Friday, December 3, 2010

The Fangirl reviews: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

                          In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can jump off of it.
                          In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.

Picoult’s contemporary writing shines brightly in this controversial tale of a small town high school shooting. The story is centered around the character of Peter Houghton, the youngest son of a well-known mid-wife and college professor of the economics of happiness, and takes you on Peter’s journey as he’s tormented throughout his childhood and teen years until he can’t take the bullying anymore and seeks revenge.

Told in a third person point of view, Jodi weaves the story not only around Peter, but around his parent’s, the police, and the victims—mainly Josie Cormier his childhood best friend turned popular girl whose mother just happens to be the judge pulled to sit on the case.

Picoult’s ability to develop such three dimensional characters really shows in this novel and keeps you turning the pages until the shocking ending that will leave you breathless.

Page count:  480
Genre:  Literary Fiction
Similar to:  Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Recommended to:  Anyone with a pulse (okay, maybe kids 12+ and adults)
Stars:  5/5

The good:
* Picoult develops her characters in a way that they feel like someone I know.  By the end of the book I felt like I understood Peter, Josie, and even their parents, as if they had just sat down and had a conversation with me at the breakfast table.  There was never a point where I saw any of these characters as a villian or that they did something that seemed out of context with the rest of the story.
* For such a controversial topic, Picoult really portrayed the events of a high school shooting in a way that really made it hit close to home.  I cried alongside the residents of Sterling and I even cried along with Peter and his family.  She developed such a great world that I never wanted to leave it.
*Even though this novel was almost 500 pages, I blew through it like it was a Dr. Seuss book!  Picoult gives details in a way that make every single word on the page important to the story and who her characters are.  At first I struggled wondering why I needed so much about this character's parent's back story, but Picoult soon pointed out to me exactly why all that information was necessary.

The not as good:
* I loved this book, so there really isn't too many bad things I can say about it.  The only small complaint that I would have, story wise, is references to things in pop culture.  She mentioned current bands and things like that, but to be fair she did give specific dates for this novel (similar to Perks of Being a Wallflower) and pop culture references in a story is just my own personal pet peeve.  I think that it dates a story, but if your story has specific dates then I guess it needs that.
*There are some themes, besides the obvious violent one of a school shooting, that are a bit more adult.  This book touches on things like homophobia and teenage pregnancy which could be a little too heavy for the teenage reader.  With that being said, I was eleven when Columbine happened and I think around the middle school age is when some of the themes in this story (bullying, popularity, and peer pressure) would really start to come into play.

All in all, I knew that I had to do this book as my first review.  This is a novel that I absolutely fell in love with from the first page and never wanted to put down.

I was just contacted by Tor books and I will start doing reviews for their teen line and books that will be coming out this spring/summer.  So I hope you enjoyed this review and I'm eager to share more with all of you!


  1. Wow 5 Stars! I have this book and a few others from Jodi on my shelf. So far I have only read Vanishing Acts which I wasn't crazy about and My Sister's Keeper which I loved. Great Review!

  2. I haven't read anything by this author but definitely need to!

  3. Great first review! And CONGRATS! Can't wait to read your future posts!
    Are you apart of as well? It helps keep track of all the books you have read and their ratings.

  4. Cari- If you have it definitely read it! My friend wouldn't stop nagging me until I read it and I was SO glad when I picked it up!

    Karen- This is my first of hers as well! I saw the movie MY SISTERS KEEPER and cried my way through that, so I thought her writing had to be just as good!

    Kelsey- I'm part of goodreads...but I lack the updating skills. I'm not that organized :(

  5. Awesome.

    I follow you on twitter and thought I'd come and check out your blog. Glad I did:)


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