Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

June 8, 2011
In Loneliness is the Hand of revenge
Nineteen Minutes
Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Washington Square Press (February 5, 2008)

“That was the way this society worked: you were only at the bottom of the totem pole until you could find someone else to take your place.” - From Nineteen Minutes.
Nineteen Minutes is a gripping story of how far people will go to fit in. Peter Houghton has gone through life alone, unwanted, and excluded by his peers. He never was the son his family wanted, and even his sole friend Josie deserted him. Revenge was all Peter had. In the small town of Sterling, New Hampshire, Peter is on trial for murdering 10 classmates. Just as she did in The Pact, Picoult brings her characters to life; you will meet them and understand them.
By Picoult weaving us in and out of the present during the trial, I became a part of the jury. Throughout the course of the book, people in Peter’s life prove to be beyond dynamic. In Nineteen Minutes characters must win the struggle within themselves to shake free of their masks. The truth of who we are isn’t always pretty. In the end nobody will understand that quite as well as Josie and Peter.
Nineteen Minutes will leave you turning page after page, driven by the strong emotion of the characters and the thought-provoking theme of the book. You’ll be asking yourself if you are the bully, bystander, or Peter, and if the result is unsettling perhaps you’ll learn that you’ve been wearing a mask too.
You should read Nineteen Minutes if you have read any of Jodi Picoult's other works or are interested in the rare chance to communicate with the characters of a novel. You’ll want to save them, discipline them, and thank them. Peter Houghton will never be forgotten for those nineteen minutes that will make you question whether he’s the protagonist or the antagonist.
Exceptionally written, Nineteen Minutes grabs you by the heart to show how murderous it is to maintain a lie at the top of the totem pole by burying whoever is at the bottom with the weight of the world.

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