SHORT & SWEET REVIEW: OFF THE PAGE BY JODI PICOULT & SAMANTHA VAN LEER

Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet). 

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Fans of Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer’s young adult book Between The Lines will be enchanted by its sequel, Off the Page. Set both between the pages of a fairy tale-style book and in the present-day, Off the Page continues the story of a fairy-tale prince who falls in love with a modern-day teenager, and their adventures on and off the page. Here’s the blurb:

Meet Oliver, a prince literally taken from the pages of a fairy tale and transported into the real world. Meet Delilah, the girl who wished Oliver into being. It’s a miracle that seems perfect at first – but there are complications. To exist in Delilah’s world, Oliver must take the place of a regular boy. Enter Edgar, who agrees to play Oliver’s role in the pages of Delilah’s favourite book. But just when it seems that the plan will work, everything gets turned upside down.

In this multilayered universe, the line between what is on the page and what is possible is blurred, but all must be resolved for the characters to live happily ever after.

Off the Page is a tender and appealing romantic novel filled with humour, adventure and magical relationships.

Filled with fairy tale themes of love, rescue and starting over (as well as castles and talking animals), Off the Page offers plenty of young love, adventure and world-jumping for the young adult market. As readers we are used to entering the world of a book, but the novel takes this a step further, with the characters leaping in and out of a fairytale, fulfilling many a young reader’s wish. In addition to the fairy tale elements, the plot continues to dip into the angsty world of teens, with van Leer (now a college student) adding great insight here. The novel employs the same multiple perspective formula as Picoult’s adult novels – it works, so why not? In this case, Oliver and Edgar’s voices felt stronger, perhaps because they were the ones dealing with living in an unfamiliar world.

As with Between the Lines, the illustrations are a great touch, adding to the sense that the reader is entering a fairy tale world. The writing is good but nothing stand-out. It is a little flowery at times on the love front and young readers who cover their faces at kissing scenes may need to skip a few paragraphs … there’s lots of kissing (but that’s all). There is a happy ever after, but it’s both expected and unexpected, and also leaves the spin-off door open for two secondary characters. For me, it was a fast, nice read that I’ll be passing on to Miss 14; I sense that she will thoroughly enjoy the book.

Available from good bookstores (RRP $24.99AU). My copy was courtesy of Allen & Unwin.