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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
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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5.0 out of 5 stars This book hits home on all levels May 25 2014
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This shows how quickly ones life can change in a blink of an eye. Loved this book! Recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book Jan. 9 2014
By Karen
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I originally borrowed this book from a library then bought 2 copies for Christmas gifts for my daughter & my mother in law.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome July 6 2013
By Jill
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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. Very well written!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nineteen Minutes review March 27 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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. I vaguely suspected, who the very surprising murderer was. i couldn't put my finger on it but i think there were very suble hints in behaviors that made me suspect who the murder was, but in a way I was also suprised. Like I said, it was a very vague suspistion. I would recommend anyone to read it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great One from Jodi Picoult March 6 2013
By Jen101
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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.
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3.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... Jan. 2 2013
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
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 his New Hampshire high school with a knapsack full of guns and kills ten students. With over a thousand witnesses and a video tape of the day's events against him, Houghton's lawyer Jordan McAfee has his work cut out for him. He bases his defence on the only plea that might save Peter: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by bullying.

"Nineteen Minutes" also features Judge Alex Cormier and her daughter Josie, who used to be best friends with Peter until the popular crowd forced the limits of her loyalty. Picoult mixes McAfee's attempt to build a case for Peter with the mending relationship of Alex and Josie but the more interesting thread is Peter's parents' response to the tragedy. Could they have done anything to prevent the tragedy? How can they keep loving their son after he commits murder?

Unfortunately, the novel slows by the middle and never regains its initial pace or appeal. Picoult fails to flesh Peter out beyond stereotype, focusing only on her twisting plot line. A premise with much potential falters in its exploration of what turns a recluse into a murderer.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good story... until the end July 11 2012
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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. She drags the story on and then in end twists the ending and completly ruins it by rushing the plot at the end. Could have been a lot better.
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