom asked the librarian and she said it was not appropriate because of the au... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byKronie September 22, 2012

Love it!

SOOO GOOOD!!!!!!! A little confusing at first but is a great book for all ages! :)

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?

Book details

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