Written by bestselling author Jodi Picoult, who also wrote the movie-turned-book My Sister's Keeper, Nineteen Minutes takes place in the town of Sterling, New Hampshire. Ever since his Superman lunchbox was thrown off the school bus on his first day of kindergarten, now-seventeen-year-old Peter Houghton has suffered years of bullying at the hands of classmates. Josie Cormier, the closest person that Peter had to a best friend, now hangs out with the popular crowd that are often the ones harassing Peter.
A final series of unbelievably embarrassing events of bullying ends up sending Peter over the edge. Peter enters Sterling High School one morning, and in nineteen minutes commits an act of violence that forever changes the lives of everyone in Sterling.
"In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front 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. In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world; or you can just jump off it."
Even those who were not inside the school that morning find their lives torn apart by what happened. There are Peter's parents, Lacy and Lewis Houghton, who are distraught by what their son has done; Peter's defense attorney, Jordan McAfee, whose position has turned the town against him; Patrick DuCharme, the investigative detective who was one of the first at the scene of the crime; Alex Cormier, the superior court judge assigned to the Houghton case and mother of Josie; Josie herself, who was a key witness to the events that unfolded that day, but cannot seem to remember anything.
This highly emotional novel is sure to keep you captivated, understanding the stories behind the different characters, unraveling the chain of events that led up to Peter's attack, and waiting along with the rest of the town for the outcome of the Houghton case.
I read this book for the third time for over-the-summer reading, and I'd read it again in a heartbeat. I definitely recommend it!