“Engrossing...The Pact is compelling reading.”—People
In this heart-rending tale of love and friendship, Jodi Picoult brings to life a familiar world, and in a single terrifying moment awakens every parent’s worst fear: We think we know our children . . . but do we ever really know them at all?
The Golds and the Hartes, neighbors for eighteen years, have always been inseparable. So have their children—and it’s no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily’s friendship blossoms into something more. But the bonds of family, friendship, and passion—which had seemed so indestructible—suddenly threaten to unravel in the wake of unimaginable tragedy.
When midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the truth. Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There’s a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris pilfered 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 describes.
This extraordinary, poignant novel paints an indelible portrait of two families in anguish . . . and creates an astonishingly suspenseful courtroom drama as Chris is put on trial for murder.
Teenage suicide is the provocative topic that Picoult plumbs, with mixed results, in her fifth novel. Popular high-school swimming star Chris Harte and talented artist Em Gold bonded as infants; their parents have been next-door neighbors and best friends for 18 years. When they fall in love, everyone is ecstatic. Everyone, it turns out, except for Em, who finds that sex with Chris feels almost incestuous. Her emotional turmoil, compounded by pregnancy, which she keeps secret, leads to depression, despair and a desire for suicide, and she insists that Chris prove his love by pulling the trigger. The gun is fired in the first paragraph, and so the book opens with a jolt of adrenaline. But Picoult stumbles in delineating both sets of parents' responses to the tragedy. Unconvincing behavior and dialogue inappropriate to the situation (plus, most importantly, the fact that the parents fail to discuss crucial topics) never touch the essence of bereavement and thus destroy credibility. Picoult redeems herself in flashbacks that reveal the two marital relationships and the personalities of both couples; and she sensitively explores the question of how well parents can ever know their children. After Chris is accused of murder and jailed, the narrative acquires impressive authenticity and suspense, with even the minor characters evoked with Picoult's keen eye for telling detail. The courtroom scenes (reminiscent of Picoult's 1996 novel, Mercy), are taut and well paced. Readers may remain unconvinced, however, that an intelligent young man like Chris would not have sought some help rather than respond to his lover's desperate request. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections; foreign rights sold in Germany, France, Poland and Norway.
This book is really amazing and well written. I've read most of jodis books and this is one of the best! I loved it!
My favorite Picoult book
Couldn't put it down, it absolutely details the lives of these people so much that you feel as though you are living it alongside of them!
This has been by far one of my favorite books! I definitely recommend it. It will keep you hooked for hours!