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The Pact - Jodi Picoult

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Author: Jodi Picoult / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 15 August 2013 / Genre: Modern & Contemporary Fiction / Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division / Title: The Pact / ISBN 13: 9781444754353 / ISBN 10: 1444754353

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      13.01.2014 23:36
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      Won't be re-reading this but good enough first time round

      This was the first book I read on my Kindle, so it's been a special experience for me. "The Pact" is a 2008 book by Jodi Picoult and I really must enjoy reading her novels as I've just about worked through all her back catalogue now, in no particular order.

      A bit about...
      Teenagers Chris and Emily have a special bond. The have literally known each other from birth. They were born three months apart, their parents are best friends and they live next door to each other. When they are 13 (technically Chris is 14) they become a couple and continue to be inseperable. Emily dies and Chris is found with a gun. Was it suicide, a pact that went wrong or could it have been murder?

      My thoughts
      The majority of Picoult books revolve around a court case, generally a topic that is hard to judge and could go either way. The book leads towards the court case at a steady pace, covering Chris's time in jail (waiting for his court case) in a stark way. You really get under Chris's skin, feeling how scared he is for the present and especially the future. The most intriguing bit is when Chris's lawyer, Jordan refuses to listen to his story, feeling he can represent him better without knowing the truth. Court is no place for the truth Jordan often repeats in the book. This does help maintain the mystery that builds as the book progresses.

      Timeline
      The book mainly sticks to real time but dips in to the past every now and again to better explain the story line. It's not at all confusing though and gives a great insight in to the relationship Chris and Emily had as Emily is unable to tell her side of the story being found dead at the start of the book.

      Characters
      I liked the two main characters, Chris and Emily, feeling they had a lot to give each other although Chris's part in Emily's death is perplexing at times, particularly his contribution of the gun even though he loves her very much. The one character I couldn't get my head round was Melanie, Emily's mum. Obviously she is grieving heavily in the book and looking for someone to blame but she is quite unreasonable in burning the diary she finds even though it may have helped find the truth in the court case. The two dads were OK but a bit strange, both quite busy with their jobs as vet and doctor but equally empathetic towards each other's wife. There were definitely some strange dynamics taking place between the two couples although nothing cement in the book they were very close! Steven, Chris's cell mate in prison is a great friend to Chris and really helps him to cope in their difficult surroundings.

      Price
      I paid £4.49 for my Kindle edition which I was happy to pay but I don't think I'll want to re-read this book again in the future so I'd have passed on a hard copy after reading.

      Final word
      This is not my favourite Picolt novel, but it's not my worst read either. It did feel a bit same to other books I've read of hers, but I still enjoyed reading it. It totally kept me guessing and towards the end I was tearing through the pages to find out the final verdict. If you've enjoyed other Picoult books you'll probably get on with this one but perhaps choose another book by Picoult if you are looking for the first one to read. I suppose teen suicide is not a subject many will choose to read about but I found it really well written and the characters came to life for me as I was reading the book.

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      26.06.2012 14:26
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      Interesting look at a lifelong relationship and what went wrong

      I have been re-reading quite a few Jodi Picoult books lately and this is the third one I have read in the last couple of weeks. I think reading so many of them in one go really makes you notice quite how formulaic they are and they do get a bit samey. I will definitely be reading something else next! Still, this was an enjoyable read like the others.

      The Pact is the story of Emily and Chris. They grew up together and were best friends their whole life. As they got older, they started to become a couple, as their parents had always expected. However, something is wrong and Emily is found dead with a shot wound to the head, lying in Chris' arms. Chris says it was a failed suicide pact and he had been going to kill himself too. Emily's parents refuse to believe she was suicidal, but Chris' parents don't want to think of the alternative - that Chris shot Emily. When he is arrested, suspected of exactly this, the relationships between the two families become difficult.

      In the present we hear about Chris' life in prison and his talks with the defense lawyer Jordan McAfee as well as the thoughts of both sets of parents. There are also flash back sections throughout the book, indicated with the year on the top of each chapter. We are shown incidents from Chris and Emily's life from young childhood right up to shortly before the death, so we can see what was really happening. With these little insights, we can see that Chris does not seem to be guilty, but we are not shown the whole picture. At the end of the trial we get some resolution.

      I liked the flashbacks and incidents from their childhoods as it helped me understand the characters much better and see how they had come to feel the way they do about each other. It also made it clear what kind of expectations they were trying to live up to from their parents.

      Overall this story is simpler than some of the other ones I have read from Jodi Picoult recently and it has less of a twist. It was gripping but didn't keep me guessing quite as much as others.

      I would recommend it to anyone who already likes some of Jodi Picoult's books or anyone who wants to try one and see if they like them, as it is quite a typical one.

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      03.04.2012 19:10
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      Brilliant story-line, Read it!! :D

      I have read and re-read this book as it is genuinely brilliant and I love it.
      The storyline is about two families that have lived together for years. the son on one family and the daughter of the other hve grown up together and it is seen that they will inevitably get together to become a couple. This happens but then, in a turn of events, one of the teens is found dead. This book, to me, is absolutely amazing, the characters are lovable and create a lot of emotive feelings throughout. There is a lot of very informative situations of well-reserched topics covered such as the police system, court proceedings and the emotional strains of both the victims, the families of victims and even those accused of committing the killing.
      The novel is extremely well written and is very difficult to put down once you've started. I would greatly recommend this book to anyone who like reading :D

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        12.09.2011 17:15

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        Another great Jodi Picoult read

        After reading My Sister's Keeper and Salem Falls my next Jodi Picoult read was to be The Pact. Jodi Picoult writes about difficult family themes and the development of relationships during these challenging situations. The Pact is a story featuring suicide, sexual abuse, grief and love.

        Chris Harte and Emily Gold have known each their whole lives. Chris knows Emily until the night she dies. Chris proclaims that the pair were going to commit suicide together however, when the detective involved in the case receives results from Emily's autopsy and fingerprint results from the gun, Chris is accused of murdering Emily.

        The story describes the journey of each parent and how they come to terms with the fact that they perhaps do not know their children as well as they thought as well as Chris' time in jail before the trial begins. Throughout we see different points of view those who believe Chris is innocent and those who don't. It is not until the end of the trial we find out what truly happened on the night Emily died.

        I was disappointed by the ending of the book: I felt it was a little bit weak. It would have been interesting to know what the future of the Harte family was as Picoult only leaves us with the Golds.

        Picoult writes exceptionally well and this again, is another excellent book by her. The flashbacks allow the reader to see the development of Chris and Emily's relationship. It makes you think whether we really know everything about those that are closest to us.

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        23.09.2010 14:51
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        Your son says they both meant to die. But he lived. What would you do?

        This was the first Jodi Picoult novel I read, having been given it as a gift from a fan. After reading it I went and brought several more of her novels, however this will always be my favourite.
        The basic storyline is based on Chris Harte and Emily Gold, who have lived next door to each other for 18 years. Not surprising to their parents, during their teens their friendship blossoms into something more and they begin dating.

        From the beginning of the book the reader is aware that Emily is dead having been shot. Chris says that Emily's death was the result of a failed suicide pact, however, people are reluctant to believe him and doubt starts to spread as to wether it was a suicide pact, or did Chris murder Emily?

        Picoult then uses both the present and the past to develop the story with each chapter focusing on a different character; including Chris, Emily and both of their parents. This allows the reader to learn more about both families, their past and the children's relationship.

        From the first page, Picoult leaves you guessing and does not give too much away throughout. I was gripped, could not put the book down and finished it within a couple of days. I would definitely recommend this book!

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          22.07.2010 10:54
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          A real tear-jerker

          The Pact is the bestselling 1998 novel by Jodi Picoult, perhaps known best for My Sisters Keeper. I received this book as a gift at Christmas without ever hearing of it before, but thought I'd give it a go. And I'm very glad I did.

          The Pact tells the story of Chris Hart and Emily Gold, two teenagers who have known each other their entire lives - as neighbours they grew up together and as they reached their teens their friendship developed into something more.

          From the very first page the reader is made aware that Emily is dead and the mystery instantly begins. Chris says it was a failed suicide pact but no one is ready to believe this. Through flashbacks to their childhood we learn about Chris and Emily and how they developed, which allows the reader to form their own opinion of the events. It also gives clues as to what exactly happened the day Emily died.

          The story is told from many points of view - Chris and Emily's, primarily, but also Gus and James Hart's (Chris's parents) and Melanie and Michael's (Emily's parents). This provides further insight into the characters and their understanding of the situation which allows you as a reader to understand the situation between the two families, and believe me everything is not as it first seems!

          By using flashbacks and various points of view Picoult cleverly gives the reader an insight into the lives of each of the characters so they can piece together clues to form an understanding of what exactly happened leading up to Emily's death.

          I was expecting that at 451 pages it was going to take me forever to read, but I read it in a matter of days. Picoult successfully builds and holds tension to keep the reader gripped throughout and provides a very satisfactory ending. The Pact does not disappoint. Whilst reading you find yourself immersed in the characters, and the book is a real tear-jerker! I would definitely recommend you read this.

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            15.07.2010 10:30
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            See review :)

            The Pact is just one of the many novels written by Jodi Picoult, and was released in 1998.

            The plotline centres around the lives of Chris Harte and Emily Gold, nextdoor neighbours and friends literally since they were born. During their early teens their friendship blossoms into something more, which doesn't surprise their parents at all as they saw it coming and willingly accept their newfound relationship.

            However, their fairytale lifestyle is horrifically cut short when Emily, now 17, is found dead with a gunshot wound to the head, and Chris, again 17, is found at the scene of the crime with his fingerprints all over the murder weapon, insisting it was a suicide pact that went wrong.

            We learn of Emily's death pretty much within the first chapter of the book, and the story carries on from here, looking at the aftermath of what happened and how each of the characters cope with the sudden crisis of Emily gone forever and Chris taking the criminal blame for the murder he says he didn't do.

            The book not only tells the story from Chris or Emily's point of view, but we also see it through the eyes of the other characters, too, these being Gus and James Harte - Chris' mother and father, and also Melanie and Micheal - Emily's parents. I like the fact that we can see how other people involved in the story are feeling, too - some books only have the thoughts and opinions of the main character, yet here we can see the views of more people other than just the main protaginists.

            Throughout the book some chapters are dedicated to flashbacks, which range from childhood memories of Emily and Chris up to weeks before the accident took place. I think is a fantastic inclusion to have, as it gives us more of an insight to the characters' backgrounds, and will eventually show the reasoning behind just why Emily ended up dead.

            I think that Picoult's made the characters very likeable and I found myself easily warming to the majority of them. The author has painted these characters so vividly and you can relate to them throughout the book, be it understanding the sorrow of Chris at losing his soulmate, or just how sad Emily was feeling before she died.

            The ending of the book is indeed a tear-jerker, and the final flashback revealing what really happened had me weeping my eyes out! I think the book has a great ending to it, it ties up any loose ends nicely and does so in a way that is fantastically written and not rushed at all.

            In all, it's a brilliant read and I couldn't recommend it enough.

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              09.07.2010 22:28
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              Read it!

              This is actually the second time I have read 'The Pact'. Not because I loved it that much the first time I read it, but because the first time I read it was years ago and I didn't think I gave it the attention it deserves! Since then, Jodi Picoult has become a much bigger name and therefore I thought I'd re-read this, for enjoyment (and reviewing purposes!).

              'The Pact' centres on two main characters - Emily and Chris. Both are 17 when we meet them in the first Chapter and Emily, very strangely is pronounced dead on the very first page - cause of death: a bullet wound to her head. The only other person there is Chris.

              The first page makes this book a mystery almost instantly. We soon find out that Emily and Chris were a couple, and had been since the day that Emily was born, and Chris was just six months old. So why is Emily lying dead in Chris' arms some 17 years later?

              The book unravels all the events that lead to the current day, and goes some way beyond that too. Because of this, and the fact that Emily is dead in the 'present' of the book, Jodi Picoult takes us back into the past so that we can learn about Emily and get to know her. The book does this throughout - we are taken via a path where we are constantly moving through the past and present in order to pick apart what has happened between Chris and Emily - why Emily is dead and Chris is still alive.

              The parents of both Chris and Emily also have important roles in the story. In fact, it is because of their friendship with each other that Chris and Emily end up being as close as they are. In some ways, all the connections between these families and the way that they have become intertwined with each other makes you wonder if they are too close for comfort.

              Naturally when Emily dies, the ties between Chris and Emily's parents become to loosen with suspicions surrounding Chris' involvement in Emily's death. This is where I thought it got really interesting. Some loyalties in the two families weren't what you thought they might be. It certainly made for a very interesting read!

              I liked the way that this book was written. Jodi Picoult did a great thing by switching between the past and the present. It could have potentially been very confusing, but the timing of the switches was brilliant and I never found myself unsure of what was happening.

              Having read this for the second time, I can definitely say that I am impressed. This was a brilliant read and I am now quite keen to go off and read other books by Jodi Picoult. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fictional reading. It might be more for the girls but then again, it's not a conventional love story so I think most people (of either gender) would enjoy it!

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                11.04.2010 09:46
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                a great book

                I have quite a few books written by Jodi Picoult and every single time I go to a charity shop or a bookstore and find one that I don't have, I feel I need to buy it. One of the books I found on my shelves is 'The Pact' which is another mastership.

                The Hartes and the Golds live very close together. They have been best friends since the birth of their children Emily and Chris who are now respectively sixteen and seventeen. They spend a lot of time together and have - in my opinion - a very special bond. No one seems surprised when Chris and Emily's relationship turns into something more.

                And then one night the families are called into hospital. Emily has been found dead from several gunshots from the head. It comes to everyone as a shock that Chris claims the two of them had a suicidal pact.

                Every other chapter relates to their lives as children, leading up to this fatal night. In my opinion, thank to that we have a bit of background on their childhood which may help to form our own judgements and opinions.

                There aren't very many characters appearing in this book; obviously Emily who as it comes out was a very unhappy girl, Chris who loved her to bits and could do anything for her, Michael and Melanie Gold who were Emily's parents and cannot believe their tragedy, James and Gus Harte (who are Chris's parents) and are trying to find a way to deal with their situation and Jordan McAfee, Chris's defence attorney. If you have read other Picoult's books such as 'Salem Falls' and 'Nineteen Minutes', you will see that Jordan, his wife Selena and son Thomas appear in them as well (I personally find this link between Jodi Picoult's books very interesting).

                The characters aren't always easy to identify with but I guess the way this book is written helps to at least understand them. Throughout this book, they will very often surprise and the action will take a completely different direction (which isn't much of a surprise taking into account that it was written by Picoult).

                As the book goes, there are many details of Emily's life revealed and we learn why she could have possibly been driven to such a radical step like suicide or why Chris would like to kill her.

                I love how the book kept on surprising me and turning into completely different things as I read. It was absolutely gripping and I couldn't put it down. I considered a few final scenarios that I thought could possibly happen and yet Picoult came up with something completely different.

                I do admire Picoult as a writer because she is able to write such sensitive, realistic books that make you think about your possible actions in such a situation and it always makes me wonder whether what the characters in the book have done was right. I strongly recommend this book to all her fans.

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                  11.03.2010 20:05
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                  Story of 2 kids who grow up unable to live without each other

                  The Pact has been sat on my bookcase for many months now and never really caught my attention. However now having read it I am unsure why.

                  Jodi Picoult's novel features two children who are brought up together from birth, who form an intense bond which unites them throughout their life from childhood to adolescence. The story unravels the closeness of two families torn apart by tragedy and the emotions experienced by each character throughout the ordeal of a criminal court case.

                  Emily is a teenage girl, who has been in a relationship with Chris since they were 15. Joined at the hip (not literally), their parents had forever hoped that their relationship would blossom into something more than friendship and when it did nobody tried to stop them. Until one day Emily is dead in what is believed to have been a double suicide gone wrong, as Chris is still alive.

                  Picoult has cleverly written this novel to ensure the reader is always involved in the story. From the beginning when we read about the parents becoming friends and learning of the horrors found by the police we are thrown into a story which is divided into two parts. Each chapter alternates between Now and Then. 'Now' being the present problems both families are experiencing and 'Then' being the life they had before everything spiralled out of control. In many books where the author uses this technique its impact fails. However, Picoult uses this to draw the book together in the closing chapters and so the Now and Then run parallel with just a few days separating the two. We are slowly enticed into needing to know more about the couple's history before being thrown back into the reality that the key characters are facing.

                  Both Emily and Chris are portrayed and very likeable, intelligent teenagers. They both come from reasonably affluent families (it would appear) and they have both been entrusted to look after each other whatever happens. An example of this being when on holiday aged 13 we are given a scenario whereby Chris' father witnesses them kissing alone in a cabin and leaves them to it, cherishing the fact that his son is forming a different kind of relationship with Emily. He then feeds the news back and the two sets of parents celebrate. A scenario like this in a normal 13 year old girl's life would most likely be scrutinised by her parents with their constant presence in the room that evening.

                  We see Emily as the developed art student, whereas Chris excels in English and swimming and we see their individual abilities form part of a criminal trial used to discredit both the prosecution and defence cases respectively.

                  Mr & Mrs Harte, Chris' parents, each deal with the consequences of Emily's death and their son's involvement in very different ways, and Mr & Mrs Gold, Emily's parents fail to come to terms with her death, with her mother in denial and her father adamant that Chris, who he thought of as one of the family, unable to have contributed.

                  The above may seem a lot of information, but it is no more than the back of the cover states and it certainly doesn't constitute a spoiler.

                  Aside of the key characters within the family, we are also introduced to an underlying relationship between Jordon McAfee, Chris' lawyer and his private investigator, Selena. At no point does Picoult detail their relationship as being anything other than professional, but there is a hint of underlying sexual tension between the pair.

                  The final key character in the novel is the prosecutor, Barrie Delaney. Her involvement is obviously key to the criminal court case, but her character fails to develop unlike the others. Our knowledge of her is limited and I felt I couldn't relate to her.

                  The chapters in this novel are approximately 25 pages long. Too long in my opinion, however we are treated to several breaks within the chapters which redirect the story or divert it to another character. It is quite easy to put the book down at these intervals and be able to recall the storyline without getting lost, and so the length of the chapter isn't such a problem.

                  The novel itself is quite long, comprising of 487 pages and a question section at the back. I am assuming that this section is for the purpose of academic learning or books groups. They are entitled discussion questions and form a basis of discussion. These are followed by an interview with Jodi Picoult surrounding the decisions she made with regards to the storyline of the novel.

                  Both a nice touch but not something I have come across before.
                  I would recommend this novel, as it wasn't anything like I thought it would be and I cannot think why I didn't pick it up sooner. I bought mine in a charity shop for 50p which I consider a bargain. Retail price is £6.99.

                  Having just been about to publish this review I read a review on the film adaptation of this novel and intend to purchase it.

                  Also on Ciao under the same name.

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                    07.02.2010 17:18
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                    A good read - try it

                    The cover says "your son says they both meant to die. But he lived. What would you do?" My alternative would be " Your best friend, the person you love above all others wants you to help them committ suicide. What would you do?"

                    This is a tale of Chris and Emily - two teenagers who have grown up with each other from birth and live next door to each other. They know each other better than they know themselves and their parents are best friends. Their lives are so intertwined that everyone expects them to eventually fall in love, marry and settle down together - yet chapter one reveals a double suicide pact with Emily dying and Chris being accused of her murder.

                    Through Jodie Picoult's style of going forward and back in time, and by looking at many different viewpoints, you get a glimpse into this unique relationships. Yet this story is also one of love between Chris and his mother, Gus, whilst also being a study of how we deal with grief - and where we find solace. Its a story of one person wanting more than another yet it is also an exciting court drama.

                    As ever this is a story of twists and turns. Just as you think you know where the author is heading, so she vears off in a different direction. This is my third Jodi Picoult book and I was not dissapointed. I particularly like the idea that you continue to think about teh characters - long after you have finished the book. I know that they ave made a film of the book but I haven't seen it. However I would urge you to try the book.

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                      06.01.2010 23:22
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                      The Pact

                      This book is by Jodi Picoult, one of my favourite authors of all time, I know on book reviews you do not like to give away too much as this can be annoying for the reader, so here goes... This book is in the fiction genre and like no other, Jodi Picoult always writes here stories and adds the scenario on the front cover. On this particular one she says,

                      "You son says they both meant to die

                      But he survived

                      What would you do?"

                      I read this book over the Christmas period as one of my friends bought it for me and I really could not put it down, until I really had too (only when I was bursting for the loo or dying of hunger and thirst)! I find her books absolutely amazing to read and I find that in this book you really side with one half (when you read you will know what I am talking about). She makes you feel how the characters are feeling and the description in the book almost captures it like a really life place and family!

                      This book is based on two families:

                      The Hartes

                      The Golds

                      The have lived an acre away from each other for almost 18 years, in that time they have experienced many joys together and have become extremely close and almost inseparable to the point they would get together for Christmas. They both have children and they both have one each that happen to be the same age. Chris and Emily have a friendship that blossoms in teenage years...

                      When both families get a call to say Emily is dead and Chris plays a part in the suicide pact, it was very unbelievable! This leads the families to ask themselves whether they even know their children at all!

                      This book is great as it flips to the past and present each chapter which actually helps me to understand this very well. The book has 400 and 50 odd pages and can take a while to get used to but once your in and you love it, you will not be able to put it down until you are finished!

                      This is a horror/love genre and lots of other themes mixed in too.

                      I would recommend this to everyone who enjoys Jodi Picoult's books!

                      Fantastic Read!

                      Holly x

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                        01.01.2010 19:32
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                        Try it out, it will have you hooked!

                        I am a big fan of Jodi Picoult and it is because of this book that I am. I was given this book to read by a friend who couldn't recommend it highly enough and now I know why.

                        This was the first Jodi Picoult book that I read and I really could not put it down. It has twists that you'd never see coming and allows you to see the characters in all different lights, changing your opinion throughout. It is thought provoking as it makes you see that not all is as it seems! It will have you gripped until the end and her style of writing was one that I had not come across before, very knowlegable but yet very easy reading. I would recommend this to all, especially if it is the first Jodi Picoult book that you have come across as it will make you buy the others thats for sure!

                        The storyline, without giving too much away, is that of a couple of teenagers that have grown up together as their families are close. Each character has their own views and opinions in the drama that unfolds throughout the book and you see the battles that they have to go through to do what's best for their children. You also get to see into the minds of teenagers and find out how complex they can be! The twist at the end is one you won't see coming, and will leave you reflecting on the book for weeks after.

                        I think this is a great read andit will have you gripped until the end, at that point you'll be dashing out to buy the rest of Jodi Picoults novels as all the hype about her writing is justified.

                        4/5 Dooyoo stars!

                        Thank you for reading.

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                          22.08.2009 19:26
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                          Intriguing story with a shocking twist!

                          'The Pact' was the first Jodi Picoult book I ever read and I haven't looked back since! I LOVE Jodi Picoult and this book will always be my favourite as it introduced me to such a brilliant author. The main reason I love this book is because it keeps you guessing all the way through the story - did he, didn't he? Jodi drags you into the story and refuses to let you escape until you have read the book cover to cover and have the answers you need. The characters are so believable and for ages after you finish the book you will be thinking about them as though they were real people in a real situation. Jodi also thoroughly researches her books and provides detailed information, i.e. in this book regarding the legal system and minors. This book is a brilliant introduction to the world of Picoult and makes you keen to read the rest of her books (which I have done - all of them)!

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                            18.08.2009 14:01

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                            A very addictive book about a teenage suicide pact

                            Yet another one of Jodi Picoult's that once you pick up you just can't put down. The book is sold with a variety of different covers, but don't worry the literature inside is the same no matter what copy you get

                            Without going into too much detail, there are two families, the 'Hartes' and the 'Golds', who live next door to each other and have been friends for years. Eventually the two children, Chris and Emily become and item but then both families are shocked when Emily dies from a bullet in the head, the question is, was it a suicide pact between the pair or not?

                            At the beginning, Jodi refers to each family and the children quite a bit which I found a little confusing, but bare with it, after the first couple of chapters it all seems to make sense.

                            The chapter are split into 'Now' and 'Then' which I found a really interesting way of dividing the book. Through out the book each section gives you a little more information until all becomes clear.

                            At the end of the copy I was reading, there were some printed book club questions. Although I don't belong to a book club it was interesting, it gave me a different angle to view things, so if you can, get a copy with the extra feature at the back.

                            A very good book, that brings to light current teenage issues.

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                          'Picoult has a remarkable ability to make us share her characters' feelings of confusion and horror'