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Second Glance [Paperback]

Jodi Picoult
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Ross Wakeman succeeded the first time he killed himself, but not the second or the third. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you on your toes June 13 2004
This is a great book. The story grabbed me from the beginning, and I really enjoyed the way the author fleshes out each character. I do not agree with some of the comments that the structure of the story is too confusing or that the author jumps around too much. Just the opposite, I found that the way the story jumps from character to character was one of the things that kept me on my toes, and helped to tie the characters together throughout the book. This is the first book by Jodi Picoult I have read, but I will definitely be getting more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ghost story, mystery, historical novel July 10 2003
SECOND GLANCE starts off rather clunky with Picoult introducing at least a dozen characters, all with their own viewpoints. It's hard to know who's really important.
The lead character, Ross Wakeman, is a kind of ghost buster with suicidal tendencies. He wants to join his fiancée, Aimie, who had been killed in a car accident that he feels guilty about. He's already tried to kill himself a couple of times.
Newton Redhook, a development company, hires Wakeman to prove there are no ghosts on property it has acquired from an old man named Spencer Pike. Stephen Kingisms abound. Rose petals fall from the sky, the ground freezes in the middle of August, the town drunk wakes one morning with his straight hair turned curly,
and while Ross is videotaping the place, he meets a woman who seems as mortal as he is, until she walks through a gravestone. But it's too late; he's already fallen in love with another dead woman.
Gradually, very gradually, Picoult begins to connect the people she introduced at the beginning of the book and that's when it gets good. You see, Spencer Pike, owner of the haunted land, had a wife who was apparenty murdered along with her baby daughter and she's the woman Ross has fallen for.
Picoult very adroitly uses historical background to make SECOND GLANCE more than just a ghost story. You see, back when he was a young man, Spencer Pike was one of the prime movers of the Eugenics movement, a "voluntary" sterilization project which the Nazis used as a model for their own program. Pike and his fellow scientists believed criminal behavior was inherited and could be eliminated by preventing these people from passing on their genes.
Throw in a 102-year-old Abenaki Indian with multiple identifies and you've got an enthralling summer read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary May 23 2004
By j.s.
"Second Glance" is one of those books that, although minimally intriguing and ultimately standard upon first inspection, is actually an extremely well constructed, well written novel that will leave any book lover breathless with appreciation and admiration.
The book picks up steam quickly, introducing many characters in a short amount of time and then spends the rest of the book fleshing out those characters and tying them together. Without giving anything away, "Second Glance" is a ghost story set in the present, a portrait of horrifying historial truth set in the 1920s, and a truly unique character study that successfully brings the reader to fully know and understand the dozen or so characters introduced along the way.
Author Jodi Picoult should not only be praised for her polished prose and an admirably complex plot, but for shedding light on shocking facts from our country's history and taking a stance on modern-day medical practices without being overly preachy.
This review may sound jumbled and not coherent, but that is how the book often feels. In the end, though, it all comes together wonderfully. Read this novel if you like old-fashioned ghost stories / mysteries, historial fiction, or in depth character studies with supernatural plot twists along for the ride. The book isn't short by any means, and it doesn't feel short. The information could easily have been given (by a lesser author) in a smaller amount of pages, but the added length results in the more fully-developed characters. This novel isn't a thriller (although it contains thrills) and its supernatural premise may attract horror fans, but its really just a supernatural love story. Find your cheap thrills elsewhere. This is a much deeper, complex, and heartfelt drama about love and the ghosts that are created out of it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ghost story or history lesson? May 8 2004
"Do we love across time? Or in spite of it?"
That's the theme that Jodi Picoult examines in SECOND GLANCE. By the end of the novel, I'm still not sure of the answer to that question. And as far as I can tell, the characters couldn't figure it out either. Perhaps it's meant to be an eternal mystery, but one thing's for sure: a number of people get hopelessly entangled in each other's lives while trying to unravel the mysteries of the past in this novel.
Ross Wakeman has tried to kill himself so many times, he's lost track. The only thing he lives for is catching a glimpse of his deceased fiancée, but he's never so much as even seen a ghost. He works as a paranormal investigator, and his travels bring him to Comtosook, Vermont, to visit with his sister, Shelby. While there, he finds more clues pointing to the existence of ghosts than ever before, and he meets beautiful and intriguing Lea Beaumont, a woman who stirs feelings in his heart he never thought he'd feel again. But what mysteries is she hiding? And will Ross ever be the same after finding out?
There are a whole slew of characters making their way through this novel, so take that as a warning. You might need to scribble down names and relationships even before you finish the first chapter. Though the plotline seems entangled, it all wraps up nicely (if not quite satisfyingly) in the end. Jodi Picoult has written a novel that's an interesting blend of ghost story and history lesson, though it may bore some readers with its foray into the eugenics movement of the 1930s. The characterization is also weak at times, as evidenced by Ross' complete inability to differentiate between love and obsession with the idea of love.
Pick this one up if you're looking for an interesting read, but don't expect a page turner.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another good story.
Published 1 month ago by dufferingirl
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift
This was given as a gift to a young person and she was very excited to receive it as she loves Jodi Picoult.
Published 9 months ago by Lorraine Hodgins
4.0 out of 5 stars second glance
For some reason it took me a few chapters to get into this book. I am a Big Jodi Picolt fan and got pleasantly surprised as the story kept my interest until the last page. Read more
Published on March 10 2011 by curtis3246
5.0 out of 5 stars Whoa! Where has THIS book been?
I was blown away by this book--by its subject material. This is a marvelous story based on fact in the state of Vermont and the sterilazation laws that were passed. Read more
Published on July 28 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Second Glance Review
Being a huge fan of Jodi Picoult, I give this book 3/5 stars. It took me about 200 pages into it until it got fairly exciting. Read more
Published on June 10 2004 by "dianne111"
3.0 out of 5 stars Love or unresolved grief?
Having read many of Jodi Picoult's books, I have to say that this book was a step outside the box for her. Read more
Published on May 25 2004 by Danielle Davis
3.0 out of 5 stars Second Glance...not quite.
This story was just barely above a snooze-fest for me. 3 stars is being generous. The main character was not very likeable and it was hard to identify with his perspective on life... Read more
Published on May 9 2004 by Pilar Spurgeon
2.0 out of 5 stars Well crafted, but contrived.
Jodi's books have good plots, a twist, a nice legal battle and enough emotion thrown in to make for a great beach read. It aint literature, however, nor will it change your life. Read more
Published on May 6 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Jodi Picoult's research into the history of the eugenics movement in the United States made for very interesting reading. Read more
Published on April 26 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting
Second Glance is an amazing novel, which careens across genre boundaries so energetically that it's difficult to describe (or design a cover for, judging by the results). Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2003 by Stephen Dedman
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