Monday, January 13, 2014

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

Published June 26 2012 by Simon Pulse
Hardcover, 352 pages
Borrowed from library

Delilah is a social outcast at school and it certainly doesn't help that she's obsessed with a picture book - and it's main character, Prince Oliver. Delilah's actually read the book so many times that she's memorized every single word and every single picture in the book. So when something pops up on one of the pages that wasn't previously there, Delilah starts to wonder whether life in the book does exist beyond the pages. And it turns out that there is and that her dear Prince Oliver is very much a real person. Soon, Delilah and Oliver fall in love but of course, they know it's doomed. One lives inside a book and the other lives outside a book - how could they possibly be together?

This is a tough review for me to write because I literally have zero thoughts on Between the Lines. 

Okay, you got me. I never NOT have any thoughts but trust me when I say that the amount of thoughts I have right now is at an all-time low. And I'm just going to come right out and say it: this book was a major snooze-fest. There were so many times while I was reading Between the Lines when I was just so ready to drop down and go to sleep. 

With Between the Lines, the potential is definitely there. The idea that life for characters in a book could extend beyond the pages is certainly fun to entertain, while not probable. I mean, it's so much fun to think that your favourite characters could have a separate life than from the words on the pages. What if Jane and John finally got together behind the scenes? But this is where we run into the first problem with this book and that's the total lack of explanation as to how this whole thing actually works. 

How can Oliver contact Delilah when he couldn't reach anybody else? How was Delilah able to respond to Oliver? How on effing earth can Oliver talk through the pages? And on and on it goes. I have so many questions that are important, that need to be answered but are never. Look, I don't have to believe whatever you put out as an explanation, but at the very least, there has to be something. Something that makes actual, logical sense.

And further questions that are never answered in the span of 352 pages: how do Oliver and Delilah actually fall in love? HOW? Now I'm usually not one who gets easily bugged by instalove but this relationship makes zero sense. They've never talked to each other before and yeah, so maybe Delilah had a crush on Oliver way before he knew who she was but still, I think it takes much longer for two people to fall in love than just a few words here and there. Maybe if there was a bit more 'show' I might be able to believe it.

Beyond the inconsistencies and absolute rubbish that was Oliver and Delilah's relationship, there was also the factor that none of the characters had any depth to them. They were all just so bland and blah and we all know VERY well by now that good characters are like a major bonus for me in books. Excellent characters? 10 000 extra brownie points to you! Maybe this lack of depth and emotion is due to how the book was written. The prose was very simple and straightforward which I suppose can be good in a textbook or something of the sort but in a novel, especially one that is supposed to read as a fairy tale, a bit more pizazz might be needed. To give the book personality and flavour and of course, to not bore the readers to death!

The rest of the book is then riddled with stereotypes and cliches. One that particularly bugged me was the perception of feminism. A lot of people have mentioned this but I think it's important to bring up again. After learning that the mermaids behind the scenes are not actually boy-obsessed, in fact they're the exact opposite, Delilah goes to say that they are 'hard-core feminists'. Which is so ridiculous because not caring for boys does not make you a feminist. Feminists do not hate on men. They encourage equality between men and women which in no way implies hate. And it's this exact misconception that feminists are hateful towards men that makes me totally peeved. 

Finally, THAT ENDING. MADE ME. SO UPSET. It was just too convenient and such a cop-out. So I didn't see it coming but still, I feel like things could have been resolved a tad bit better. Everything just came too easily and come on, do you really expect us to believe that one person would give up so much for a couple to live happily ever after? 

Hmm, so maybe I had more thoughts that I thought...

I really did not enjoy Between the Lines at all. It's labelled as a Young Adult but frankly, I would market it more toward 9-12 year olds. To be honest, Between the Lines would have probably been right up my alley when I was nine. The writing was very bland, the characters were very bland and on top of that, there were so many inconsistencies and plot holes. The ending really pissed me off quite a bit, actually and to be honest, this book was very mediocre. Also, on a totally unrelated note, I hated the formatting of this book. The coloured font and the type of font used in this book did not help its case. But kudos for illustrations because I do love illustrations!

children ages 9-12 who enjoy flaky romances with a fairy tale aspect.

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