Books & Writing

Off the Page by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer: Book Review

Off the Page

Obtained: Penguin Random House, ARC
Pages: 384
Publish date: May 19, 2015
Rating: DNF

I was under the impression that Off the Page was a companion novel rather than a sequel to its counterpart Between the Lines, and I suppose it is in a way. I wasn’t too lost while I was reading and the authors kept me up to speed with any possibly-confusing back stories. But as you can see by the rating, I didn’t finish the book and I have a few reasons as to why.

But first I want to start with the positives: the hardcover copy of this novel is absolutely gorgeous. The jacket, the cover itself, and once you peek inside, there are beautiful illustrations and the text is coloured differently to ensure that the audience knows which of the book’s three protagonists is speaking. I have an art class coming up where I need to bring an old hardcover book I’m willing to get a little ruined, and even though I didn’t like this book in particular, I couldn’t bring myself to hurt it.

I also thought the story was quite refreshing and new: we have Delilah, a normal human girl who had fallen for a prince, Oliver, in a fairytale book and helped him to escape the pages of the book (in the previous novel). In Off the Page we see Delilah and Oliver’s happily ever after as she teaches him how to be a boy in her high school.

There were just a few bones I had to pick with the book that made it unable for me to continue reading. To me, the writing was a little immature. YA lit can be for a young audience and still be smart and creative. I felt this book fell into all of the typical cliche high school plot holes that I could have imagined. I was also getting absolutely no character development from Delilah. She was just a love sick puppy over her new boyfriend and got mad at him for regular dumb high school things, causing drama, which died out by the next chapter, when she loved him again and the drama was forgotten. Which brings me to my final point of this review.

I put it down because I was offended. Delilah’s best friend, Jules, is a punk, vegan, feminist chick with a grown-out mohawk, and I really wanted to see more of her. The two girls end up going on a double date, and even though Jules is NOT that kind of girl, she apparently spends hours giggling with her friend and choosing an outfit and doing make up because apparently “it’s a girl thing”. They ruined the only character I liked in a single sentence. I won’t mention all of these instances, but for two female writers creating this story, I felt like all of the girls in this book were static, typical “girls” and these two women (one of whom I know is extremely talented) could have created far more dynamic characters.

Overall, I believe that if you read Between the Linesyou’ll probably get more out of Off the Page than I did. And if the story sounds interesting to you, I recommend looking into the series because it had me intrigued for a while. If anyone completes the book and finds out that the moral of the story was, in fact, that real life isn’t a fairytale and girls should stop trying so hard to make it so, please tell me and I will for sure give this book another chance.

Off the Page is available online at Chapters Indigo and Kobo.

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