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Nineteen Minutes: A novel [Mass Market Paperback]

Jodi Picoult
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 22 2013
The bestselling author of My Sister’s Keeper and The Tenth Circle, Jodi Picoult 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 an act of violence. Josie Cormier, the teenage 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.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Bestseller Picoult (My Sister's Keeper) takes on another contemporary hot-button issue in her brilliantly told new thriller, about a high school shooting. Peter Houghton, an alienated teen who has been bullied for years by the popular crowd, brings weapons to his high school in Sterling, N.H., one day and opens fire, killing 10 people. Flashbacks reveal how bullying caused Peter to retreat into a world of violent computer games. Alex Cormier, the judge assigned to Peter's case, tries to maintain her objectivity as she struggles to understand her daughter, Josie, one of the surviving witnesses of the shooting. The author's insights into her characters' deep-seated emotions brings this ripped-from-the-headlines read chillingly alive. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Popular and prolific Picoult (My Sister's Keeper, and The Tenth Circle , 2006) now tackles the troubling topic of a school shooting. Picoult considers the tragedy--in 19 quick minutes, 10 are dead and 19 are wounded--from several different perspectives, including that of the shooter, a troubled boy named Peter, who was mercilessly picked on at school. The small town of Sterling is rocked by the carnage. Alex Cormier is the superior court judge planning to hear the case, but her daughter, Josie, Peter's only friend during childhood but now a member of the in crowd, was in the midst of the melee. Peter spared Josie, but killed her boyfriend. Two characters from previous Picoult novels are also involved. Charismatic detective Patrick DuCharme rushes into the school and apprehends Peter, and Jordan McAfee agrees to defend the young killer. Every bit as gripping and moving as Picoult's previous novels, Nineteen Minutes will no doubt garner considerable attention for its controversial subject and twist ending. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
We've read about too many school shootings. These are intensely sad events as young lives are ended and harmed while sickening fear is permanently released to further separate communities. We all blame the parents for being so clueless.

I wasn't sure I wanted to read a long novel about such an event. But I'm glad I did. Nineteen Minutes takes the bare facts of such an awful day and helps us see the whole experience from every perspective. And the book does so with a kind and gentle heart.

This shifting of the balance of our perceptions is accomplished by several well-performed techniques including many narrators (different students, three parents, the police, the defense attorney, and his wife), connections among the characters, and multiple back stories that reach literally into the womb. The book's theme is far more universal than school shootings: How we grow away from our real selves and the damage that does to us and others.

I was very impressed by the way that Ms. Picoult viewed every character with mostly sympathy, even when you might think of them as being unsympathetic from the facts. Each character is also mildly funny. She doesn't let the tragedy pull us too far away from the realities of everyday life. It's an extraordinary storytelling gift.

If you are like me, you'll probably feel that your faith in people is increased by reading this story rather than the reverse. That reaction also surprised me.

No matter what your age is I think you'll find this book will draw you back into those turbulent teen years when being popular meant way too much. It'll be an intense and self-revealing visit.

Bravo, Ms. Picoult! This is a remarkable book.

Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Picoult's Best! June 9 2007
Format:Hardcover
As one of the previous reviewers stated, I too was leary about reading about another school shooting, but decided to start the book and then decide whether or not to finish it. I couldn't put it down! Instead of a sappy book that tries to psychoanalyze the shooter and play on the reader's emotions, I was immersed in the story. Picoult does an amazing job of taking on an issue that is unfortunatley becoming too commonplace to the point that we are now desensitized to it and there is now only media coverage in the event of MASS casualty. She so gently shows that we are all to blame for these events. What particularly stood out for me was how many of the characters other than the shooter commit acts of violence on a daily basis whether in supposedly harmless teasing and playing pranks on "geeks", relationship violence, "mean girls", etc. that are socially acceptable. Yet it is the shooter that is singled out as being the villian. The real tradegy is that, without excusing his final act of retaliation, it is HE that really is the victim of society's norms of "being successful and making it in the world" (whether it be academic success, popularlity, fashion & beauty, etc.). Picoult exposes how we compromise our values and integrity to "fit in" and in so doing, deeply hurt others - not just ourselves. This book evoked alot of emotion and stayed with me for days after finishing it. You can't read this book without self-examination - how I relate to other people on a daily basis and my motives. Nineteen Minutes should be on the reading list of every high school Literature class.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nineteen Minutes June 4 2007
Format:Hardcover
Jodi Picoult leaves readers with ambiguous questions by painting a portrait of social ostracism and climbing in schools as character personas are broken down. Every word captures and compels self discovery and reflection as Picoult is very truthful with her characters. Consequences resonate from every action as readers comprehend the repercussions that continue after every situation. Although Peter Houghton attacked the bullies, the victims of the shooting, one cannot disregard sympathy towards Peter and his motifs as the thin line between right and wrong blurs.

After reading Nineteen Minutes, shivers engulf your body regarding the similarities between the novel's school shooting, occurring in a period of nineteen minutes, and the strikingly similar Virginia Tech shooting. The novel alludes to various world changing events such as 9/11 and the Indian Ocean earthquake. It took nineteen minutes for Peter to kill 10 people. In 12 short seconds one of the World Trade Centres collapsed, contributing to the 2,595 dead. Lasting for ten minutes, the Indian Ocean earthquake effects were felt all over the globe, literally vibrating the world by a centimetre. Picoult's emphasis on what one can do in nineteen minutes provided a notable underlying component within the novel.

Picoult demonstrates there is no restriction on what one can achieve in nineteen minutes. Within nineteen minutes, the WTC collapsed, a 9.3 earthquake was created and Peter got revenge. The novel reveals that time does not restrict your actions as only you can control yourself and destiny.

"In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world; or you can just jump off it."

What would you do in nineteen minutes?
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
We've read about too many school shootings. These are intensely sad events as young lives are ended and harmed while sickening fear is permanently released to further separate communities. We all blame the parents for being so clueless.

I wasn't sure I wanted to read a long novel about such an event. But I'm glad I did. Nineteen Minutes takes the bare facts of such an awful day and helps us see the whole experience from every perspective. And the book does so with a kind and gentle heart.

This shifting of the balance of our perceptions is accomplished by several well-performed techniques including many narrators (different students, three parents, the police, the defense attorney, and his wife), connections among the characters, and multiple back stories that reach literally into the womb. The book's theme is far more universal than school shootings: How we grow away from our real selves and the damage that does to us and others.

I was very impressed by the way that Ms. Picoult viewed every character with mostly sympathy, even when you might think of them as being unsympathetic from the facts. Each character is also mildly funny. She doesn't let the tragedy pull us too far away from the realities of everyday life. It's an extraordinary storytelling gift.

If you are like me, you'll probably feel that your faith in people is increased by reading this story rather than the reverse. That reaction also surprised me.

No matter what your age is I think you'll find this book will draw you back into those turbulent teen years when being popular meant way too much. It'll be an intense and self-revealing visit.

Bravo, Ms. Picoult! This is a remarkable book.

Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful to you?
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book. Couldn't put it down
Amazing book. Couldn't put it down.
Published 1 month ago by Sharron Carriere
5.0 out of 5 stars This book hits home on all levels
This shows how quickly ones life can change in a blink of an eye. Loved this book! Recommend this book.
Published 4 months ago by Joyce Hurd
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
I originally borrowed this book from a library then bought 2 copies for Christmas gifts for my daughter & my mother in law.
Published 9 months ago by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
This was the second book of Jodi Picoult that I have read and I am looking forward to reading more. She tackles difficult topics and brings depth and scope to them. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jill
5.0 out of 5 stars Nineteen Minutes review
I really was engrossed and finished the book in one long, "I can't sleep!" night. It was interesting, well written and kept my attention. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Marion Bruce
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great One from Jodi Picoult
This was my 3rd Jodi Picoult book. Wow. She's such an amazing story teller! Tragic story, wonderfully told. She hasn't disappointed me yet.
Published 19 months ago by Jen101
3.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts...
Maybe 3.5 stars...

Jodi Picoult’s 14th novel begins with high-voltage excitement: seventeen-year-old Peter Houghton, an eternally bullied computer programmer, walks into... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Reader Writer Runner
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story... until the end
I liked the story and the characters in the book. I was extremely disapointed in the end as I am with most of Picoult's books. Read more
Published on July 11 2012 by amazonaddict
1.0 out of 5 stars A boring chour to read
I read a lot of books in my spare time and I love to read but This book is really hard to get into for the first 200 pages. Read more
Published on April 9 2012 by SwitchKnife
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldnt put the book down
This story really makes you look back at your childhood and ahead at your children's and hope that everyone is more thoughtful towards each others needs. Read more
Published on March 8 2012 by ilovebooks
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