Book Title:
Read Between the Lines
Book Author:
Jo Knowles
Publishing Date:
March 10, 2015
Candlewick Press
Date Read:
July 30, 2015


Does anyone ever see us for who we really are? Jo Knowles’s revelatory novel of interlocking stories peers behind the scrim as it follows nine teens and one teacher through a seemingly ordinary day.

Thanks to a bully in gym class, unpopular Nate suffers a broken finger—the middle one, splinted to flip off the world. It won’t be the last time a middle finger is raised on this day. Dreamer Claire envisions herself sitting in an artsy café, filling a journal, but fate has other plans. One cheerleader dates a closeted basketball star; another questions just how, as a "big girl," she fits in. A group of boys scam drivers for beer money without remorse—or so it seems. Over the course of a single day, these voices and others speak loud and clear about the complex dance that is life in a small town. They resonate in a gritty and unflinching portrayal of a day like any other, with ordinary traumas, heartbreak, and revenge. But on any given day, the line where presentation and perception meet is a tenuous one, so hard to discern. Unless, of course, one looks a little closer—and reads between the lines.

My Review

I absolutely adored this book.  The characters, their stories, the settings…everything about this book was so well written and captivating, it made me want to read the entire book without taking a break (and with this one, that’s pretty much what I did.  Oops.).

There are ten chapters, each narrated by a different character, all living in the same town.  The stories in this book essentially take place over the course of a day (with a few exceptions, like the background story for the characters), and all of their stories are intertwined.  It reminds me a lot of those movies, such as Crash and 11:14, only in a young adult novel with a high school setting (and it’s infinitely better, by the way).  Although the stories are pretty short, (and I’m pretty sure each character could have their own book, because wow, these are some good stories), they are written in such a way that you can’t help but become attached to each character and wonder what’s next.  Every part of the story is important, especially the social interactions with the other characters, and after two or three stories, you can tell how well each character’s life is fitting in with the others.

The characters all live different lives, and each character has his or her own share of secrets.  From the popular girl who longs for more than just being part of meaningless conversation with her shallow friends, to the young man who secretly wishes his mother would come home so he and his father could stop missing her, to the cheerleader who has a boyfriend who is in love with another boy on the side, these stories are all completely different and gives a little insight into how different our lives really are.  I don’t want to go into detail about the characters or the stories in this book, because I believe that it’s something you really have to read for yourself to truly appreciate.

This book is a wonderful work of young adult fiction that will show you that no one’s life is perfect, and everyone has a side of them that no one else sees.  It is a fantastic read that will stick with you for a long time after you’ve read it, and it will make you really think about what other people are going through – things that you might not know, but are still happening anyway.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 stars
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2 Responses to Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles

  1. Deanna says:

    Yay! I’m glad you loved it! I loved it when I read it, too. Jo Knowles is amazing. I read Jumping Off Swings and Living with Jackie Chan and loved them both.

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