Finished on: November 6, 2012
Released: January 1, 2007 by Atria Books
Add to: Goodreads
Summary from Amazon:
In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five....In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it. In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.
Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens -- until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town's residents must not only seek justice in order to begin healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy. For them, the lines between truth and fiction, right and wrong, insider and outsider have been obscured forever. Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, could be the state's best witness, but she can't remember what happened in front of her own eyes. And 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 is New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult's most raw, honest, and important novel yet. Told with the straightforward style for which she has become known, it asks simple questions that have no easy answers: Can your own child become a mystery to you? What does it mean to be different in our society? Is it ever okay for a victim to strike back? And who -- if anyone -- has the right to judge someone else?
We get the story of Alex, an amazing judge who is also trying her hardest to be a good mother. Then there's her daughter, Josie, who's just trying to figure out who she is outside of her popular clique. We also have Lacey, who's already lost one son and could potentially lose her other. And then there's Peter, Lacey's son who has been bullied every single day of his last 12 years. Once again, Picoult does a fantastic job of intertwining these characters and their lives into one complicated (in a good way!) and touching story.
I sat and read this book the entire way through. There was just no putting it down. Every character had a story that you just can't help being completely sucked into. I also appreciate that Picoult definitely did her research on bullying and school shootings. You want so bad to hate Peter and think of him as a monster, yet the author spins it so you understand what led up to that point. It wasn't just a psychotic act of rage... it was just the pressure of 12 straight years of being beaten down finally exploding.
This entire story is made up of twists and turns. You finally think you have it all figured out and Picoult throws in another surprise. Right up to the ending. And oh, that ending! Didn't see that coming at all... but now, looking back, I probably should have. All the clues where there. This book does its job of putting the entire situation of a school shooting into perspective. We get to see all sides from the killer to the victims to people who loved that killer. Everyone gets a voice.