Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult was published in March 2008 and the hardcover is 447 pages long. This latest release from Picoult is written in the same style as My Sister's Keeper, where each chapter is from a different character's perspective. Although not Picoult's best work - My Sister's Keeper is the better novel - this is still an enjoyable book. It does have a few flaws, however, the main one being the obvious similarity to Stephen King's The Green Mile. While I personally haven't read The Green Mile, even I knew enough about it to immediately see the similarity. I also knew very early on in Change of Heart what would be the major plot twist found at the end, although there were a few surprises.
Picoult has a gift for writing believable characters and having them interact in realistic ways during stressful situations. I agree with other reviewers who have wished she had taken more care in developing all of her characters and spent less time on the exploration of religious doctrine and trying to establish Shay Bourne as a Christ figure. Although, if you actually finish the book you are going to realize that she's not being blasphemous, she does dance close to the line for most of the book. This is potentially disturbing for some readers. I would also like to entreat some reviewers, however, to please finish a book before you review it. This is the second book that I know for a fact that some reviewers on Amazon did not finish it before posting negative reviews.
While this novel did feel rushed in some places, I did enjoy it and would recommend it, especially for Picoult fans. Rating: 4
Synopsis from cover:
Would you give up your vengeance against someone you hate if it meant saving someone you love? Would you want your dreams to come true if it meant granting your enemy's dying wish?
One moment June Nealon was happily looking forward to years full of laughter and adventure with her family, and the next, she was staring into a future that was as empty as her heart. Now her life is a waiting game. Waiting for time to heal her wounds, waiting for justice. In short, waiting for a miracle to happen.
For Shay Bourne, life holds no more surprises. The world has given him nothing, and he has nothing to offer the world. In a heartbeat, though, something happens that changes everything for him. Now, he has one last chance for salvation, and it lies with June's eleven-year-old daughter, Claire. But between Shay and Claire stretches an ocean of bitter regrets, past crimes, and the rage of a mother who has lost her child.
Can we save ourselves, or do we rely on others to do it? Is what we believe always the truth?
"This double murderer, this monster, looked like the water polo team captain who had sat next to me in an economics seminar last semester. He resembled the deliveryman from the pizza place that had a thin crust, the kind I liked... In other words, he didn't look the way I figured a killer would look, if I ever ran across one. He could have been any other kid in his twenties. He could have been me." pg. 5
"In the space between yes and no, there's a lifetime. It's the difference between the path you walk and the one you leave behind; its the gap between who you thought you could be and who you really are; it's the legroom for the lies you'll tell yourself in the future." pg. 20
"Like the teens I work with, I understand the need for miracles - they keep reality from paralyzing you." pg. 71
"I did not know the New Testament, but I did recognize a biblical passage when I heard one - and it didn't take a rocket scientist to realize that he was suggesting Shay's antics, or whatever you want to call them, were heaven sent... People were always 'finding' Jesus in jail. What if he was already here?" pgs. 82-83
"They were confusing showmanship and inexplicable events with divinity. A miracle was a miracle only until it could be proven otherwise." pg. 125
"The reason I fight so hard for Shay... is because I know what it's like when things you believe make you feel like you're on the outside looking in."
"I... I didn't realize..."
"How could you?... The guys at the top of the totem pole never see what's carved at the bottom." pgs. 375-376