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Nineteen Minutes: A novelA high school student, bullied for years by his classmates, opens fire at school and kills 10 people.  It’s a tragedy that doesn’t just happen in stories.  In her newest book, Picoult looks at the events that precede and follow a school shooting.  As she always does, Picoult examines the shooting from multiple perspectives, including that of the shooter, the shooter’s parents, the shooting victims, their parents, the lawyers and the police.  This book wasn’t quite as predictable as some of her recent books have been.  I was really drawn in to her examination of the effects of bullying, what schools are and are not doing to protect kids, and what the desire to be popular will do to a child.  Nineteen Minutes illustrates the many dangers that our children face each day, and reading it made me so thankful that God is watching over my family, and is leading us through the dangers and hard times that we face.

The Tenth Circle

25th March 2006

The Tenth Circle : A NovelWhen 14 year old Trixie is raped by a friend at a party, her life is torn apart, and her family is shocked. Both her father, Daniel, and her mother, Laura, come together to care for their daughter and seek justice for the crime commited against her. As is typical with Picoult’s books, she sets up what looks like a cut and dry plot with an obvious bad guy, and then begins to taunt you with facts and alternative points of view that don’t fit the crime as you know it. However, if you are familiar with Picoult’s writing, this won’t surprise you, and neither will the true identity of the culprit.

The one unique feature of this novel is the mini-graphic novel that is inserted throughout. Trixie’s father is a cartoonist, and his “novel” appears throughout the book. The plot of his graphic novel correlates and explains what is happening in the main novel. And at the end, Picoult gives the reader a puzzle to solve based on the cartoons, which seems a bit childish, but of course, I couldn’t resist figuring it out.

A fairly typical book for Picoult, focuisng on a mother trying to protect her child, and of course concluding with the ever present court case. What makes this book a little bit different is that the child – Faith – is receiving visits from God, in the form of a woman. Faith is also able to heal people, and has stigmata. It sounds stranger in summary than it did in the book. My biggest complaint is that the ending was weak.

Vanishing Acts : A NovelDelia lives in New Hampshire with her daughter and father. She’s making plans to marry her childhood sweetheart and boyfriend, when she receives some shocking news that changes her life. Delia must now come to terms with a past that she didn’t remember. I won’t say more, or I’ll spoil the mysteries of the book, which were fairly suspenseful.

Typical Picoult book. The basic premise of many of her books (Vanishing Acts; Perfect Match; The Pact) is that people do illegal things for all sorts of justifiable reasons, and we should feel good when the juries don’t send them to jail. While this may be true in some instances, Picoult needs to find a new formula for her books. There are only so many justifiable crimes left.