Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

The PactThe Pact by Jodi Picoult

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first Jodi Picoult book I read was Harvesting the Heart. I liked it, but wasn’t impressed enough to try another. Yet a friend in my bookclub kept raving about her, so I decided to read The Pact. It is an amazing, intense book that I couldn’t put down.

Good writers have to accomplish many things: interesting plots, intriguing ideas, tension that keeps the reader involved, careful use of language that stimulates emotions without distracting from the overall work, but the most important goal of a fiction writer should be full, believable characters. The reader has to know and understand how the characters think.

The Pact is about teen suicide, so Picoult had to get into the minds and emotions of two unique teenagers to explain why their decisions made sense to them at the time they made them. She achieved that goal remarkably well. There is no single reason for “the pact.” Instead, both teenagers are complicated and confused. Of the two, Emily is the one who is likely to be similar to someone a reader knows. She is impacted by her own perfectionism, an incident of sexual abuse, and the confusion of her relationship with Chris as they change from children to adults.

The Pact’s other characters were not forgotten by Picoult. Her novel is also about the impact of the tragedy on the parents of the two teenagers involved. Each one of the four carries the weight in a different fashion, yet each one’s response makes sense for that person. Picoult’s world is as real as the one we live in day to day.

This book is a great choice for anyone interested in reading an intense novel that is a page turner. But more importantly it is an outstanding choice for anyone who wants to understand the way teenagers think. I intend to read more of Picoult’s work.

Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul

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