Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

December 7, 2011
By Anonymous

The small town of Sterling, New Hampshire is devastated by a tragedy. After years of torturous emotion and physical bullying, Peter Houghton seeks revenge in the only way he thinks he can: with gunfire. He brutally murders ten of his fellow students and teachers as the rest of the school is distracted by a bomb set off in the parking lot. Now, the ones who made his life miserable pay with the ultimate sacrifice: their lives. So many of their lives will never be the same, like Josie Cormier, whose boyfriend died that unfortunate day, or her mother Alex, judge on the case. Peter’s mother and father are now ostracized from the community, shunned and feared by many. This book has important messages about how people grieve and on the importance of kindness: you never know if saying something hurtful could one day push someone over the edge.

“Ninteen Minutes” isn’t one of those books that instantly makes you hate the “bad guy.” Jodi Picoult helps you understand where every character is coming from- even the ones who did terrible things. The line between good and bad blurs and people seem very human- characters are genuine and multidimensional. For this reason, the book feels very realistic. Through her use of a third person limited point of view where the main character rotates every chapter, her writing style is very engaging. Themes that are present, such as kindness, judgment, and loss are things everyone could relate to their lives. Although I would recommend this book to anyone, I feel that it’s especially relevant to students because this book explores the social structure of high school and could impact their daily lives the most. I would give “Nineteen Minutes” a four out of five. This book is a great read and I feel like almost everyone can get something out of it.

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