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Topic: Jodi Picoult....are her books really that good?!

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Subject: Jodi Picoult....are her books really that good?!
Date Posted: 5/28/2008 10:02 AM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
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Jodi Picoult is known for targeting hot issues and writing highly readable page-turners.  Her novels are always on the best sellers lists  Does she get great publicizing or is she really that good?  What do you think?   Which of her novels did you love?  Like?  Dislike?  Or hate?

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 10:07 AM ET
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Hm... bestseller lists aren't anything I would trust. Most of them are a huge fake. However, I did read a few of Picoults books and was never that wowed but I liked the topic. The last book I read was Nineteen Minutes which sort off was good but then it wasn't Hard to describe. I loved "My Sister's Keeper". I felt it is heartbreaking.
Date Posted: 5/28/2008 11:10 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
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I didn't know she was on the best seller list when I started reading her books.  I like them a lot.  I like them well enough to always buy her books brand new when they are first released.  They are quick reads but I find them very engaging and I love the way she shows what and why the "bad guys" are thinking.  

On here - people either love or hate her, it seems.

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 12:01 PM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2008
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I really like her books. I didn't know she was a bestselling author when I started reading her; I picked up one of her books at random in a bookstore. There have been a couple of books of hers that I didn't like (Songs of the Humpback Whale and Perfect Match come to mind), but those are the exception.

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 12:34 PM ET
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jodi picoult, to me, is one of those authors where every book is about the same.  kind of like john grisham.  i LIKE her stuff, but i can only read one book every 6 months or so.

my first book by her was _my sister's keeper_ which kept me enthralled and which made me cry.  after that, i read _plain truth_, which was good, but i was expecting the plot twist at the end.  _the tenth circle_ was really good, and by the time i read _perfect match_, which was four in a row, i was over it.

about four months later i read and enjoyed _nineteen minutes_.

they're ok, and i like the topics, but i put her on my "i'll read it if it's available but i won't go out of my way to read everything she's written" list.

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
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I've read three of her books...Second Glance, My Sister's Keeper, and Mercy...and it's safe to say that I'll never read another.  I really liked the first two, but Mercy did me in.  Like Jessyka said, all of her books are the same.  Lord knows how Picoult gets out of bed some days because everything she writes is so depressing.  Of course, her book sales probably stave off the depression. 

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 3:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2007
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I have read a lot of her books and I too buy them brand new when they come out. Once you have read a few you expect the plot twist at the end of all of them but they are still good reads. My favorite was My Sisters Keeper but probably because it was one of the first books I read by her and I wasn't expecting the ending.

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 3:40 PM ET
Member Since: 3/15/2007
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yes yes yes

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 11:44 PM ET
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I have a few on my TBR right now.  I read Nineteen Minutes and I thought it was really good! 

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 12:13 AM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2008
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Count me in, I'm definitely a Jodi Picoult fan.  I'm reading Change of Heart right now.  So far, I haven't read on that I didn't like.  My cousin is a huge fan too but couldn't get through Mercy.  I think a pp mentioned that as well.

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 12:56 AM ET
Member Since: 5/9/2006
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I love the way Jodi Picoult writes. My first book was Vanished and when I started reading it I put all her others on my wish list, then took them off about half way through and then put them all back on. I love the way you see the situation from everyone's point of view, not just one or two people. I have now read five of hers and will continue to read them all. I always think I will wait awhile before reading another one but if I have one in my TBR pile it calls to me and I have to read it. It is hard to put her books down. They really grab you. It is not a light hearted read but they always make you think.

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 8:40 AM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2007
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I agree that Jodi Picoult's novels always make you think - often in ways you may never have about certain topics.  Yes, they can seem a bit formulaic if you read them back-to-back-to-back but I have enjoyed most of her books.  I enjoy the way she weaves her stories around these "hot topics."  I think it is the way she tells the story from different points of view that leaves me mulling over the issues raised long after I finish the book.

Like several of you, I started reading Picoult before I was aware of her bestseller status.  I say give her a chance and ignore the bestseller label.  I particularly enjoyed Songs of the Humpback Whale, Plain Truth, and Second Glance.  Mercy was not a favorite.  I did not get far into Picture Perfect or Harvesting the Heart - they just did not grab me.

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 9:12 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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My first book was Vanished too; I couldn't finish it.  It just seemed too predictable.

But I read Nineteen Minutes--I was halfway through when the Va. Tech. shooting occurred.  Sadly eerie.

Then, in March, I read My Sister's Keeper.  I was riveted!  I loved that book...it made me cry too!  So I decided to go back and read her others.  I"m finding I can't read them all in a row, and that I enjoy some more than others.  I really like Tenth Circle, Perfect Match, and Vanished (this time).

I had to force myself to finish Second Glance (glad I did) and Mercy (eh).  Next on my list is Keeping Faith, Plain Truth and Songs of the Humpback Whale.  But as I said, I do have to read other things in between.

All in all, I would vote yes for Jodi. 


Date Posted: 5/29/2008 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 2/7/2008
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I will admit to only having read two. I read Plain Truth and quite liked it, didn't think it was amazing but it was a good read. Then I read Picture Perfect and HATED it. Oh man, that was such a dreadful book! And then I thought, well, all those PBS members can't be wrong, so I picked up Vanishing Acts. Blehh. Couldn't get into it.

So I am in the minority. I don't like her. I don't think she writes well. I really don't think her books are anything special... but then again, I probably haven't read the 'good ones' like My sister's Keeper. I would be open to reading that, I think.

She is generally just not my cup of tea.

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 1:19 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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Alex, first...thanks for putting the correct title (Vanishing Acts) in your post! LOL

If you only read one more Picoult, read "My Sister's Keeper."  It's really good.  I had the same reaction to VA that you did, the first time around.  Also, a lot of people hated "Tenth Circle" because it was so different from her usual stuff...but I really enjoyed it.  That's another one you might like. 

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 4:18 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
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i really like her books...the first one i read was calle The Pact...It was REALLY good and no one's mentioned it here. I'd recommend it. 

Its one of her earlier books...i might have read it 10 or more years ago. I really enjoyed her style then...and have, with few exceptions, enjoyed all the others i've read.  I was totally compelled by her most recent book "change of heart"...but i felt like the ending was "hokey" and for the first time i really understood the criticism she gets for being formulaic. 

But i'll still buy her next book...and find it hard to take my nose out of  it.  The subject matter and the style are a combination thats hard to put down.

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2007
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She is actually my favorite author!  I found her books several years ago and became hooked form the start.  The best book she has written, in my opinion, is My Sisters Keeper.  It is actually one of my favorite books ever!  I agree her stories do seem very similar, BUT I love them!!!!  The only two books of hers that I didn't love were Vanishing Acts and the Tenth Circle.  Still good reads, but not her best! 

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2006
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Yes, I believe her books are THAT good.  I've loved each one.  I find Anita Shreve to be similar to her too.

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 8:21 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
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If I remember correctly Nineteen Minutes came out AFTER the VaTech shootings.     That is why I thought the book was so timely.         I believe the shootings was in April of 07 and Nineteen Minutes came out in October of that year.        I especially liked the way she showed that no one was ALL bad, no matter what the circumstances.

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 8:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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The Va. Tech. shootings were in April of 2007, but the hardcover first edition of "Nineteen Minutes" was released in March of 2007.  I was halfway through the book, which is why I remember it so vividly.


Date Posted: 5/30/2008 8:04 AM ET
Member Since: 9/12/2005
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I have only read  My Sister's Keeper I thought it was one of the worst book I have ever read, and would never read another book by her.

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 1:52 PM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2007
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I read Mercy because she is such a big deal on PBS, but I was disappointed.  It was an okay read but it was predictable and the premise was thin: wife asks husband to mercy-kill her but provides no evidence that she wished it, he goes to the laird of the clan he's descended from who is still running the clan over 200 years later - in New England.  And the laird is having an uttely predicatable affair with a foregone outcome.  I'm okay with reading something that's depressing if it's also thoughtful or forces me to stretch, but it didn't seem like this one did either.

Maybe some of the others are better?

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 8:12 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
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I don't know what I was saying!!! LOL  Of course, you are right Vicky and that is what I was thinking but NOT what I was typing.        Ooooooops sorry!

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 5/30/2008 8:40 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
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I don't get the popularity or the hype.  I haven't found one I like yet.  I read Sister's Keeper (trite and predictable) and started 19 Minutes but couldn't get through the hokey dialogue.  Read about half of the Pact, couldn't get through it either - and decided just to trade the others I had.

Last Edited on: 5/31/08 4:12 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/30/2008 8:53 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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Cozette...no worries! <grin>

I like the fact that we don't all agree on good authors; it makes these threads much more interesting!