Summary and book reviews of Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Nineteen Minutes

A Novel

by Jodi Picoult

Nineteen Minutes
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2007, 464 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2008, 464 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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.

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?

March 6, 2007

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.

Nineteen minutes is how long it took the Tennessee Titans to sell out of tickets to the play-offs. It's the length of a sitcom, minus the commercials. It's the driving distance from the Vermont border to the town of Sterling, New Hampshire.

In nineteen minutes, you can order a pizza and get it delivered. You can read a story to a child or have your oil changed. You can walk a mile. You can sew a hem.

In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it.

In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.




As usual, Alex Cormier was running late. It took thirty-two minutes to drive from her house in Sterling to the superior court in Grafton County, New Hampshire, and that was only if she speeded ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Introduction
In this emotionally charged novel, Jodi Picoult delves beneath the surface of a small town to explore what it means to be different in our society.

In Sterling, New Hampshire, seventeen-year-old high school student Peter Houghton has endured years of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of his classmates. His best friend, Josie Cormier, succumbed to peer pressure and now hangs out with the popular crowd that often instigates the harassment. One final incident of bullying sends Peter over the edge and leads him to commit an act of violence that forever changes the lives of Sterling's residents.

Even those who were not inside the school that morning find their lives in an upheaval, including Alex Cormier. ...
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

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Told as a series of flashbacks from multiple points of view,Nineteen Minutes is a powerful read that kept this reader up until 3 am. As always with Picoult, the issues are never black and white and the plot is never quite as simple as it might at first seem. Readers looking for easy answers won't find them in these pages.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (1446 words).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Usually so adept at shaping the big stories with nuance, Picoult here takes a tragically familiar event, pads it with plot, but leaves out the subtleties of character. Though all the surface elements are in place, Picoult falters in her exploration of what turns a quiet kid into a murderer.

Booklist - Kristine Huntley

Every bit as gripping and moving as Picoult's previous novels, Nineteen Minutes will no doubt garner considerable attention for its controversial subject and twist ending.

Publisher's Weekly

Starred Review. The author's insights into her characters' deep-seated emotions brings this ripped-from-the-headlines read chillingly alive.

Library Journal

Picoult has that rare ability to write about an unnerving subject in a way readers will find absorbing. Her 14th novel, perhaps her best, is highly recommended.

Reader Reviews

Suzanne

Several Lessons
As a 68 year old grandmother, I highly recommend this book. Picoult describes the feelings and anger of a child living his entire life with bullying, day in and day out and the rage it leads him to. The sex scene, though explicit, also tells a ...   Read More

Lauren Conrad

Nineteen Minutes
This was one of the best books I have ever read. Being a high school student helped me relate to so many characters in the book. I recommend this book to every high school student, as the characters can all be found in any school. There is the ...   Read More

taaaymanderson3

Nineteen Minutes
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is even considering reading it. Picoult goes above and beyond her traditional love stories and reels you in with the act of violence of the small town of Sterling, NH. Nineteen Minutes makes you have a...   Read More

Kaylee Clark

An A for Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes
Bullied or not bullied, everyone has a story. Some may take a different path than others in life. It’s like the saying we have all heard before, “Everyone is Different”. The main character of Jodi Picoult’s book Nineteen Minutes is a 17 year old ...   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!

Beyond the Book

Jodi Picoult is the bestselling author of fourteen books to date. She was born and raised on Long Island before studying creative writing at Princeton. While still a student she had two short stories published in Seventeen magazine. On being told that someone was going to pay her for something she'd written she immediately called her mother who responded. "That's great, who's going to support you?"

Realism - and a profound desire to be able to pay the rent - led Picoult to a series of different jobs following her graduation: as a technical writer for a ...

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 Nineteen Minutes, try these:

  • Harmony jacket

    Harmony

    by Carolyn Parkhurst

    Published 2016

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dogs of Babel, a taut, emotionally wrenching story of how a seemingly "normal" family could become desperate enough to leave everything behind and move to a "family camp" in New Hampshire - a life-changing experience that alters them forever.

  • Boo jacket

    Boo

    by Neil Smith

    Published 2015

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Hilarious and heartwarming, poignant and profound, Boo is a unique look at the bonds of friendship in what is, ultimately, a book about finding your place in the world - be it this one, or the next.

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!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...
  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman in Moscow
    A Gentleman in Moscow
    by Amor Towles
    It is June 21, 1922, and 33-year-old Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is convicted of being a class ...
  • Book Jacket: I Contain Multitudes
    I Contain Multitudes
    by Ed Yong
    If a stranger were to accost you on the street and tell you that, from birth, you have never been ...

First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta

Raw, emotionally intelligent and unflinchingly honest--a triumph.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.