Summary and book reviews of Second Glance by Jodi Picoult

Second Glance

By Jodi Picoult

Second Glance
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Apr 2003,
    425 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2004,
    448 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

"Sometimes I wonder....Can a ghost find you, if she wants to?"

An intricate tale of love, haunting memories, and renewal, Second Glance begins in current-day Vermont, where an old man puts a piece of land up for sale and unintentionally raises protest from the local Abenaki Indian tribe, who insist it's a burial ground. When odd, supernatural events plague the town of Comtosook, a ghost hunter is hired by the developer to help convince the residents that there's nothing spiritual about the property.

Enter Ross Wakeman, a suicidal drifter who has put himself in mortal danger time and again. He's driven his car off a bridge into a lake. He's been mugged in New York City and struck by lightning in a calm country field. Yet despite his best efforts, life clings to him and pulls him ever deeper into the empty existence he cannot bear since his fiancée's death in a car crash eight years ago. Ross now lives only for the moment he might once again encounter the woman he loves. But in Comtosook, the only discovery Ross can lay claim to is that of Lia Beaumont, a skittish, mysterious woman who, like Ross, is on a search for something beyond the boundary separating life and death. Thus begins Jodi Picoult's enthralling and ultimately astonishing story of love, fate, and a crime of passion.

Hailed by critics as a "master" storyteller (Washington Post), Picoult once again "pushes herself, and consequently the reader, to think about the unthinkable" (Denver Post). Second Glance, her eeriest and most engrossing work yet, delves into a virtually unknown chapter of American history -- Vermont's eugenics project of the 1920s and 30s -- to provide a compelling study of the things that come back to haunt us -- literally and figuratively. Do we love across time, or in spite of it?

Chapter One



Ross Wakeman succeeded the first time he killed himself, but not the second or the third.

He fell asleep at the wheel and drove his car off a bridge into a lake -- that was the second time -- and was found on the shore by rescuers. When his half-sunken Honda was recovered, the doors were all locked, and the tempered glass windows were shattered like spider-webs, but still intact. No one could figure out how he'd gotten out of the car in the first place, much less survived a crash without even a scratch.

The third time, Ross was mugged in New York City. The thief took his wallet and beat him up, and then shot him in the back and left him for dead. The bullet -- fired close enough to have shattered his scapula and punctured a lung -- didn't. Instead it miraculously stopped at the bone, a small nugget of lead that Ross now used as a keychain.

The first time was years ago, when Ross had found himself in the middle of an electrical storm. The lightning, a ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
This discussion guide is followed by an interview with Jodi Picoult about Second Glance

Questions and Topics for Discussion
  1. With a title like Second Glance, what can we immediately assume about the story, even before beginning reading? In what ways does this title help us to understand that this book is not only about revisiting the past, but also about exploring what we thought we knew, what we may have been mistaken about, and how things look different in hindsight?
  2. In many ways Second Glance is a rumination on the delicate balance between life and death, suffering and happiness, and desperation and fulfillment. And while all of the characters must find a way to muddle through the madness, they do it in ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews
Library Journal - Diana McRae

This intelligent novel gets off to a jerky start, with too many characters appearing in too rapid a succession. Although readers might be frustrated with the opening, the book as a whole will make them glad they persevered.

Publishers Weekly

Firmly rooting her otherworldly tale in everyday reality, she produces a spellbinding suspense novel offering insight into the human spirit and the depths of true love.

Booklist - Kristine Huntley

Picoult mixes shocking fact and compelling fiction to produce a mesmerizing tale of love and second chances.

Kirkus Reviews

... a gratifying blend of gothic melodrama and social critique ... A balance of suspense and science makes for a memorable ghost tale.

The Washington Post - Susan Dooley

You don't have to believe in ghosts to acknowledge the path it takes as it works its way from parents, to grandparents, to great grandparents, ancestors passing on genes and the protection of their love.

Reader Reviews
purpleskin

second glance- a must read
I read this quite some time ago, but the plot and the story as well as the characters are still ingrained in my mind. I can still remember every little detail- that is how much I love this book. It has romance for those romantic hearts and mystery...   Read More

kim jonas

not my most favorite
I am an avid reader across all genres but this one I had to really force myself to finish. The reason why I picked this book up was because of My Sisters Keeper (somber, yet extraordinarily compelling) by same author. I am a huge fan of the ...   Read More

Melissa

History repeats itself?
This was a book club selection for our group and it was an overwhelming favorite! Not only the story line of romance and mystery, but the controversial subject of eugenics. The book not only provided many great quotes we cited too, but there were ...   Read More

Julianna

This book is great !!!!!!!!! I love it ..its sooo great !!!!!!!!! I'm going to do a book report on it for school .....i've already got a few people wodering "what happens next?" hehehe ...its a great wonderful book ....i've read it twice ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Second Glance, try these:

  • A Good Hard Look jacket

    A Good Hard Look

    by Ann Napolitano

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Heartbreakingly beautiful and inescapably human, ordinary and extraordinary people chart their own courses in life. In the aftermath of one tragic afternoon, they are all forced to look at themselves and face up to the observation that the truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.

  • Back When We Were Grownups jacket

    Back When We Were Grownups

    by Anne Tyler

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Rebecca, a fifty-three-year-old grandmother, is caught unawares by the question of who she really is. How she answers it--how she tries to recover her girlhood self, that dignified grownup she had once been--is the story told in this beguiling, funny, and deeply moving novel.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Sailor Twain
by Mark Siegel

Published Mar. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and amibtious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.