Nineteen Minutes: A novel

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Overview

The bestselling author of My Sister?s Keeper and The Tenth Circle, Jodi Picoult pens her most riveting book yet, with a startling and poignant story about the devastating aftermath of a small-town tragedy.

Sterling is an ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens?until the day its complacency is shattered by an act of violence. Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, should be the state?s best witness, but she can?t remember what ...

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Nineteen Minutes

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Overview

The bestselling author of My Sister’s Keeper and The Tenth Circle, Jodi Picoult pens her most riveting book yet, with a startling and poignant story about the devastating aftermath of a small-town tragedy.

Sterling is an ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens—until the day its complacency is shattered by an act of violence. Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, should be the state’s best witness, but she can’t remember what happened before her very own eyes—or can she? As the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show— destroying the closest of friendships and families.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A master of the craft of storytelling."

— AP Newswire

"Picoult spins fast-paced tales of family dysfunction, betrayal, and redemption.... [Her] depiction of these rites of contemporary adolescence is exceptional: unflinching, unjudgmental, utterly chilling."

The Washington Post

"Jodi Picoult's books explore all the shades of gray in a world too often judged in black and white."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781476729718
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 1/22/2013
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 642
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult received an AB in creative writing from Princeton and a master’s degree in education from Harvard. The recipient of the 2003 New England Book Award for her entire body of work, she is the author of twenty-one novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers House Rules, Handle With Care, Change of Heart, and My Sister’s Keeper, for which she received the American Library Association’s Margaret Alexander Edwards Award. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. Visit her website at JodiPicoult.com.

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    1. Hometown:
      Hanover, New Hampshire
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 19, 1966
    2. Place of Birth:
      Nesconset, Long Island, NY
    1. Education:
      A.B. in Creative Writing, Princeton University; M.A. in Education, Harvard University
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 1274 )
Rating Distribution

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(774)

4 Star

(315)

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(115)

2 Star

(39)

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(31)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1277 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    WELL WRITTEN, SERIOUS SUBJECT MATTER!

    This is a, WELL WRITTEN, story about cruelty and evil. Since it's about a school shooting, you'd assume the bad guy is the one with the guns. Think again.<BR/>What the shooter does is unforgivable, killing 10 kids and hurting many more. But he acts more as a reaction to cruelty and evil than because he is naturally that way himself.<BR/>Everyone has, at one time or another, felt like an outsider, like they don't belong. Peter Houghton is an oddball from the beginning, and school is a place where such kids are often tormented. In a series of searing vignettes, Peter is essentially tortured by other students. It reminded me of baby birds in the wild, who will sometimes peck weaker siblings to death.<BR/>The final pages have the requisite Jodi Picoult surprise ending, which left me wanting to read high-schooler Josie's narrative. It's not there, so the reader is left to wonder what she is thinking.<BR/>At first I was hesitant to read this book, because of the grim subject matter. Once I started, it was hard to put down. I wish the author had written more about the high school kids and less about the adults, but it's still a compelling read. I won't let my 9th-grader read it, because it has sex scenes way too raw, but it would be good for 12th-graders and older.

    17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 6, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Jennifer Wardrip - Personal Read

    I always find it hard to read books dealing with school shootings, since I am the mother of two school-aged children. NINETEEN MINUTES, however, is an emotional story that should be required reading for teens, along with their watching of the movie REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. <BR/><BR/>Reading this story of a bullied teen who finally has enough and takes out his anger on his high school is enlightening, and, at times, hard to read. I found it very easy to identify with many of the characters in the book: not just with the shooter, but with the judge's daughter, who wants only to fit in and be popular, and the jocks, who don't know how to be anything but what they are. <BR/><BR/>NINETEEN MINUTES is a great book. I can honestly say I enjoyed it, even while crying my way through several passages. Read it -- whether a teen or the parent of a teenager, and find out what REALLY happens in high schools around the US -- and what could be happening, quite possibly, in your own hometown.

    16 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2011

    Would recommend

    This is the 2nd book I have read by Jodi Picoult. WOW...she definitely brings into play major issues and REALLY makes her writers think. She is truly talented at this. I could not put this book down. Unfortunately I did not like the end. This was the same issue I had with the 1st book of hers I read (The Pact). Still.....the book was VERY well written and I will give her another chance!

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2009

    Power In Nineteen Minutes

    This book is an incredibly powerful look into the tragedies of school shootings. It takes you through shock, anger, pity, sorrow, fear, and justice as you follow the characters through seemingly unimportant life events that all tie into one fateful day. For those of us that have lived through or been directly impacted by the school shootings, this is a intense and provacative look at how our seemingly meaningless actions can have an impact on both our fate and the fate of others. Piclout hits a very raw issue with the other side of the story that most of us want to ignore, but does so with a very sensitive and compassionate voice.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2008

    Great Book

    This book was such a good read. I couldn't put it down & thought this was very relatable back to when I was in high school. The characters were great & the ending was such a twist. I would recommend it to anyone. The only other Jodi P. book I have read is Salem Falls & I liked this one even better than that one.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 2, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    At first glance, it looks like a straightforward act of revenge,

    At first glance, it looks like a straightforward act of revenge, but things are revealed to be more complex. One of his victims is Matt Royston, the boyfriend of his former childhood friend, Josie Cormier, and others are members of the in-crowd, but others have seemingly no relation. In the days before the trial, and in the days leading up to the shooting, we are given the backstory, told mostly from Josie's, Peter's, and their mothers' viewpoint. We learn of the incessant teasing this boy received, adults' unsuccessful attempts to help him fit in, and of the stormy relationship between Josie and Matt. During the trial, we hear from the victims who survived and the devastation the crime has wrought on their lives. In the end, the reader may still be undecided whether Peter is primarily a victim, perpetrator, loyal friend, or all three, but that is the point. Overall, this was a tragic story and worth the read, especially for high school and junior high students who might not recognize the long term effects of their everyday actions. I can't quite express what it is about this book that made it less than the sum of its parts, but I wasn't as impressed with the writing as I would have expected considering the topic. However, while this is not my favorite Picoult book, I admire Jodi's willingness to tackle contemporary, relevant, and highly charged themes with compassion.about a school shooting. It follows a handful of the people who are intimately involved with the shooting, through their lives: present and past, so you really find out the history behind who they are and why they are doing what they do. It is a very well developed story and in the end nothing is left for you to wonder about. Although it is 455 pages, it kept my attention throughout and just when you think you know exactly what's going to happen and think you have it all figured out, everything changes right up until a few pages before the end. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who can handle reading the language of potty mouthed teenagers and the emotional struggles and violence of a school shooting. A tragic subject with very good writing.  

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    Hard to Put Down!

    Wow! I took this book with me as I was backpacking through Europe simply for something to read on planes and trains but I found that I was reading it during every free moment! The twists and turns kept coming until the very end. Definitely a must read!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    19 Minutes book review

    Going to high school is defiantly not the easiest thing to do during someone's life, especially if there is a school shooting there. During 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult, everything changes at Sterling High in a matter of 19 minutes. Lives were lost, Friends were hurt, and a Teacher was gone. The students and staff will remember March 6, 2007, the day of the shooting, for the rest of their lives.
    The main characters in this book are Josie (student), Alex (Josie's mom; judge),Peter (student), and Lacy (peter's mom). When the book first starts, it does not truly show the relationships between all of them. But as the book progresses, Picoult sticks in chapters titled 17 years before, 12 years before, and a month before that show the connection with all of the characters. For example, in the second chapter entitled 17 years before, the setting is at a prenatal classroom with Lacy as the teacher, who just got back from maternity leave after having Peter, and Alex is one of her students. During the session, Lacey realizes that Alex is uncomfortable and knows that she has to pay close attention to her in order to make sure that her pregnancy goes well. After a few more classes, Alex and Lacy become good friends, and once Alex gives birth to Josie, Peter and Josie become the best of friends in grade school. They way that Jodi Picoult put the shooting before getting into depth about the character relationships is very intriguing and that makes the reader think if there is some sort of way that the shooting could have been stopped and what the causes of the shooting are.
    Throughout reading this book, I have flashbacks of the Columbine shooting in Colorado. Columbine was a surprise shooting at the high school that was carried out by the 'wierdos' at the school, just like in 19 minutes. The only thing different is that the shooter in 19 minutes carried this act out by himself. Reading the step by step process that was going on during and after the shooting makes me have empathy for those involved in the Columbine shooting and any other shooting that has happened. The way that Picoult writes how Alex is feeling when she hears that there was a shooting at Sterling High to the way Officer Patrick feels when he is running through the halls looking for the shooter as he passes people that have met the shooter shows how different fear can be handled between different people.
    With the way the shooter is described throughout the book, proves that anyone can do something completely unexpected. So the next time you judge someone on how they look or act, maybe you should think again.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    Great read.

    I had to read this novel for a class. It was the first book i read by this author and i wasn't sure at first if i'd like the book given the topic, but i must say that i was truly captivated by this book from the first page! The way it was written was confusing at times with the flashbacks, but it was easy to get used to. This is a book that will stay with you for a long time. I would recommend this heartwrenching book with five stars and am interested in reading some other books by Ms. Picoult! Great read but not for the faint hearted.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2013

    Jodi Picoult writes yet another novel that proves that the world

    Jodi Picoult writes yet another novel that proves that the world is not black and white, but rather infinite shades of grey. The small town of Sterling is rocked to its core after a shooting at the local high school. Peter Houghton, an awkward and shy boy is found holding the gun, and he is guilty of murdering ten of his peers. As the novel progresses, readers get a look into the motive of what appeared to be a senseless, heinous bloodbath. Josie Cormier, Peter's former best friend and a main character, experiences loss first hand and would be a great witness. Unfortunately, she has no memory of the incident. The picture perfect town of Sterling is not what it seems, and everyone has a secret. At the end of the novel, no mystery is left unsolved.

    The story opens up with a speech about things that can be done in 19 minutes. Later, we learn that the shooting had lasted for as long. The day starts out like any other, with Josie going to school, and her mother, Judge Alex Cormier, heading to court. Patrick Ducharme, the sole detective of Sterling, has a busy day ahead of him. However, he gets a call on his radio about shots being fired at Sterling High School. He rushes toward the scene, where he discovers mass anarchy ensuing. Quickly, he is able to locate Peter Houghton. Josie and her boyfriend Matt are lying in a pool of blood. Matt has been shot twice, and is dead, while Josie is unconscious. Jordan McAfee chooses to represent Peter, as he feels that Peter deserves a fair trial. As the trial continues, there is an abundance of subplots; Peter's mother Lacey and Alex's estranged friendship, Josie and Peter's friendship, Josie and Matt's relationship, and Peter's life before and after the shooting.

    This is an excellent novel. In no way does it justify killing as in answer. The book is mainly about bullying, and what students do when they are continually harassed. Peter was like a branch, as pressure from school and home built up on him, he eventually snapped. This doesn't condone violence, but rather shows how traumatic bullying can be to one's mental health. One incident of bullying can effect someone their entire life. Bullying is a serious issue, and 19 Minutes clearly delivers that message. This book will leave you with the haunting question of how someone could be capable of so much violence, and what drove them to take such drastic measures into their own hands.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    ONe word, Three Letters....WOW

    What a great book. It keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what secret will unfold right before your very eyes. Jodi Picoult is a WONDERFUL author, her books are amazing, especially this one. READ THIS BOOK. It might be long, but you will never regret reading this book...the ending will knock you right off your feet.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2009

    Thought provoking, page turner.

    Jodi Piccoult delivers once again in this subject matter of bullying. Perhaps it will make people consider how they may be able to make a difference, especially in the public school institutions.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2009

    Nineteen Minutes

    Nineteen Minutes starts off with a 17-year-old student named Peter Houghton going on a shooting rampage in a high school in Sterling, New Hampshire. He kills nine students and a teacher, but hurts many more. His last victim was Matt Royston who is Peter's long time best friends, Josie Cormier's, boyfriend. He is a member of the popular crowd, the same crowed Josie abandoned Peter for. Josie has no memory of what happened on the day of the shooting, which becomes hard to deal with when her mother becomes the judge of the case against Peter Houghton. Nothing about Picoult's Nineteen Minutes is easy to read, mainly because most of the character's emotional battles strike close to home. However, it's a good book that I would recommend to every high school student. It shows the effects their actions have on other people.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Heart-Wrenching

    i couldn't put it down, i had to know everyting, the story drags you in, i didn't exactly like Jodi Picoult's writing, but like i said it sucks you in, i had to finish it, and the plot was interesting enough that i think i will read some of her others just to see what else she will come up with, but i'll have to wait a bit, i don't think i can take the emotional overload again so soon, i was unsatisfied with some of the character endings

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2013

    Best book ever

    By far the best book ive ever read! Picoult writes beautifully with a rare power that changes lives. My view on the world has changef because of this book. A must read for 14+

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Emotional and Amazing!

    I have read ALOT of books, and this book is definatly my favorite book I have ever read. As I was reading, I kept thinking that this book should be mandatory for every middle school student to read before they graduate, but as you read there is some sexual content that is too mature for a lot of middle school students. If you are deciding on what book to get and this is one of your choices, 100% go with this book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2012

    An amazing book youll never forget

    This book seriously impacted me so much. When i was in middle school a group of kids planned something very similar as in this book and being younger i had no idea at the time how if they werent caught life wouldve been so different. This novel which is just like Jodi's other novels, will pull your heartstrings and play off of many different emotions. Its so worth the money and id highly recommend it. ~Crl

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    Amazing Read

    Every student should be required to read this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Completely captivating

    Jodi Picoult manages to stimulate your mind and pull you into a story in every book. NINETEEN MINUTES is no exception. Picoult makes you feel as though you know all of the characters as well as you do your best friend, yet she still allows room for twists and turns. NINETEEN MINUTES dives into the issue of bullying in our schools, and it opens your mind to all sides of the story. Peter Houghton, the killer in this novel, had been bullied his whole life prior to going on a school shooting rampage. Josie Cormier is the judge's daughter and former friend of Peter. She later lets jocks make fun of him just to try and fit in with the popular crowd. Jodi Picoult is somehow able to make the reader feel sorry for Peter, despite what he has done. She manages to create feelings for the dead and wounded victims as well as anyone else affected by the tragedy. With the wording and content of Picoult's novel you start to wonder what you would have done, not in one person's shoes, but if you had been in anyone of the character's shoes. Would you have snapped and gone on the shooting rampage, or would you have found help for your hurting soul? Would you have watched Peter get hurt, or would you have stepped in? Would you have defended Peter in court? Would you have prosecuted him? This novel is simply impossible to put down. Jodi Picoult starts off her novel by writing, "In nineteen minutes, you can mow the lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five." After a few more ways to spend nineteen minutes she writes, "In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge." The way in which she incorporates punctuation marks into her writing and uses wording leaves an incredible effect. She pulls you into her novel and gets you thinking before she even begins to tell the thick of the story. Jodi Picoult also has an amazing ability to describe a situation. When she describes Josie's boyfriend, Matt, and Josie together she includes every detail. You feel as though you're there because of the full description of every move they make and everything in their environment. The main reason why her writing is so great is because of the feelings that are created. When you learn who made the first bullet wound in Matt's stomach you experience utter disbelief. When you hear about the intensity of Josie and Matt's relationship you can't believe how perfect they seem together. When you realize that Peter is not sorry for what he has done you become angry with him as well as sad that he turned this way. I don't know any better book than NINETEEN MINUTES. NINETEEN MINUTES is a must read and an altogether amazing novel. The writing ability of Jodi Picoult amazes me as she tells a detailed heart wrenching story in about 450 pages. She gets you thinking and makes you want to act out and fix our world's problems. NINETEEN MINUTES is a book for your money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Attention-Grabbing, Emotionally-Wrenching and Ingeniously Written!

    Nineteen MInutes by Jodi Picoult is one of best books I think I've ever read. She has a style of writing that is encapsulating and frustrating at the same time. While reading this book, I've wanted her to quit jumping back and forth between characters because I want to find out what happens next right away. However, when she tells parts of Peter's childhood and immediately jumps back to the future, it makes sense because we are able to see why he is doing what he's doing. It keeps the readers attention and makes the reader think; I was unable to put this book down until I finished it! Also, I had the pleasure of rereading it in a college course. It was an education course and it made me realize how important this book really is. I think that all educators and probably all students at the secondary level should have to read this book. It made me think about my childhood experiences and how much certain actions really can affect the rest of someone's life. I thought about students from elementary school that remind me of Peter's character and how differently we all should have acted. As a future educator, I am now aware of the effects the many things that happen in a school setting can have on some people as well as what the results could be. I feel much more knowledgeable about stepping in when necessary and helping students avoid these interactions. Reading Nineteen Minutes has given me wonderful insight and although it isn't the happiest of books to read, I recommend it to any and everyone to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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