Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

The Pact, by Jodi Picoult

Cover ImageFinished 8-16-10, rating 3.5/5, fiction. pub. 1998

There was nothing left to say.  He covered her body with his, and as she put her arms around him she could picture him in all his incarnations: age five, and still blond: age eleven, sprouting: age thirteen, with the hands of a man.  The moon rolled, sloe-eyed in the night sky; and she breathed in the scent of his skin. “I love you,” she said. 

He kissed her so gently she wondered if she had imagined  it.  She pulled back slightly, to look into his eyes.

And then there was a shot.

Opening of book

Right from the beginning we know that Emily is dead and her boyfriend Chris is not.  At the hospital Chris tells the police that they had made a suicide pact and he had chickened out in the end.  Only the police don’t believe him.  Chris and Emily’s parents are next door neighbors and long-time best friends, so this tragedy is compounded by the close relationship the two families share.  What really happened that night and can they all get past it?

Chris is the popular high school jock who is unprepared for the storm of accusations coming his way.  He is not used to being doubted.  His parents, Gus and James, don’t know how to deal with Chris, their daughter, or each other.  While Gus hovers around Chris protecting him, James expects things to get back to normal ASAP and refuses to really acknowledge what’s happened.

Emily was an only child, so her death at 17 hit her parents especially hard.  Melanie entered the grieving stage with anger and she never really got past it.  Michael wanted to do the right thing by his daughter and Chris, but he didn’t know what that was.

I’ve only read a few Picoult novels, but I’ve enjoyed them.  There is always a twist in the end, but this one wasn’t really much of a shock. Compelling, yes, shocking, no.  This was a story about teen suicide, love, and friendship.  I thought the impact of the death on the friendships was the most successful and honest part of the book.  It was the teen suicide and love storylines that didn’t work as well for me.  It did suck me in and I was very much involved, but some of it fell flat because it just didn’t make sense.  I know that suicide rarely makes sense to the living, so maybe that is unfair, but it’s how I felt nonetheless.

I usually love the shades of gray in Picoult’s novels, but this one was more black and white.  And the very end disappointed me.  Still it made me think and is a great book for discussion.

This is from my personal library and was chosen by Sharyn, Em, Colleen, Sheral, and Margie.  Here’s what they had to say…

“Love her books.”  Sheral

“Jodi Picoult’s stories are always very compelling and this is no exception.”  Colleen

“It got me hooked on her, couldn’t put it down.”  Em

August 19, 2010 - Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books |


  1. This was the first book of her’s that I read and I loved it. I loved that it made you think and question relationships. It’s amazing how one event affects so many people’s lives.

    Comment by Julie | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • If this had been my first Picoult book I would have been hooked as well. She does know how to make you think and can entertain at the same time.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 19, 2010 | Reply

  2. I have read 8 of her books. Picoult writes about issues which are not very comfortable for most to read. I have not read this one. The Sister’s Keeper is her most popular book but my personal favorite is Salem Falls. DO check it out, if you have not read it.

    Comment by gautami tripathy | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • I haven’t read Salem Falls, so I’ll add it to my list. I liked My Sister’s Keeper, even if it did make me shed a tear or two!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • Salem Falls is one of my favorites as well.

      Comment by Julie | August 23, 2010 | Reply

  3. I did not enjoy this one. I enjoyed the concept and style of the chapters etc but the ending I was so annoyed I decided I will try one more by JodiP before giving up and that will be 19 minutes, I hear it is her best from trusted friends that have similar interest as mine.

    I didn’t consider this one a Love story though, definitely not in Emily’s eyes.

    Comment by Marce | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • Well, Chris did everything in the book because he loved Emily. It was his motivation, so that’s why I said it was a story about love, faulty or not, and not a love story. Although that is the subtitle.
      I was very annoyed at the end too, there was no real justification or explanation for why she chose to end it that way, just disappointment for me.
      I haven’t read 19 Minutes but I’ve heard it’s good.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 19, 2010 | Reply

  4. I SO want to read this book, I have heard nothing but great things about it!

    Comment by Trisha | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • It covers some difficult topics and will make you think.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 19, 2010 | Reply

  5. I’ve been hearing so many great things about her books, but still have yet to pick one up. I really, really didn’t like the My Sister’s Keeper plot twist…so I really don’t know if I’ll enjoy her or not. Someone told me, though, that Nineteen Minutes is a must read…so I’ll be giving that one a try.

    Great review! But I don’t think I’ll be picking this one up from the sounds of it.

    Comment by Heather | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • I’d start with something else. She is a talented author so I hope you get a chance to read her.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 19, 2010 | Reply

  6. I love reading others thoughts on books I’ve read. Especially because this was one of my favorites by Picoult for a long time. I’ve read all of her books except her newest. Just haven’t gotten to it yet, but I will.

    Comment by Staci | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • According to the voters and commenters it’s a favorite of quite a few! I’m just weird, I guess 😉

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 19, 2010 | Reply

  7. I’ve read a couple of Picoult books, but don’t really enjoy them. The topics are usually just too tough for me.

    Comment by Carol | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • I think I read one every few years and that’s probably all I can handle 🙂

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 19, 2010 | Reply

  8. I’ve enjoyed the Picoult novels I’ve read too. She sure knows how to suck you into a story. I haven’t read this one, but it sounds good.

    Comment by bermudaonion | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • I think it would be a good read for parents of teens for sure. It’s not something people really want to talk about.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 19, 2010 | Reply

  9. I enjoyed this Piccoult novel as well, but I agree that it wasn’t my favorite one. I like your analysis of it being more a black/white tales versus the usual shades of grey.

    I have a brief review of it on my site as well if you are interested .. .

    Comment by Laura's Reviews | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who liked it but wasn’t wowwed by it.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 19, 2010 | Reply

  10. I had to come back because I am so interested in what others had to say.

    BTW – On the cover it says ‘A Love Story’ I wasn’t questioning what you wrote. I full agree with you.

    Comment by Marce | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • Yeah, I got that as I was typing 🙂 It doesn’t make sense to me that it’s on the cover either!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 19, 2010 | Reply

  11. 😉 I loved it as you know. If you haven’t checked out 19 minutes by her I’d check that one out. One ofmy other faves of hers.

    Comment by pinkflipflops | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • I’ve heard good things about that one.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 20, 2010 | Reply

  12. I’ve read ALL of Picoult’s books. This was good but not my favorite.

    Comment by diane | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • I don’t know if I’ll ever read them all, but I do like checking her out one a year or so 🙂

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 20, 2010 | Reply

  13. This one didn’t really work for me. I’ve read a bunch of her books but this one could have been way better I thought. And I have a review of her book “House Rules” coming up and I talk about her “formula” which always involve these “twist” endings. It is starting to get on my nerves.

    Comment by Jenners | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • I do agree that it could have been much better. Of the three things I thought the book was about only one worked for me. That being said it was still better than most of the books out there!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 20, 2010 | Reply

  14. I really need to read Jodi Piccoult books. They come highly recommended!

    Comment by Veens | August 20, 2010 | Reply

    • You do have to try one. I haven’t read enough to recommend one, but it seems quite a few people like 19 Minutes. And I did get caught up in My Sister’s Keeper, but if you know the twist it might be ruined.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 20, 2010 | Reply

  15. A+ would read again

    Comment by mode20100 | August 26, 2010 | Reply

  16. It’s an amazing book , with a great twist. I like how she takes you back and forth, it makes you want to keep reading to finally found out what is the true events of that tragic night. I would read it again and recommended it for anyone who love twists and cliff hangers in their books.

    Comment by Melissa Seruya | October 28, 2013 | Reply

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