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Nineteen Minutes [Paperback]

Jodi Picoult
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 3 April 2008 --  
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Book Description

3 April 2008

Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens - until a student enters the local high school with an arsenal of guns and starts shooting, changing the lives of everyone inside and out. The daughter of the judge sitting on the case is the state's best witness - but she can't remember what happened in front of her own eyes. Or can she?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; Reprint edition (3 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340935790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340935798
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 147,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jodi Picoult received an A.B. in creative writing from Princeton University and a master's degree in education from Harvard. She is the author of seventeen novels including MY SISTER'S KEEPER(now a major film starring Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin), NINETEEN MINUTES, CHANGE OF HEART and HANDLE WITH CARE. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. Learn more at

Product Description


Jodi Picoult is not one to shy away from fictional controversy; in fact, the more tangled and messy a moral dilemma appears, the better she likes it. (Daily Mail)

'As usual Jodi Picoult manages to bring us a hard-hitting, heartbreaking story. Its brilliantly written with feeling and understanding The characters are believable and you can almost feel their emotions as you read.' (New Books)

Picoult has been incredibly successful in dissecting the pain that family members go through when faced with sensitive and emotive issues (Daily Express)

'This book makes for uncomfortable reading in light of real life school shootings, but the author's meticulous research at Columbine in the USA makes the book all the more powerful and authentic. An outstanding read.' (My Weekly)

Picoult, once again, grabs a razor-sharp issue and uses her brilliantly intricate pen to expose all the shades of grey with PERFECTION. (Cosmopolitan)

'As usual Jodi Picoult manages to bring us a hard-hitting, heartbreaking story. It's brilliantly written with feeling and understanding of how all those involved react to what has happened . . . I love Jodi Picoult's writing and would highly recommend it for both personal and reading groups' (newbooksmag)

Book Description

Jodi Picoult explores the issues of bullying and teenage school shootings in this riveting, thought-provoking and compelling number one bestseller.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sticking to what she knows best 17 April 2007
By Zannie
Nineteen Minutes sees the return of defense attorney Jordan McAfee (The Pact and Salem Falls) and Patrick DuCharme (detective from Perfect Match) and is another example of Picoult's skillful psychological and social insight.

The protagonist this time is Peter Houghten, a 17-year-old high school student who has endured years of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of his classmates. Even his best friend, Josie Cormier has succumbed to peer pressure and is now part of the gang that instigates the abuse. One final act of bullying sends him over the edge and he commits an act of violence that will forever change the lives of the town's residents.

As per the Picoult formula, the town is small where many lives intertwine and the superior court judge assigned to hear the Houghten case is the mother of Josie Cormier, who witnessed the act. Josie is emotionally fragile and the strain of the court case poses a realistic threat to her relationship with her mother, Alex. She claims she can't remember what happened in the last few minutes of Peter's rampage and Peter's parents compound the tension and pressure in the narrative by ceaselessly examining the past to see what they might have done as parents to compel their son to such extremes.

The overriding theme of the novel is the question that do we ever really know the people closest to us? However, it poses more questions than that - what does it mean to be different? Is it ever OK for a victim to strike back? And who really has the right to judge someone else? This is Picoult's most honest, straightforward and meaningful novel yet - if only she could stretch beyond her currently rather contrived plots, she would be a truly great commentator on modern times.
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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
We've read about too many school shootings. These are intensely sad events as young lives are ended and harmed while sickening fear is permanently released to further separate communities. We all blame the parents for being so clueless.

I wasn't sure I wanted to read a long novel about such an event. But I'm glad I did. Nineteen Minutes takes the bare facts of such an awful day and helps us see the whole experience from every perspective. And the book does so with a kind and gentle heart.

This shifting of the balance of our perceptions is accomplished by several well-performed techniques including many narrators (different students, three parents, the police, the defense attorney, and his wife), connections among the characters, and multiple back stories that reach literally into the womb. The book's theme is far more universal than school shootings: How we grow away from our real selves and the damage that does to us and others.

I was very impressed by the way that Ms. Picoult viewed every character with mostly sympathy, even when you might think of them as being unsympathetic from the facts. Each character is also mildly funny. She doesn't let the tragedy pull us too far away from the realities of everyday life. It's an extraordinary storytelling gift.

If you are like me, you'll probably feel that your faith in people is increased by reading this story rather than the reverse. That reaction also surprised me.

No matter what your age is I think you'll find this book will draw you back into those turbulent teen years when being popular meant way too much. It'll be an intense and self-revealing visit.

Bravo, Ms. Picoult! This is a remarkable book.

Highly recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Interesting Insight 16 May 2007
Jodi Picoult gives the insight into so many different lives/minds and situations. This book showed how people are pushed into scenario's everyday and with the event of school shootings ever more present in American culture i got an insiders view. This felt like a reconstruction of what actually happened and happens in real school shootings. All seemingly fuelled by heirarchy and popularity at school. Even though we are meant to pity the victims in the story i couldnt help be compelled by the shooter and feel his pain more than any parent of the killed, and understood his situation and the attractiveness of guns to easily end a problem.

Another clever story i really enjoyed
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking 21 May 2008
By L. Cook
This is the first JP book I have read. I have to say I found certain sections a bit stodgy, and did get bogged down in the middle - so much so that it sat around unread for about three weeks. However that said, once I got past the middle bit, it picked up pace and I couldn't put it down to the end. The characters are carefully constructed, and personally, I found myself feeling more sympathy towards Peter than some of his victims. I would have liked less concentration on Judge Cormier, and Jodie's background, (which is where I found it stodgy) , and more on the Houghton family, who had after all managed to produce a killer. I had previously thought of JP books as "Beach Reads" I was wrong. It was far better written, and much more thought provoking than I had expected and I will certainly try others by this author.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jodi Picoult doesn't disappoint 7 Oct 2007
Having read many of Picoult's books I must say that I am a great fan of hers. She is not frightened of writing about many controversial issues that blight all of our lives.

Dealing with a young boy bullied mercilessly at school who plans and executes slayings of fellow pupils she still manages to retain sympathy for him and the plight he found himself in. The book keeps you riveted and from the first page to the last you do not want to put it down until the very end.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
good story well worth a read
Published 2 days ago by cleopatra
5.0 out of 5 stars One of her best books.
Jodi Picoult tackles the really emotive subject of a school shooting and instead of telling us what happens, she shows us. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Jackie
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Excellent Book By Jodi Picoult!
Nineteen Minutes proves that the one and only book I read by Jodi Picoult (The Storyteller) was no fluke, as I enjoyed it considerably and highly recommend it. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Bobbewig
5.0 out of 5 stars This book really made me think for a good while after
This book really made me think for a good while after. It reminded me of the excellent but chilling film 'We need to talk about Kevin'. Read more
Published 15 days ago by M Tabard
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Cracking read
Published 1 month ago by A Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
Couldn't put it down, brilliant twists throughout & totally addictive - recommended to anyone who likes a book to hook you
Published 1 month ago by Lisa Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved the book.
Published 1 month ago by Miss Rosenzweig
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good as always
Published 1 month ago by J. Bromyard
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and intoxicating
Couldn't put it down. Loved the unusual premise and thought it was well-written, interesting and I really cared about all the characters.
Published 2 months ago by Ms Alise C. Kirtley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A gift for the wife that left her happy and kept her off my case for a bit.
Published 2 months ago by Chris Longden
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