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My Sister's Keeper
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About the Author

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-six 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.

Reviews

The difficult choices a family must make when a child is diagnosed with a serious disease are explored with pathos and understanding in this 11th novel by Picoult (Second Glance, etc.). The author, who has taken on such controversial subjects as euthanasia (Mercy), teen suicide (The Pact) and sterilization laws (Second Glance), turns her gaze on genetic planning, the prospect of creating babies for health purposes and the ethical and moral fallout that results. Kate Fitzgerald has a rare form of leukemia. Her sister, Anna, was conceived to provide a donor match for procedures that become increasingly invasive. At 13, Anna hires a lawyer so that she can sue her parents for the right to make her own decisions about how her body is used when a kidney transplant is planned. Meanwhile, Jesse, the neglected oldest child of the family, is out setting fires, which his firefighter father, Brian, inevitably puts out. Picoult uses multiple viewpoints to reveal each character's intentions and observations, but she doesn't manage her transitions as gracefully as usual; a series of flashbacks are abrupt. Nor is Sara, the children's mother, as well developed and three-dimensional as previous Picoult protagonists. Her devotion to Kate is understandable, but her complete lack of sympathy for Anna's predicament until the trial does not ring true, nor can we buy that Sara would dust off her law degree and represent herself in such a complicated case. Nevertheless, Picoult ably explores a complex subject with bravado and clarity, and comes up with a heart-wrenching, unexpected plot twist at the book's conclusion. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Adult/High School-Anna was genetically engineered to be a perfect match for her cancer-ridden older sister. Since birth, the 13-year-old has donated platelets, blood, her umbilical cord, and bone marrow as part of her family's struggle to lengthen Kate's life. Anna is now being considered as a kidney donor in a last-ditch attempt to save her 16-year-old sister. As this compelling story opens, Anna has hired a lawyer to represent her in a medical emancipation suit to allow her to have control over her own body. Picoult skillfully relates the ensuing drama from the points of view of the parents; Anna; Cambell, the self-absorbed lawyer; Julia, the court-appointed guardian ad litem; and Jesse, the troubled oldest child in the family. Everyone's quandary is explicated and each of the characters is fully developed. There seems to be no easy answer, and readers are likely to be sympathetic to all sides of the case. This is a real page-turner and frighteningly thought-provoking. The story shows evidence of thorough research and the unexpected twist at the end will surprise almost everyone. The novel does not answer many questions, but it sure raises some and will have teens thinking about possible answers long after they have finished the book.-Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Kate Fitzgerald has a vicious form of leukemia. To treat her symptoms, she needs the cord blood of a genetically perfect donor. Her parents find a geneticist to help them select the embryo from which they can create a second daughter and a donor for Kate. Enter Anna. For 13 years Anna gives platelets, bone marrow, and cells to her sister, helping her to fight the disease. However, when she is asked to donate a kidney, Anna sues her parents for medical emancipation, wanting to control the decisions over her body. Kate is dying, Anna is suing, and older brother Jesse is out committing arson. Amazingly, the Fitzgerald family stays together and sees the issue through many surprising twists and turns, wrestling with ethical and moral questions that have no "right" answer. There is so much trauma and so many difficult issues here that the book is a difficult listening experience. Well read, with a different narrator for each character, this program is recommended.-Joanna M. Burkhardt, Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Univ. of Rhode Island, Providence Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Booklist (Starred Review) My Sister's Keeper is a beautiful, heartbreaking, controversial, and honest book.
People (Critic's Choice) [Second Glance] is a fast-paced, densely layered exploration of love, the pull of family and the power of both to transcend time.
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) A spellbinding suspense novel.
The Boston Globe Picoult writes with a fine touch, a sharp eye for detail, and a firm grasp of the delicacy and complexity of human relationships.
USA Today Picoult's characters are so compelling that the reader hopes this won't be the last time we meet.
Washington Post Picoult has become a master -- almost a clairvoyant -- at targeting hot issues and writing highly readable page-turners about them....

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