Between the Linesby Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer; Emily Bestler/Pulse Books (Simon ?& Schuster, 352 pages ($19.99)Ages 12 and up.

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The best-selling novelist teams up with her teenage daughter for this charming, original fairy tale/teen romance. A handsome book, with old-fashioned color and silhouette illustrations, it plays effectively with the notion of falling in love with a book, or at least a character in a book, and the appealing idea that characters have lives "between the lines" and might yearn to escape the story in which they're trapped. On a more serious note, the book addresses issues of abandonment, parental expectation, bullying and life issues of happiness and self-actualization. Delilah is a 15-year-old loner, with father abandonment issues, who feels a strange kinship for Prince Oliver, handsome hero of an "age-inappropriate" fairy tale "Between the Lines" she found in the school library. Imagine her surprise when one day the prince starts talking to her. The two scheme to find a way to be together in the three-dimensional present day. Different ink colors identify the alternating chapters: black for the fairy tale, blue for Prince Oliver's tale and green for Delilah's. The plot twist at the end is a creative one.

– Jean Westmoore


Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster; Minotaur, 320 pages ($24.99)

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A debut Australian author uncovers a rich vein of atmosphere in the North Yorkshire moors for her intense psychological thriller about a woman trying to rebuild her life after her husband disappears. She uses the sub-genre of the quiet, non-violent English village mystery to gracefully weave in themes of loss, grief and abandonment. Grace and Adam Lockwood have just moved from London with their baby to a village where he has an inherited a cottage. One week after the move, Adam vanishes. Family secrets and tales of ghosts haunt Grace's attempts to find out what happened to her husband.

– McClatchy Newspapers


As Texas Goes: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agendaby Gail Collins; Liveright , 288 pages ($25.95)

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The New York Times columnist examines trends in national politics, charter schools, the economy, the great divide between Democrats and Republicans, and makes the case that Texas is leading the rest of the nation down a rabbit hole. Her premise is that Texas operates from an "empty-world vision." Texans consider themselves so scattered and far-flung that they don't see themselves as particularly urban and resist the idea of big government. This resistance translates in austere fiscal policies and minimal government.

Collins writes that she has been fascinated with Texas and its role on the national stage since 2009 when she heard Gov. Rick Perry tout the idea of secession at a tea party rally. From there, she began to connect the dots to make the case that Texas dominates national politics and that that's not always a good thing. She does a good job of showing how various policies got their footing in Texas, but never really explains why the rest of the nation goes along with them.

– McClatchy Newspapers