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Nineteen Minutes [Paperback]

Jodi Picoult
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (220 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Aug 2013

One beautiful March morning, a student goes to school with guns instead of books, and starts shooting.

Ten people are killed, and the local town is left reeling.

In the search for justice and explanations which follows, 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 (15 Aug 2013)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 144475436X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444754360
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 x 3.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (220 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,463 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


Superb, many-stranded and grimly topical . . . Picoult binds together precarious alliances with sensitivity, giving depth to characters without losing pace. Inhabited by contradictory, flawed individuals, this intelligent novel draws suspense, moral complexity and a stunning final twist out of what initially seemed a monochrome situation (The Times)

A horrifying, close to real-life read, this novel is incredibly thought-provoking (Sun)

A gripping and chilling read, NINETEEN MINUTES is reminiscent of Arthur Miller's play The Crucible in the way it captures the claustrophobic atmosphere of small town America, where members of a community struggle to cope with their grief and shortcoming in a world they hardly recognize anymore (Daily Express)

Slick, emotive and as readable as ever (Daily Mail)

Book Description

Jodi Picoult explores the issues of bullying and teenage school shootings in this riveting, thought-provoking and compelling number one bestseller, reissued with an exciting new cover treatment.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 54 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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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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you wonder 19 April 2007
"Nineteen Minutes" vividly explores how Peter Houghton, a New Hampshire teenager bullied in school, goes on a shooting rampage, which given the shootings at Virginia Tech or Columbine make you think what went so terribly wrong to produce a monster. In this book it's the little incidents that create the rage inside Peter and make him go wrong. On the first day of kindergarten, his Superman lunch box is thrown out the window by a bully:

"Hey, freak," the bully taunts. "You want to see Superman fly?"

Those little taunts over time add up to rage and a seething desire to exact revenge. For anyone interested in reading how psychologically a seemingly normal teen from an average family can go on shooting rampage "Nineteen Minutes" is a vivid portrayal.

Like many of her past novels, this book explores another hot topic of school shootings with Peter as a victim. The book's conclusion is stunning. It has all the ingredients that make Picoult engaging, unique and compelling. I also recommend the novel "NEXUS: A Neo Novel" for its spiritual depth, strong characters and an engaging narrative voice of two authors together.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Cracking read
Published 1 day 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 5 days ago by Lisa Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved the book.
Published 18 days ago by Miss Rosenzweig
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good as always
Published 22 days 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 27 days 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 28 days ago by Chris Longden
5.0 out of 5 stars impossible to put down
Jodi Picoult deals with the subject in a sensitive and understandable way.

I loved this book for so many reasons
Published 1 month ago by rgumbrill
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting read
I really enjoyed reading this book though I am a Jodie Picoult fan. I think it's a warning to all parents to listen to our children and try to understand how important it is for... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dawn Hollingsworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put this book down!
The characters jump out at the reader, it twists and turns taking the reader by surprise all the way through!
Published 1 month ago by poetgirl
5.0 out of 5 stars Only the second book I've ever read that's made me cry.
Beautifully written and guaranteed to challenge common perception of high school masacres, and includes events everyone can identify with. Heartbreaking and thought provoking.
Published 2 months ago by aileen
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