Every once in a while, you get recommended a book you never would have picked up on your own, and it’s magic. You pick up a copy and hold it in your hands, unsure if you’re going to like it because you’d never be holding it otherwise. You start to read, and next thing you know, you’re halfway done the book at it’s three in the morning. That describes my relationship with Nineteen Minutes. I was at the bookstore with my friend, and they had a sale: buy three, get one free. So I picked three books and told her to choose the fourth, and the rest is history. It was thick, it was a romance drama, it was everything I would never dream of wanting to read over the summer and it was absolutely perfect.
Nineteen Minutes tells the story of an unexpected school shooting through a variety of perspectives. But before we get a peek into exactly what happens, we get the stories of these characters before and after the event. We learn all about the interiority of Josie Cormier, one of the popular girls who watched her boyfriend die and can hardly remember what happened, Alex, Josie’s mother who is the superior court judge of the case, and Peter Houghton, the outcast who snapped and did the shooting.
When you hear those character descriptions, you automatically have judgments, but once you begin to read their stories, you quickly learn that everything you assume should be thrown out the window. Picoult makes it possible to look at an event like a school shooting and actually sympathize heavily with the shooter. Her character development is spectacular, and of course, no matter how much you think you know the characters, there is a little twist at the end that makes you gasp in realization.
I would love to write a character development piece as detailed and addictive as this novel. If you’re looking for something to pass the time, pick up Nineteen Minutes, because you will not be able to put it down once you start reading.