JUST SO YOU KNOW, WHEN THEY SAY “ ONCE UPON
a time” . . . they’re lying.
It’s not once upon a time. It’s not even twice upon a time. It’s hundreds of times, over and over, every time someone opens up the pages of this dusty old book.
“Oliver,” my best friend says. “Checkmate.”
I follow Frump’s gaze and stare down at the chessboard, which isn’t really a chessboard at all. It’s just squares scratched onto the sand of Everafter Beach, and a bunch of accommodating fairies who don’t mind acting as pawns and bishops and queens. There isn’t a chess set in the story, so we have to make do with what we’ve got, and of course we have to clean up all evidence when we’re done, or else someone might assume that there is more to the story than what they know.
I can’t remember when I first realized that life, as I knew it, wasn’t real. That this role I performed over and over was just that—a role. And that in order for me to play it, there had to be another party involved—namely one of those large, round, flat faces that blurred the sky above us every time the story began. The relationships you see on the page aren’t always, as they seem. When we’re not acting our parts, we’re all just free to go about our business. It’s quite complicated, really. I’m Prince Oliver, but I’m not Prince Oliver. When the book is closed, I can stop pretending that I’m interested in Seraphima or that I’m fighting a dragon, and instead I can hang out with Frump or taste the concoctions Queen Maureen likes to dream up in the kitchen or take a dip in the ocean with the pirates, who are actually quite nice fellows. In other words, we all have lives outside the lives that we play when a Reader opens the book. For everyone else here, that knowledge is enough. They’re happy repeating the story endlessly, and staying trapped onstage even when the Readers are gone. But me, I’ve always wondered. It stands to reason that if I have a life outside of this story, so do the Readers whose faces float above us. And they’re not trapped inside the book. So where exactly are they? And what do they do when the book is closed?
Once, a Reader—a very young one—knocked the book over and it fell open on a page that has no one but me written into it. For a full hour, I watched the Otherworld go by. These giants stacked bricks made of wood, with letters written on their sides, creating monstrous buildings. They dug their hands into a deep table filled with the same sort of sand we have on Everafter Beach. They stood in front of easels, like the one Rapscullio likes to use when he paints, but these artists used a unique style—dipping their hands into the paint and smearing it across the paper in swirls of color. Finally, one of the Others, who looked to be as old as Queen Maureen, leaned forward and frowned. “Children! This is not how we treat books,” she said, before shutting me out. When I told the others what I had seen, they just shrugged. Queen Maureen suggested I see Orville about my strange dreams and ask for a sleeping potion. Frump, who is my best friend both inside the story and out, believed me. “What difference does it make, Oliver?” he asked. “Why waste time and energy thinking about a place or a person you’ll never be?” Immediately I regretted bringing it up.
Copyright © 2012 by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
Between the Lines is an enchanting, illustrated collaboration between beloved author Jodi Picoult and her daughter, Samantha Van Leer.
Delilah spends most of her time in the school library re-reading the same book. Between the Lines is a fairy tale that seems so real to Delilah, a loner who feels a kinship with brave, adventurous Prince Oliver. Imagine her emotion when he speaks to her…literally! You see, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook hero. He’s a restless teen, just like Delilah. And she could be his key to freedom.
As Delilah and Oliver work together to liberate him from his literary bonds, a romance blossoms that could become the stuff of legend. But can this made-for-each-other couple live happily ever after?
Hardcover Book : 368 pages
Publisher: Simon&Schuster Books for Young Children ( June 26, 2012 )
Item #: 13-582128
Product Dimensions: 6.0 x 9.0 inches
Product Weight: 24.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
I loved Between the Lines... isn't that really what life is about. Writing with her daughter was inspiring, what a wonderful relationship they must have. Her books never disappoint me!
I love Jodi Picoult and was pleased to hear her daughter had inherited her mother's very real talent for the written word. However, I was unable to get emotionally involved with this story line. Maybe if I were a teen it would be different, but this story wasn't for me....and I sadly say that as I am usually transfixed by her stories.
Reviewer: Carolyn H
I WAS VERY EXCITED TO LEARN THERE WAS A DAUGHTER AMONGST THE FAMILY THAT WAS WRITER ALSO. HER VERY FIRST BOOK WAS INTERESTING AND DIFFERENT. I LIKED IT AND FOUND MYSELF WONDERING WHAT NEXT. I AM 44 AND EVEN THOUGH IT WAS WRITTEN FOR THE YOUNGER GENERATION BEING A READER AND A FAN OF HER MOM'S (JODIE PICOULT) IT WAS WORTH THE TIME TO INDULGE IN A FAIRY TALE AND FEEL LIKE I DID WHEN I WAS 11 AND EXPLORING WITH GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES. A VERY GOOD READ!
Reviewer: Devon R