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The Pact

by Jodi Picoult

The profound questions faced by the characters in this heartrending novel are those we can all relate to: How well do we ever really know our children or our friends? What if..?

For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other, sharing everything from Chinese food to chicken pox to carpool duty – they’ve grown so close it seems they have always been a part of each other’s lives. Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it’s no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily’s friendship blossoms into something more. They’ve been soul mates since they were born.

So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the appalling truth: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There’s a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris took from his father’s cabinet – a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris has described.

As its chapters unfold, alternating between an idyllic past and an unthinkable present, The Pact paints an indelible portrait of families in anguish, culminating in an astonishingly suspenseful courtroom drama as Chris finds himself on trial for murder.


“This psychologically shrewd tale is as suspenseful as any bestselling legal thriller…she forges a finely honed, commanding and cathartic drama.”  Booklist

“Engrossing… The Pact is compelling reading, right up to the stunning courtroom conclusion. Bottom line: Picoult’s deft touch makes this her breakout novel.”  People

“Jodi Picoult captures the ripple effect that occurs after the sudden, violent death of a promising youngster in her captivating fifth novel, The Pact… Scenes from Chris’s trial are particularly compelling, more personal and emotionally resonant than anything from John Grisham.”  The Raleigh News & Observer

“From all angles, this is an outstanding story… a wake-up call and an unforgettable experience.”  The Concord Monitor

“The novelist displays an almost uncanny ability to enter the skins of her trouble young protagonists.”  New York Times

“Jodi Picoult’s fifth novel, The Pact, is so good that we can’t put it down… It is suspenseful, intelligently written, topical.”  Detroit Free Press

“… an affecting story of obsession, loss, and some of the more wrenching varieties of guilt. A moving story, mingling elements of mystery with sensitive exploration of a tragic subject.”  Kirkus Reviews


Book Club Notes
01 January, 1998

About Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-three novels, the last eight debuting at number one on The New York Times bestseller list. Jodi lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.


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