Rating: 3 Stars
Published: May 2015
Genre: YA Fantasy/Fairy Tale esq
“This is what love is: never wanting to give up.”
Delilah and Oliver are just learning how to be a couple outside of a storybook and they have to navigate the treacherous world that is Delilah’s high school. In order for Oliver to be with Delilah, they had to write him out of the storybook where he was a character and replace him with Edgar, a guy who looked just liked him. Of course, problems arise which leads to more discoveries of hidden parts of the storybook, Between the Lines. Told in alternating points of view of Delilah, Oliver, and Edgar, this fairy tale like story will have you wishing for your own storybook Prince Charming.
Written by Jodi Picoult along with her daughter, Samantha Van Leer, Off the Page is their second novel together. I bought this because I couldn’t help myself. The cover was just too gorgeous. Then I flipped through it and realized the chapters where in different colored text and I freaked out. Then I saw the beautiful illustrations by Yvonne Gilbert and probably had a mild panic attack. To say that I bought this for purely superficial reasons would be entirely correct. I also have to note that I did not read Between the Lines, their first book together. This is technically a companion novel and not a sequel, however, the events in this book are entirely based off of events in the first book. Though, I wasn’t really confused. I mean, it would have been nice to know the backstory of Oliver & Delilah but it wasn’t necessary because they hint at it enough.
I was not disappointed. This was a funny, adorable, and heartwarming YA novel. I absolutely adored the illustrations and the colored text. I think the book has a cool & interesting premise. There were some things I didn’t like, which is why it didn’t get more stars. I would have fallen in love with this book in jr. high, I think. As some of my cousins grow up, I think I’ll recommend this to them.
In terms of characters, I started to look forward to Oliver’s chapters the most the because I found them the most interesting. It was fun reading his thought process since the real world was so new to him. Edgar’s were pretty good, too. He was getting used to being stuck in a fairytale and how he dealt with it and learned about the other characters was fun. Delilah seemed a bit petty to me, at times. I think I just didn’t really like her character. I couldn’t take her seriously.
“I’d rather be in Siberia right now, losing all my extremities to frostbite. Or talking to my pet cockroach in a maximum security prison.”
I know teenagers are melodramatic but I think these lines took it a little bit too far. I guess that’s just the characterization of Delilah but she bugged me a little bit. Also, this line bothered me. I know not everyone can be Amy Schumer but sometimes it annoys me how a girl can’t just have a big sweatshirt because she likes a big comfy sweatshirt.
“I reach into my closet for the biggest sweatshirt I can find, the one I wear on my fat days.”
I really hate when I don’t like a main character of a novel. But what are you going to do? At least her chapters were broken up with Oliver and Edgar! Delilah’s best friend, Jules, however, I would have loved to get to know a little bit more. She seemed fiery and exciting. If only Delilah wasn’t wrapped up in her own drama she could have hung out with her bff a little more.
I thought at times some of the lines were a bit cheesy & cliche. Before some of the chapters there’s text by a strange unknown narrator. The first introduction to it is the first page, which I LOVED but then it seemed to go downhill.
“Just because you’ve picked up this book, you know, doesn’t mean it belongs to you.
Quite a lot went on before you even arrived. There was a spark of an idea one day, which ignited into a fire of imagination. Each lick of flame burned a line of text, spreading from chapter to chapter.
And where are you? Probably in some other book, not even aware that this was happening someplace in the universe.”
It’s hard to judge a co-authored book because you really don’t know who did more of the writing. However, I believe this novel was very much written with Samantha’s voice. If you’re a huge fan of Jodi Picoult and are picking this up because it has her name on it, you might be a little disappointed. It’s absolutely nothing like her adult novels. Though, it does have some of her style to it in terms of what happens to some of the characters. I think Samantha had a very heavy hand in writing this and I’m not mad. I think if she wants, she’ll be a great novelist in her own right one day without her mom’s name on the cover.
“There’s a moment when you realize that you’ve gotten everything you wished for. And right on its heels is the understanding that this means you have so much more to lose.”
I’m not sure if I’m going to want to read Between the Lines but I’m definitely more intrigued now than when it first came out.