[525]: Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Delacorte Press | Hardcover, 384 pp. | May 19th, 2015 | Young Adult Fiction | Fantasy | Romance | Rating: 5 Stars


I spent the better part of my Saturday and Sunday reading this book. It was divine. A storm is still raging where I am: blustery wind, rains that are falling sideways, with intermittent wet snow. Perfect weather to hunker down with an immersive, highly addictive novel.

I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed this more than its predecessor, Between the Lines. Mostly because all the loose ends from the first book were cleaned up. Edgar wasn’t such a random character any longer, and the impossibility of the romance between Oliver and Delilah was front and centre. It only makes sense that their relationship is not going to be perfect. After all, Oliver lived in a fantasy world where cellphones did not exist, and his world is a place where he knew every single one of its inhabitants.

One of the best things about this book was watching Oliver navigate through life in a constant awe and wonder. Everything is new and unfamiliar. It’s like watching your own child go out into the world the first time around. He got himself into some trouble, but had also become quite the popular guy in high school. He was handsome, with perfect manners, and spoke Shakespearean fluently. The girls adored him, the boys wanted him to be their friends.

While Delilah was overjoyed that an honest-to-goodness Prince Charming fell in love with her, she soon realized that sharing Oliver to the world was not so hot after all. Everyone was vying for his attention and fending off googly-eyed girls was an exhausting task day in and day out.

At the end of the first book, Edgar was more than happy to switch places with Oliver. Primarily because he was tired of being a recluse. Nothing ever happened in his life. He wanted adventure. Well, by switching with Oliver, he got way more than he bargained for. When he changed the plot of the novel into some version of space oddyssey, the book started rejecting it. It suddenly had a mind of its own. Soon it also started replacing characters with the people from Delilah’s world. So it was up to Oliver and Delilah to figure out how to make it right again. The heartbreaking thing about it is the realization that Oliver had to go back.

Honestly, so many things happened in this book, yet they were all bundled cohesively that nothing was out of place. This writing duo had taken Between the Lines and somewhat reinvented it; made it even better somehow. The writing was virtually flawless, flowing with such ease that reading it was not such a hard task. I’ve mentioned this before that I’m not a fantasy reader. But by combining it with contemporary themes makes it seem less daunting and more palatable.

This companion novel is spectacularly good: funny and addictive; new and inventive.  A perfect read for those who are looking for more than just fairy tale retellings. It’s written especially to us, book lovers because it realizes the importance of a reader to a book.

“The book is only half complete without a reader.”  

And it’s true. A book is useless if it will only sit in our shelves unread. If it’s not being read, it’s reduced to words written upon pages of wasted paper. It’s a lesson that comes at a time when I needed one more good reason why I need to put off hoarding books.