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on 5 April 2009
There seems to me to be a lot of hype about Jodi Picoult. I forever see her books sold in bookstores and languishing in the bestseller lists. Being a serious reader and a lover of books I decided it was only right I read a book by Jodi Picoult.

I bought The Pact, a story about Chris and Emily, two teenage lovers who agree on a suicide pact but Emily dies and Chris survives. Was there a suicide pact though or is Chris lying? Was it really a murder that occured?

The story is written by alternating tellings of "then" and "now". The "then" deals with Chris and Emily's birth and the happy lives their families led. The now deals with the incident after the gunshot was fired and Emily died.

It is a cleverly written story and intrigues the reader. What really happened? Why did it happen? Who is guily? Who is innocent? What will happen next? The characters are deep and very realistic. I found myself really caring for them, caught up in their dramas and desperate for the right outcome of the trial to happen.

This is an interesting book and I would recommend it. I now look forward to reading other novels by the author.
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on 26 August 2007
This is the second Jodi Picoult novel I have read.
After reading 'My Sister's Keeper' a friend recommended 'The Pact and I was not disappointed.

I read this book over 3 days in a busy holiday.
It kept me gripped from start to finish and I have since recommended it to a couple of people and am awaiting their feedback.
I am sure it will be positive :)

This story is very emotional and it is impossible not to be moved by it.
The novel tells the story of a suicide pact between 2 teenage lovers.
However, the suicide goes wrong and Emily dies, yet Chris survives.
Following this he is put on trial for murder.
There are several versions of that fateful evening drifting around, but only Chris knows the truth.
What really happened? And what will happen to Chris?

The characterisation is very strong, but I didn't feel for Chris as much as I expected I would.
This may be something to do with him being a teenage boy and me being a teenage girl, as opposed to the author's skill.
I also felt let down by the ending.
I predicted the outcome very early on, however I was surprised by a twist which occured leading to the end.

I would recommend this to older teenagers and adults who are looking for an intriguing and emotional read.
However, I would not suggest under 15s/16s reading it as there are some sexual scenes that may be unsuitable for that age.

Thanks for reading this review.
I hope it helped you decide whether to read 'The Pact' or not.
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on 14 May 2006
The story of the pact is about a girl (emily) and a boy (chris) that have been together their whole life; they are next door neighbours. The story begins with the two of them found lying on a carousel, chris unconcious and emily shot through the head with a gun holding two bullets. It is fairly easy to draw your own conclusions from this situation, yet is it really as it seems? It it, as chris so valiantly claims, a suicide pact? As the story progresses we follow Chris's battle with the courts and his concience, whilst recieving snatches of Emily's past alone and with Chris that lead her to be possibly scuicidal. In addition to this the story follows the effect on the two families left behind; their guilt, separation and love. I found this book brilliantly written, the story and mystery beautiful. The relationship between Emily and Chris was passionate and I could feel it radiating off the page. My only complaints are that the court case was rather long, however compeling, and the ending, though satisfactory, does seem a little unlikely. Despite this it felt that these were small problems in comparison to the rest of the book. The book was almost perfect, reflecting well upon the way in which Emily's life is explained.
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on 28 July 1998
This is the first and only review I have ever written and it is because this book so deeply impacted my life. I have never read such a well written, heart-warming, tragedy in my life and I do not think I will ever be the same. Jodi Picoult allows the reader to become one with her characters and she makes each scene come alive with her words. As I read each page I wondered what would happen next and I was unable to put the book down from the instance I picked it up. I have not stopped talking about this book since I read it and I have not been able to enjoy another book since I finshed it. I have become an annoyance to everyone I know because all I do is talk about the book and go on and on how everyone must read this book! I have loved books in the past, but I have never been so deeply moved by a book, like I was with this. I salute anyone who picks up this book because it will forever change the quality of books to be read in the future.
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on 15 January 2006
What a fantastic book - i couldn't put it down, it was one of those reads where i lost the entire weekend to a book! Brilliant!!!
This is a real page turner. Emily and Chris were born six months apart, lived next door to one another and grew up together. Their families were close and each felt part of the others family. As they got older, the enivitable happens and they fall in love, both families are happy. Then at 17, Emily dies from a gunshot wound to the head, as part of an apparent suicide pact with Chris, only Chris survives.
The book alternates between the past, tracing the history of Chris and Em's relationship and Now, as Chris faces an uncertain future.
The reader see all sides of the story and as such knows all the secrets of the characters. You are waiting all the way through the story for some of the big secrets to be shared, especially one that affects Emily.
I liked all the characters, bar one, emily's mother Melanie. Whilst she starts out as the quiet, timid one, Emily's death changes her nature so much she becomes bitter and as such i found myself not liking her at all. I like the roles of Gus (Chris' Mum) and Michael, (Emily's dad)but found Chris' dad, James quite hard to warm too.
The book really makes you think and poses the question of how well does anyone know anyone and as parents - how well do we really know our children.
A great book - will be recommending and passing on to many friends!
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on 23 October 2010
I'm a big lover of Jodi Picoult's other books and for the most part liked this one, staying up into the small hours to finish it off. While I enjoyed the characters and story development throughout the first two thirds the last third felt like it was missing something and the ending didn't do anything to bring it back. I have to say that the ending left me thinking "Is that it?" and I felt quite cheated. It's not that I expect that all the questions of a book are answered, sometimes it's better to be left with a little mystery. That said, this just seemed to be lazy or rushed.
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on 25 May 2007
`Do you know what it's like to love someone so much, that you can't see yourself without picturing her? Or what it's like to touch someone, and feel like you've come home?' (Chris)

Chris and Emily knew each other their whole lives. They grew up living next door to each other, were soul mates, best friends, inseparable... like twins. As teenagers their love for each other developed into something more and they became girlfriend & boyfriend - exactly what their parents had hoped would happen. They are bright, still at school, with promising futures ahead of them. But then Em is found dead, shot with a single bullet, and Chris with her - injured but very much alive. So what really happened that night? Could Chris have pulled the trigger? Or was this an awful suicide pact gone very wrong?

If you've forgotten what it was like to be seventeen years old, then read this, and remember. Full of passion, emotion and tortuous decisions - another brilliant novel from Jodi Picoult.
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on 25 August 2005
Her books may not be classified as literature, but they are well written, gripping and thought provoking and The Pact is certainly all three, which is a pretty good start!
The story is about two families, the Hartes and the Golds. Chris and Emily as born within just a few months of each other and grow up together. The two neighbouring families live in each others' pockets. The seemingly unbreakable bonds of friendship between the adults, built up over 18 years disintegrate in the aftermath of Emily's tragic death as denial, guilt, anger and blame replace respect, trust and love.
Emily dies right at the beginning of the novel but becomes more and more real as her life unfolds in a series of flashbacks that bring the reader through her childhood, the developing friendship then more intimate relationship with Chris, revealing her talents as an artist and the emotional turmoil that she hides from her family, to the moment of her death, as we see her cradled, dying in Chris's lap.
How did she die, was it a suicide pact or not, was her family life a contributing factor, was her closeness to Chris a blessing or a curse? We as readers also question just how well we can ever know the people closest to us.
This book left me feeling a little unsettled - and tired - just one of those books you can't put down!
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on 22 May 2016
Yet another amazing book by Jodi Piccoult! She is not afraid to delve into controversial topics. This is a story which explores the relationship between a boy and a girl who have been brought up next door to eachother from the day they were born like brother and sister but are encouraged by their parents to become a proper couple. It borders on feelings of incest and not incest. I don't want to give the storyline away except to say that it is a MUST READ! It is written with respect for these two young individuals, who although they have grown up together and know eachother inside out, you raise questions as to whether one knew the other at all and what its like to be a teenager in todays society without the parents having a clue as to what is going on with their children. By that time, it is too late and everyone must live with the consequences of their actions. It had many twists, kept me guessing on the outcome till the very end. I also like that there weren't hundreds of characters in this book, 6 main characters between two families and a handful of others so extremely easy to follow the storyline.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 September 2014
Melanie and Michael Gold, and Augusta ('Gus) and James Harte are best friends and next door neighbours. So when James and Gus's son Christopher and Melanie and Michael's daughter Emily, who've grown up together and are closer than siblings, start dating, their parents are delighted. It seems like a happy version of Romeo and Juliet - until one fateful evening the pair disappear, and a few hours later Emily is found dead, shot through the head, with Chris unconscious beside her. Chris's claim is that Emily killed herself in a suicide pact, and he fainted before he could join her. But why would two such brilliant and happy adolescents kill themselves? And is that what happened? The police certainly don't think so, and soon Chris is in jail, waiting trial for murder. As he waits trial, desperate to tell someone the truth about Emily's death, we gradually learn through a series of flashbacks what really did happen that night, and the impossible situation that Chris and Emily found themselves in. And what Picoult tells us leads to many interesting moral questions about relationships and the right to choose one's fate.

Of popular fiction writers, Picoult, a Princeton graduate, is certainly one of the strongest in terms of literary style and in creating a sense of suspense. She's great on courtroom dramas (she'd be a terrific screenwriter for TV crime dramas) and her descriptions of life in prison and of how an event can be depicted 'in law' are excellent. She's also interesting on the close, almost stifling friendship between the Golds and the Hartes and in how they all react to their loss - though I have to say that Melanie is a woefully underdeveloped character, and I didn't believe for a moment that she'd have acted the way she did after the crime. And Chris's dilemma is movingly conveyed - one of the great strengths of the book is Chris's likeability. For a pageturner full of interesting comments on the American judicial and penal systems, this is an excellent read. My major problem with it though was that I just didn't believe in Emily's death wish. (NB This is not a spoiler as it's clear from Chapter 1 that the death was not a simple cold-blooded murder). First, I think Picoult was very confused as to whether Emily was damaged by a brief, unpleasant incident in childhood (mentioned so briefly I had to go back over it before I really got what she was alluding to) or whether her despair sprang from the fact that she was bound to Chris emotionally and through their parents' intimacy with no real choice as to whether they got together or not, and disturbed by the strange mixture of 'sibling' and 'romantic' elements in their love. If the former, I don't believe Emily would have been able to conceal her distress from her family - and if she was so close to her mother, wouldn't she have talked to her about the incident? If the latter, again I think Emily's despair would have been more evident, over a long period - and would it really have led her to contemplate suicide? After all, she was going to college soon, so couldn't she have used that as a reason to break from Chris if she wanted? Wouldn't she have wanted to give herself a bit of time at college to see if her despair continued away from home? Why didn't she think of the grief she might cause her family, if they were close? Was she religious or not, and wouldn't this have affected her feelings about suicide? (If she was religious, wouldn't she be worried she was commiting a sin; if she wasn't, wouldn't the thought of annihilation have frightened her more?) If she was so brilliant and dedicated, wouldn't she have felt more hesitation about giving all this up? I found Emily's character very hard to understand, particularly as she didn't have the depression and sense of uselessness about her that a lot of adolescent would-be suicides (such as Sylvia Plath) experience, but seemed to come up with the idea of suicide relatively calmly over a long period. And I couldn't help feeling that Chris, despite his noble nature, was in some ways incredibly naive in his attitude to Emily for such a bright man. This psychological weakness at the centre of the novel stopped me perhaps getting as fully involved as I might, and contrasted with Picoult's much more insightful comments about prison and about fidelity. Nevertheless, I have to say that the book was very engrossing, and kept my attention fully occupied in quieter periods over a weekend. Picoult may be a bit of a formulaic 'problem issues' writer, but she's definitely very accomplished.

Three and a half stars.
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