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Nineteen Minutes

A Novel

By Jodi Picoult

Nineteen Minutes
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Mar 2007,
    464 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2008,
    464 pages.

    Publication Information

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Joanna (10/21/07)

The twist you never expected
“Nineteen Minutes” is the type of book that grabs on to you from the start, and doesn’t let go until you’ve read every last word. It’s exciting, tragic, humorous, and surprising all at the same time. In this work of fiction the author starts off telling us how in nineteen minutes you could do anything from color your hair to bake scones, and how in nineteen minutes the lives of everyone in the small town of Sterling, New Hampshire were changed forever.

In my opinion the author did an amazing job with this book. Once I started it I couldn’t put it down. I loved that the author managed to add a little bit of humor, even though the subject of the book was very sad. I also like how she found a way to tie some major issues into the book, and still have it be interesting to read. My favorite part is the end because Jodi Picoult throws in a twist that is shocking, and completely unexpected. So I give this book the overall rating of 5 stars.
Tanya Santy (10/21/07)

An interesting, fictional novel
Once your world is ripped out from in front of your eyes, do you ever get to see it clear again? This was a question Sterling, a small town in NH, faced with after a revengeful high school student got what he wanted on March 6, 2007. Jodi Picoult describes the tragedies this town is faced with in exquisite detail to make you feel as if you were there, in her novel, Nineteen Minutes. She brought up questions no parent, child or authoritarian figure wants to answer. Is the relationship between my child and I so bad that they can't talk to me? Is the revenge of a bullied victim accepted to the point of no punishment? What is my place in high school, where do I belong, and what do I have to do to get there?

I would recommend Jodi Picoults "Nineteen Minutes" to anyone looking for "that" book. The type of book that you can't put down because you just HAVE to read each page. this book is eventful, emotional and an outstanding read.
becca wanta. (08/07/07)

amazing times two.
This book was my favorite out of all of them.
An amazing twist at the end! A great book for
long trips and lazy days at the beach. A+!
Ashley (07/19/07)

In nineteen minutes...
Everyone's raving about this book. My mother read it, as she does with all of Picoult's novels, and insisted I read it. I was intrigued, originally, because it was about a school shooting. So I picked it up and found myself heavily engrossed right from the start.

Picoult uses third person narration, but she switches the character in which the focus is on. In doing this, you can be inside the mind of Judge Alex Cormier one minute, and then inside the mind of her confused teenage daughter, Josie, the next. I liked this switch because it gave you all sides of the same story. This is the first novel of Picoult's that I've read fully, but from what I understand this is her style because she doesn't give you the answers when you close the book after it's finished. It's up to you, the reader, to decide if the guilty were punished and the innocent were able to move on. Nineteen Minutes is no exception. Through the different perspectives, you were able to see why Peter went into his high school and starts to shoot at random. I, personally, felt horrible for the child. He was bullied everyday of his life for 12 years by horrible kids in his grade. However, Picoult also lets you see another side, through the eyes of Josie Cormier. One of the "popular" girls. However, she's fighting to keep that stance, afraid to backslide into anonymity, or worse, being tortured by the kids she used to call her friends. I found myself rooting for the Peter/Josie friendship throughout the book.

The story itself travels through time. It starts on the day of the shooting, March 6, 2007 and ends one year later. However, it Picoult uses the chapters to give you different points in time that allow the reader to understand what brought Peter, Josie, and even Lacey and Alex (the mothers, respectively) to where they were that day and five months down the line. Picoult goes back 17 years, to when Peter and Josie are born and then starts to move in time. You see Peter at six years old, in sixth grade, and finally a month before the shooting. I liked that she went through time like this so that you could understand where all of these characters were coming from. You could even relate to them, even if it was just a little bit.

The book ends with unanswered questions. When I sat with my mother to discuss the novel, she said she had a lot of questions about what happened between Alex and her new beau, why Josie acted how she did, and if Peter was right or not in doing what he did. However, I think that's what's supposed to happen. You're supposed to question whether these people ended up with what they deserved, or if they were let off easy. There are no easy answers given to you, and I think that's what adds to this book. You actually have to come up with your own opinions and force yourself to think about it. It's a great book group book and I'm hoping that one of the local bookgroups will pick it up so I can attend.
Brenda (07/03/07)

best yet
Jodi Picoult is the best author I have yet to find. I have read 6 of her books and Nineteen Minutes is just another good one. She gets so in depth with her characters, it's amazing. How she knows what a high schooler and police detective are thinking is incredible.
Wisconsin Mom (07/03/07)

Wow, what a book, what a writer. A heartbreaking topic for the victims, the accused, the innocent and the victimized. It helps open the mind to the effects of bulling, taunting and teasing. How far does one go with comments of difference and how far one goes by being a victim for being different than the "Normal"? If kids could only understand, there is not a "Normal" or a "Better"! Every teen should read, just to open their eyes. It just may make a difference in a few lives!!
Tabetha (06/25/07)

Insight on a Dark Subject
Jodi Picoult has tackled in the novel Nineteen Minutes a highly controversial and difficult topic. Many authors would have shied away from such subject matter and the type of research it required. That said, what Picoult has produced is a heart-wrenching and highly realistic novel that captures the everyday trials of young people and shows how a person can finally be pushed over the edge. She does a superb job of creating in Peter a character who is sympathetic without ever for a minute diminishing the horror of the crimes he has committed. You can empathize with how Peter has been pushed to the edge through years of abuse but never are his crimes in any way condoned. I found all of the characters well-developed and believable, particularly the Lacy, Alex and Josie. Alex and Josie's attempts to connect with each other throughout the novel expertly illustrate the frustration and communication breakdowns between a single mother obsessed with her career and her only daughter. In Josie's character, Picoult also delves into the stress and fear experienced by popular students who seem to have the world at their feet. While Peter's angst is expected, Josie's is more subtle and to the outsider, more difficult to understand. She dates the "it boy", has "A-list" friends and is successful in school. Yet an early scene in the novel shows Josie hoarding pills as a "back up plan", alluding to occasional suicidal feelings. Despite her seemingly perfect life, she suffers from her own inner demons, a mirror reflecting her mother's own concerns with image and the veneer of a perfect life. Lacy, Peter's mother, is perhaps the most sympathetic of all the characters in the novel. A woman who has put her all into being a good mother, she is now faced with the unimaginable: her son has become a murderer. Subjected to the scrutiny of a community that assumes the parents must somehow be at fault, Picoult paints the picture of a courageous woman who someone manages to stay on her feet as the world caves in around her. This novel is a fast read, and keeps the reader engaged throughout, culminating in a shocking ending that will leave you thinking for days. I highly recommend this novel for young people, parents and anyone who's ever experienced the excitement and torture of the high school.
Lauren (03/26/07)

Ninteen Minutes
This book is amazing! I couldn't put it down until I was finished. If you are looking for an excellent book that will keep you interested, read this book!

I read all of Jodi Picoult's books and this one was my favorite. I could relate to it because I am the same age as the main characters.Read this book, you will not be disappointed.
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