I've only ever read one other Jodi Picoult novel, Change of Heart, which I bought after feeling very remiss at not reading her when the rest of the world was.
NINETEEN MINUTES intrigued me because I found it in the YA section.
Here's the synopsis:
In Sterling, New Hampshire, 17-year-old high school student Peter Houghton has endured years of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of classmates. His best friend, Josie Cormier, succumbed to peer pressure and now hangs out with the popular crowd that often instigates the harassment. One final incident of bullying sends Peter over the edge and leads him to commit an act of violence that forever changes the lives of Sterling’s residents.
Even those who were not inside the school that morning find their lives in an upheaval, including Alex Cormier. The superior court judge assigned to the Houghton case, Alex—whose daughter, Josie, witnessed the events that unfolded—must decide whether or not to step down. She’s torn between presiding over the biggest case of her career and knowing that doing so will cause an even wider chasm in her relationship with her emotionally fragile daughter. Josie, meanwhile, claims she can’t remember what happened in the last fatal minutes of Peter’s rampage. Or can she? And Peter’s parents, Lacy and Lewis Houghton, ceaselessly examine the past to see what they might have said or done to compel their son to such extremes.
Rich with psychological and social insight, Nineteen Minutes is a riveting, poignant, and thought-provoking novel that has at its center a haunting question. Do we ever really know someone?
While the subject matter of this novel horrified me (more so because it happens in real life and devastates families and communities) the book itself intrigued.
The characters were well-motivated and very real, building empathy to the point of wanting to see Peter, the main character, exonerated for his crimes. And that's the sign of a good writer, when the reader starts rooting for the bad guys!
The pages flew by, a sure sign of a winner.
I must add more Jodi Picoult novels to my TBR pile.
What are you reading this week?