What happens when a happily-ever-after is no longer guaranteed?
Picoult and van Leer, her co-author daughter, explore the real-life consequences when two star-crossed, teen lovers leave the certainty of the fictive page and give their romance a test run in the real world. In the somewhat cluttered and chaotic sequel to Between the Lines (2012), Oliver, a once-fictional charming prince, and his doppelgänger, Edgar, the lonely teen son of the author of Oliver’s fairy tale, have swapped places. Edgar now resides between the covers of the book, and Oliver is braving three-dimensional high school life with his one true love, Delilah. Not surprisingly, things don’t go quite as planned. The swap has consequences, and as the fictional book attempts to restore order, characters from both worlds suddenly find themselves jumping on and off the pages. Watching Oliver navigate the perils of high school provides some easy laughs, and his romance with Delilah remains fairy-tale sweet, even as his rising popularity complicates things between them. But it’s secondary characters, like Delilah’s tough-as-nails best friend, Jules, who provide the most entertainment. Readers will likely find themselves anxiously awaiting their arrivals in scenes.
Though it lacks the depth of Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart series, the story is at its best when it’s taken as a metafictive exploration of the relationship between a reader and a beloved book. (Fantasy. 10-14)