READ: Between the Lines

img_6115If you ask a writer about her characters, she just may speak about them as if she could call them on the phone and discuss weekend plans, or the next twist in the plot. They’re as real as Facebook friends, blog followers and long-lost relatives who connect every Christmas. Maybe more so.

What if a character came to life in the pages of a novel? Now I don’t mean LIKE real. I mean, turned from the damsel in distress to address you, the Reader? What if said character fell in love with you, the Reader, and all you wanted was to open that book to page 43 and talk to that character again and again?

Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha Van Leer asked those questions and wrote a wonderfully charming Young Adult novel, Between the Lines, in 2012.

Delilah meets Oliver on page 43 of a fairy tale that’s much too young for a teenager to be reading. But she can’t keep away when she discovers he’s trying to talk to her. Delilah is one of those girls who doesn’t feel like she fits in. But Oliver, the handsome, clever prince, sees her beauty, her grace, her intelligence. And they team up to get her out of the trap his fairy tale life has begun.

It’s told from three points of view: traditional fairy tale, complete with beautiful art, Delilah’s and Oliver’s. Each has its own typeface and color.

It’s light and breezy with the usual teenage angst and a fun little twist at the end. Of course, it’s too young for me. I felt like Delilah and her fairy tale as I turned the pages. But I couldn’t help turning page after page.

I delighted in the character-reader connection. It felt as real as the character-writer connection. (Ask me about Alex sometime.) And I was fascinated by the arrival of the fairy tale’s author near the end of the book. She tells a heart-wrenching story about how the fairy tale came to be. Loved it.

What’s more there’s another book by the mother-daughter pair, Off the Page, following the true life adventures of Delilah and Oliver. Gotta read it.

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