Off The Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer Reviewed by Natalie Silva

Off The Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
Reviewed by Natalie Silva

You know, I know a lot of words. Potato. Thermos. Pencil. Communism. But I don’t think that I know the words to describe Off The Page a very refreshing and adorable romance that beautifully weaves together fairy tales and modern life. Where literally every fan girl and boys’ dream comes true because their most beloved fictional character is not fictional and madly in love with you! So this novel is something to be envied. With its layering like a tiered cake to create a tasty masterpiece featuring a prince, a princess, a bookworm, a video gamer and two best friends — who are all hilarious and are given a moment to shine as bright as a dog star.
Although I have not read the companion novel Between The Lines, I don’t think that it is entirely necessary. There isn’t a prologue or “what’s happened so far” page, but there is an exceptional amount of exposition that sets the stage of the current circumstances, but ultimately thrusts the reader into this world where books talk back and where wishes can come true. This novel is a very well done and very through with the world that entrances the reader in a way where no counterpart would be pivotal to fully experiencing this tale. But that’s not too say that I haven’t ordered a copy because I am quite interested in seeing the beginning of Oliver and Delilah’s relationship. Since if the beginning of their relationship is anything like where Off The Page picks off from Between The Lines surely will be full of impassioned speeches and Shakespearean quotations and let’s be real the most adorably cliched thing ever.
Now before I launch into the phenomenal characters and fantastic storytelling, let me first comment on the style of this novel -since it’s a bit different than most styles that have seen- There are three character perspectives given and one anonymous scribbler (I dare you to take a guess of who it is!) all which have their own font color that really helps one keep everything in line who is speaking. And let me just say that I was quite refreshing to not read black font, but to instead see green, blue, brown and teal. So to say the least I greatly appreciated that along with all the full color illustrations and little black and white chapter heading drawings would be an understatement. It was a very creative and pleasing idea. So, bravo there!
Alright, alright, on to the story as I said is as layered as a scrumptious tiered cake! Where upon reading the back of the book some potential readers, myself included, may think that this is an awesome concept, but may not be great in practice. Since the tale of star crossed lovers may only be about, well, star crossed lovers attempting to make their relationship perfect, but then there is so much more there than this. Yeah, there is a bit of jealousy and a dramatic flair, but Oliver is literally a prince from a children’s novel so you know that’s just his character, but then there are these other stories featuring lovers destined to be apart, the relationship between a mother and son and also some crazy adventures of people experiencing the three dimensional world. Now, something that I found to be quite provocative and appealing in this novel was considered to be “reality” and wasn’t discounted as a fantasy. Which made the characters and realm so much more realistic and gave it for depth (even if it was two dimensional!) since no character’s experiences or feeling were discounted because they were considered less real. There is actually a point in the story )no spoilers, I swear) where a character something along the lines that says “we all have authors.” And that string of words has really resonated with me since it is true that you and I have authors, people who have contributed to our stories, character development and provides a new take on fate where something’s cannot be controlled more because of your character/personality then because the world (or book) is against you. Off The Page actually poses the question if our lives’ are written for us and by whom? So that’s something for readers to keep in mind.
Ok, now on to the fun part; characters! As stated prior there are three perspectives taken on with this novel so let’s begin with the in chronological order! So Delilah’s up first and she is our bookish, quite, well organized and strong willed heroine who so enviable with how she  gets to date her favorite fictional character. Although she is so admirable with how well she prepared for Oliver when he transferred into the three dimensional world, she definitely made sure her Prince Charming wouldn’t stand out for his lack of twenty-first century technology and culture (but she couldn’t control that he would be popular because he was hot and charismatic). I admired Delilah’s optimism for when she needed to be an anchor of hope, but realistic at all other times. She is very mature and collected even for someone who is infatuated with Disney princesses and children’s fairy tales. And that mix of attributes stirred together created an astounding woman who thrusts herself wholeheartedly into whatever she is doing and is stubborn enough to never be told otherwise. Now for our Prince Charming Oliver the boy who has been sixteen his whole life, but recently has discovered the wonders of the world like rain, the SATs and drama club! He is charismatic and enthralling, but very naive about this new world which is a recipe for disaster, but for a reader can be quite entertaining. Oliver reminded me of how many simple everyday things like showers, Betty Crocker cake boxes and rain I take for granted (except for rain, I live in California and would also dance out in the street if the sky began crying again). Even for such an adorable character there were times when be blunders and caused some scenes that out Delilah under a lot of stress, but always remained the perfect and most endearing boyfriend ever! Also his observations of the three dimensional world were quite astounding and thoughtful, made me start thinking of things in new lights. Alrighty, now onto Edgar our awkward sci-fi video game addicted teenager who switches places with Oliver. He looks almost exactly like him although he is a lot less social and probably experiences the most change throughout the book. He craved adventure and didn’t really have any friends in the beginning, but by the end he has so many and he becomes a true and valiant hero. Edgar becomes such an amazing person who I cannot properly describe without spoiling this novel, but just watching him befriend the other characters and evolve into such a considerate and empathetic character is awe inspiring. Ok, there are many many more characters that I could fawn over, but won’t because this review would end up being one million pages long. So my few honorable mentions are; Jules, Seraphima, and Chris who were all very solid and fun characters who I wish that I got to know a bit better since they we all so cool. Seriously some of the most touching and hilarious moments surround these characters.
I guess this is the end of my review where I scraped the surface of this touching romance. It was fun and I congratulate you, Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer, for creating such a sweet story that took me on an amazing adventure, you both make quite the dynamic duo.