Jodi Picoult is the bestselling author of fourteen novels. She grew up in Long Island and then studied creative writing at Princeton. Following her graduation she had a series of jobs including as a technical writer for a Wall Street brokerage firm, as a copywriter at an ad agency, as an editor at a textbook publisher, and as an 8th grade English teacher - before entering Harvard to pursue a master's in education. She married Tim Van Leer, whom she had known at Princeton, and it was while she was pregnant with her first child that she wrote her first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale. Jodi and Tim and their three children live in Hanover, New Hampshire with a dog, a rabbit, two Jersey calves, and the occasional Holstein.
Picoult bangs out another ripped-from-the-zeitgeist winner, this time examining a condemned inmate's desire to be an organ donor. Freelance carpenter Shay Bourne was sentenced to death for killing a little girl, Elizabeth Nealon, and her cop stepfather. Eleven years after the murders, Elizabeth's sister, Claire, needs a heart transplant, and Shay volunteers, which complicates the state's execution plans. Meanwhile, death row has been the scene of some odd events since Shay's arrival-an AIDS victim goes into remission, an inmate's pet bird dies and is brought back to life, wine flows from the water faucets. The author brings other compelling elements to an already complex plot line: the priest who serves as Shay's spiritual adviser was on the jury that sentenced him; Shay's ACLU representative, Maggie Bloom, balances her professional moxie with her negative self-image and difficult relationship with her mother. Picoult moves the story along with lively debates about prisoner rights and religion, while plumbing the depths of mother-daughter relationships and examining the literal and metaphorical meanings of having heart. The point-of-view switches are abrupt, but this is a small flaw in an impressive book. 1,000,000-million copy first printing. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Noted for her heart-wrenching stories and the complicated humanity of her characters, Picoult (The Tenth Circle; My Sister's Keeper) continues her successful foray into fiction. In her new novel, she delves into questions of faith, vengeance, and redemption by exploring the rage of a mother who has lost a daughter, the bitterness of a criminal on death row, and the fate of a critically ill child that forces them together one last time to test the question, Can even the most understandable thirst for vengeance be quashed if it means saving someone you love? Picoult tackles the most complicated personal and political issues with compassion and clarity, and her fans will want this one. Suitable for all public libraries.-Colleen S. Harris, Univ. of Tennessee Lib. at Chattanooga Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.