There's nothing fair about a fairy tale.
It's true: the princesses are always beautiful in fairy tales, and nobody ever has zits. They all live in castles, never in small apartments or houses with messy kitchens. And the fairy-tale prince is always smart and handsome, which is so unlike the dweeb in algebra who kept asking you out this year.
Fairy tales? Maybe they should be called un-fairy tales.
That's what 15-year-old Delilah thought, too, until she stumbled upon a secret in an illustrated kid's book. As you'll see in the new novel by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer, Delilah needed to look "Between the Lines."
From the moment he was born, Oliver's future was mapped out for him.
He had little choice, in fact, because his mother was Queen and his father was King. It was inevitable, therefore, that Prince Oliver would someday rule the kingdom.
The problem was that the kingdom ended on page 60-something. Oliver's life was predestined because he was a character in a book, end of story. His actions were part of the plot. His existence was written in ink, but his mind went way beyond paper.
None of the other characters in the fairy tale ever thought about life outside the pages, for instance, but Oliver did. What would it be like to escape page 43, or page 26? He always wondered as he sneak-peeked at the faces peering into the book. One of the faces -- a repeat reader -- really captured his imagination.
She was older than most fairy tale fans, with silky hair and beautiful eyes. He wished there was a way to really know her.
Delilah hated her life. She hated school, she hated that she was a klutz, and she hated the popular girls. Was it any surprise that books were her escape?
This children's fairy tale book, though, that was a surprise. Even Delilah herself couldn't completely understand why she was obsessed with it and had to read it dozens of times.
But then she spotted an illustration she'd never seen before.
And then she spotted movement within the pages.
And then the handsome prince-drawing talked to her!
For ages, you've been borrowing your Mom's Jodi Picoult books and she seems kind of tired of it. So maybe it's payback time: get a copy of this book and wait. It won't be long before she'll be asking to borrow your novel for once.
That's because "Between the Lines" is cute and very clever, with delightful plot surprises and characters you'll pull for. Picoult spins her typical magic here, in tandem with her daughter, Samantha Van Leer, to create a story that will appeal to anyone who ever wished that fairy tales were real, that characters might come to life, or that a prince was just a page away.
Meant for teens ages 12 to 17, this book is definitely going to be popular with a much wider audience hungry for Picoult. If that's you, reading "Between the Lines" will make you feel happily ever after.
"Between the Lines," by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer, copyright 2012 by Emily Bestler Books/Atria, is 356 pages and sells for $19.99.
Contact book reviewer Terri Schlichenmeyer at www.bookwormsez.com.