Book Review: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

between_linesDo you ever wish that fiction could be turned into reality? That you could just jump inside a story and live there instead–in a world considerably more interesting than your own? That you could be whatever you wanted to be, anytime you wanted to be it? I know I have. And that is precisely the case for Delilah McPhee, a fifteen year-old, book-wormish girl who happens across a strangely addictive fairy tale.

Despite the fact that it was initially meant for children, Delilah inexplicably falls in love with the story and finds she is able to empathize with the protagonist, who also lost a father at a very young age. I won’t say anything more, for this novel can be easily spoiled and if you have any intent of reading it, I do not wish to do so. That being said, I absolutely love this book. It is both thought-provoking and whimsical, and I recommend it to anyone who who enjoys reading or writing, which I hope is every one of you. Also, this book was co-written by high school student Samantha Van Leer, who originally pitched the book idea to her mom, bestselling author and co-writer (of Between the Lines) Jodi Picoult.

While reading Between the Lines, I began thinking a lot about literature (more specifically, fiction) and its effects on our lives, and I came to the realization: that is precisely why it exists. Writers do not write because they feel like it or because someone told them they should: they write because they have something they need to say; something they wish for others to hear.

There is a quote by bestselling author Dani Shapiro that goes, “Why write? To shine a light; to right a wrong; to shape chaos into art; to know what we think; to pose difficult questions; to challenge our own beliefs; to connect. Because we have to.”  Me, I write because I cannot not write. I read because I want to explore.

In retrospect, I am amazed at how heavily literature has impacted my life.

  • What if Tolkien had gotten precariously ill and never regained enough strength to complete Lord of the Rings?
  • What if C. S. Lewis had decided he fancied a medical career rather than a literary one?
  • What if John Green had become a biochemist alongside his brother Hank?
  • What if J. K. Rowling had never written Harry Potter?

What if all of our favorite authors, the essential beacons of the abundant knowledge we have obtained through reading, had not ever considered writing in the first place? Would your life be the same?

Comment and share what books/series/authors you couldn’t live without. 🙂

-Danielle K., 9th grade

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