Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

March 28, 2010
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Fascinating, expressive, and thought-provoking are all accurate when describing Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes. This novel tells an interesting story full of twists and turns that will be sure to keep the reader on the edge of his or her seat. The constant developments in plot, the in-depth analysis of characters, and the realistic setting are all elements that make this novel one of Picoult’s best. Nineteen Minutes is a guaranteed page-turner for almost any reader.

One of the strongest points of the novel is the plot that Picoult has created. Her ability to organize the story in a unique way is one that intrigues the reader. She develops the plot by providing background information before jumping ahead to after the climax, leaving the reader wanting to learn more. This method allows Picoult to propel the plot line at a fast pace, building it up and then letting it drop, creating a strong level of suspense. It also allows readers to form their own opinions about the characters both before and after the climax of the story. Picoult also has found a way to develop each section of the plot, no matter how insignificant it may seem. This tactic provides small bits of information before the whole web of connections is created. Picoult uses these plot-developing tactics by telling the reader about life after the shooting and then suddenly stopping and picking up at a point in the character’s life before the shooting ever occurred. The constant jump from past to present and to future keeps readers of all ages and genders interested. Picoult’s unique writing style allows her to develop an intriguing and in-depth plot that keeps the reader guessing until the very last page.

Along with developing a captivating plot, Picoult develops her characters in an unbelievably realistic way. The reader becomes more connected to each character with each page read. Each of the main characters has somehow crossed paths with the others at some point in his or her life. For example, Peter’s mother, Lacy, and Josie’s mother, Alex, knew each other long before either of their kids were born. As Josie and Peter grow up, they come in and out of friendship and are always a part of each other’s lives whether up close or from afar. Seeing the deep and historically rich connections between characters allows the reader to become emotionally involved in the story as if it were real life. Peter’s character is one that is a particular focal point during the novel. Although he is the antagonist to many, Peter can also be seen as the protagonist to others. The development of Peter is so intricate and detailed that the reader never knows what to expect from him. Picoult’s ability to captivate the audience through her characters is just one aspect of her writing and the story that makes this novel a must read.

Picoult uses a clever and unusual setting to draw the audience in and force them to think of the story in terms or reality. Set in a small, suburban town, Nineteen Minutes supplies a setting to which many readers can relate. The small town of Sterling, New Hampshire is one that seems to be innocent and safe. The locals have grown up there; they are comfortable in their town and are convinced that they are indestructible. It is a town where crime is just a distant thought and kids are raised in stable households. The idea of a school shooting is unimaginable to the city’s inhabitants. Picoult writes, “Sterling isn’t the inner city. You don’t find crack dealers on Main Street, or households below the poverty level… That’s why people are still so shell-shocked.” (333) Using a sheltered city like Sterling is what allows Picoult to shock the reader, leaving an even greater impact on his or her mind. The normal setting of a small town gives the reader a solid staple to relate to while reading the novel. Many readers across America and beyond are familiar with the quaint and quite setting of a small town; therefore they can immediately relate the incident in the book to their own lives, making the story all the more realistic. Picoult’s realistic setting choice allows for readers to relate to the novel at an even higher level than ever.

Nineteen Minutes is a stimulating novel full of reason, passion, and even some courtroom lingo. Picoult did a wonderful job of enticing the reader with a fast-paced plot, complicated characters, and a real life setting. This is a must read for anyone who wants to be whisked away into an alternative world of emotion and decisions.





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Patience97 said...
May 29, 2010 at 3:31 pm
Great review :) I am currently in the middle of this book. Alex is going on her "blind-date" that Liz set up for her, and Josie is helping her mom get ready.
 
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