• Bijal Patel

What Would a Medieval Prince Do in a Snapchat-Obsessed World?

If you want to encounter another Troy Bolton in a Jumanji, Night at the Museum and A Cinderella Story type of world then this book is for you. Although a part of a sequel, Off the Page works great as a stand-alone book. You don’t need to catch up on the romance between Oliver and Delilah as the mother-daughter authors re-introduce you to the world the characters live in.

To catch up:

Delilah is lonely and finds comfort in a fairy tale story she finds in the library, her fascination with this children’s book grows and so do her feelings for the protagonist, Prince Oliver. Oliver is a hero in his story, he lives a perfect life but his face begins to come to life. Delilah realises he isn’t just a character in a book, but a real person too. Although two-dimensional, Prince Oliver begins to talk and move beyond his illustrations and their passion for each other grows more intense each day. Oliver wishes to be a regular teenager, like Delilah, and so the two plan to transform him from page to the real human world. In the first book of the sequel, Between the Lines, we follow their romance and Delilah’s loneliness whilst Off the Page really brings their story to life as they can physically touch each other.

What happens when Oliver leaves the book?

Well, Oliver leaves the book and becomes a regular boy, but Delilah has a lot to teach him as he’s used to being a valiant prince in a fairy tale. In the real world, Oliver has to go to school and be normal. The couple support and love each other even more than they did when the prince was stuck in the book but as usual, the real world comes with obstacles, mistakes, tears and distress. When one problem is solved, another arises.

The story starts as comedic, as in really funny, as in I actually giggled out loud once or twice as Oliver learns about high school life. This soon took a turn as the couple had to deal with challenges that changed their lives forever, life wasn’t going to be perfect forever as characters between the real world and fairy tale book begin to trade places and everyone has to deal with some sort of trauma.

“There’s a treadmill in Jessamyn Jacob’s spare bedroom, where she runs for an hour every day, going absolutely nowhere. This Delilah has informed me, is exercise. To me, it seems pointless.” – Prince Oliver

A book within a book?

Yes, Off the Page is a book within a book. As context without spoilers, Jessamyn is a mother who is an author and writes for a living. We learn that she wrote Between the Lines for her son Edgar, but we also learn that she wrote Off the Page. Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer are the authors, but they attach a Jessamyn as the author to tie the story together. It ends up from being a witty, funny story to thought-provoking and emotional.

Jessamyn’s book has characters that reflect her real world and family, it is a story familiar to her son’s where he finally gets his happy ending after losing his father. In Jessamyn’s book, her fictional characters come to life, we hear their voices as they reveal their feelings and emotions. The world in which they live in is two-dimensional – time is forever, there are no sudden deaths or illnesses and the princess, queen, magician and mermaids learn to grieve over the loss of one of the fairy tale characters. The real human characters teach the fantasy world characters what death is, how it occurs and how to deal with it. This is a message important to the target young adult audience as the story explores death, mental illness and teenager relationships.

BP’s thoughts:

I hadn’t read a romance in a while; I was eager to read something light-hearted after all the adventure-packed stories I’d read. Everything I came across was political, racial, or dealt with heavy issues in general. Yes, this book was a funny teenage romance, but it was also emotional. The ending is heart-wrenching as we follow the story of a dying mother and mourning son. I closed the book, my heart filled with both love and sadness as Jessamyn and her son get their happily ever after and so do Delilah and Prince Oliver. The ending is bitter-sweet, it’s not how I would have wanted the book to end but as stated in the last words, everyone has their own story to tell.

“... stories are all around us, caught in the throats of the strangers you walk past and scrawled on the pages of locked diaries…”

Reading from different points of views is an experience as we understand how Delilah and Oliver feel about each other. Delilah expresses her irritation and undying love for Oliver, whilst Oliver tells us how he is becomes accustomed to ordinary life.

Off the Page has made me realise that a story can be sweet and sour, bitter and content, with humour and dismay. I would giggle in one chapter and overthink the purpose of life in the next. Personally, the second book is better than the first and the comedy in Off the Page balances out the tragedies and the read was an overall 4/5 stars.

Don’t waste your time reading the first book and enjoy Delilah and Oliver’s pursuit of love and a happily ever after in the second book, Off the Page…

P.S.: To my hopeless romantics and High School Musical fans, this book is for you.

Happy reading x

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