2013 Pocket Books (first published in 2007)
Finished on March 1, 2021
Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good!)
Jodi Picoult, bestselling author of My Sister's Keeper and Small Great Things pens her most riveting book yet, with a startling and poignant story about the devastating aftermath of a small-town tragedy.
Sterling is an ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens--until the day its complacency is shattered by a school shooting. Josie Cormier, the daughter of the judge sitting on the case, should be the state's best witness, but she can't remember what happened before her very own eyes--or can she? As the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show--destroying the closest of friendships and families. Nineteen Minutes asks what it means to be different in our society, who has the right to judge someone else, and whether anyone is ever really who they seem to be.
She did it again! Great book!
I am trying to read more books from my shelves of backlist titles and Nineteen Minutes caught my eye. I have read almost all of Jodi Picoult's books, but somehow never got around to this one. In spite of the length (the mass market edition is over 600 pages), I finished it in less than a week. I was completely engrossed in the story and didn't want to stop reading at the end of the day. Picoult is a great storyteller and her characters are so well drawn that I felt like I knew them, but there were times when I questioned her portrayal of the students. I never encountered such vicious bullying when I was in high school, but apparently things have gotten much worse over time, as reflected in the numerous school shootings across our country. This provocative work doesn't ask the question "Why?" but rather shows exactly what led to the final breakdown in the shooter's mind.
Nineteen Minutes is an unsettling read and a powerful examination of cliques and bullying. What can we as a society do to help our children navigate the cruelties in this world without resorting to violence? How do we recognize the signs of a troubled individual? How to we teach children to be kinder to one another? The answers might seem obvious, but there is still a disconnect and we continue to fail our children.
Aware that Picoult always has a plot twist, I looked for clues as I read and was able to correctly predict the final outcome. The book isn't intended to be a mystery, so I wasn't disappointed that the denouement was a little obvious.
Click on any title to read my review of other books by Jodi Picoult.
A Spark of Light (4/5)
Sing You Home (4.5/5)
Handle With Care (4/5)
Change of Heart (4.75/5)
Harvesting the Heart (2.5/5)
Plain Truth (4/5)