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Second Glance: A Novel Paperback – August 5, 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 433 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Ghosts and ghost hunters collide in this compelling tale of the paranormal set in Vermont's green mountains. When the patriarch of the Abenaki Indian tribe that was nearly eradicated by that state's eugenics project in the 1930s encounters Ross Wakeman, the miraculous survivor of several attempted suicides who wants nothing more than to be reunited with the woman he loved and lost, they set in motion a chain of events that will unravel an ancient murder and lead to a second chance at life and love for the victim's descendants. Picoult, author of Salem Falls, brings the past alive and peoples it with a cast of extraordinarily well-realized characters whose reach into the future touches the lives of a dying boy, a frightened girl, and their mothers--two women who've given up on love until the revenants stirred up by a plan to develop an ancient burial ground show them what they're missing. Second Glance is an intricate and suspenseful ghost story that enchants and illuminates all the way to its powerful conclusion. --Jane Adams --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

It is August in Comtosook, Vt., yet suddenly the temperature fluctuates wildly, rose petals mysteriously fall like snow, patches of land are completely frozen and roiling garter snakes cover the ground. Suspense and the supernatural are artfully interwoven in this 10th novel by Picoult (Perfect Match, etc.), in which a man desperately seeks to join his fiancee in death, and a 1930s eugenics project comes back to haunt a small town in Vermont. Ever since his beloved Aimee was killed in a car accident, Ross Wakeman has deliberately put himself at risk, hoping to die. When nothing works, and a job with a paranormal investigator brings him no closer to Aimee, he moves in with his sister, Shelby, in Comtosook. As chance would have it, strange phenomena are plaguing the town, and Ross is drawn into an investigation of a piece of land that local Abenaki Indians claim is an old burial ground. In the process, he meets lovely Lia Beaumont, who has some mysterious connection to sinister goings-on 70 years before in Comtosook. Many more characters are essential to the elaborate, engrossing plot, including Spencer Pike, once a eugenics expert and now a tormented old man in a nursing home; Meredith Oliver, a genetic diagnostician with an uncanny resemblance to Lia Beaumont; and Ross's eight-year-old nephew, Ethan, who suffers from a condition that makes him allergic to sunlight. Picoult's ability to bring them all vividly to life is remarkable. Firmly rooting her otherworldly tale in everyday reality, she produces a spellbinding suspense novel offering insight into the human spirit and the depths of true love.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reissue edition (August 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416583866
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416583868
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (433 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-two novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers "The Storyteller," "Lone Wolf," "Between the Lines," "Sing You Home," "House Rules," "Handle with Care," "Change of Heart," "Nineteen Minutes," and "My Sister's Keeper." She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is not your typical mystery. With a first sentence like this:
"Ross Wakeman succeeded the first time he killed himself, but not the second or the third."
One would think this is a depressing book. It's not. It's a very different type of reading ~~ with different characters scattered who knows where but it all comes together nicely. They all have one thing in common and that is the real mystery of the novel. Ross, Shelby, Ethan, Eli, Az, Meredith, Lucy, Ruby, Spencer and Lia all have a story to tell and how it is all connected, Picoult does her painstakingly thorough work as usual to tie them all together. And I am not disappointed with the results!
Be patient is what I would say about this book. There are a lot of characters in this book, and sometimes it seems like Picoult gives the reader too much information about them or sometimes it seems repetitive but it's not. She really gives a good insight of each character and you find yourself turning the page hoping for more indepths to the characters. You find yourself sitting up late at night guessing the truth and finding out that it wasn't so predictable after all.
The theme of this novel is about love and ghosts. It is also about people solving a 70-year old murder mystery. It is about people losing the ones they love and finding love again in mysterious ways. Lies unravel in the face of the truth. Dreams get shattered and broken in this novel then painstakingly brought back together again. It is a good insight on love and relationships and the paranormal has a big part in how this book flows together. This is one of the best Picoult novels I have yet read (I've read them all). I am looking forward to more of her books since she has not failed to meet my expectations!
Grab this one without delay ~~ it's perfect fall reading. Just to be sure to snuggle under your blanket and be prepared to be swept away by Picoult's lyrical writings.
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Format: Hardcover
Second Glance is an amazing novel, which careens across genre boundaries so energetically that it's difficult to describe (or design a cover for, judging by the results). It is undeniably a ghost story, and a murder mystery with strong police procedural elements, as well as a romance or two, plus a fascinating slab of historical novel about one of the lesser-known real horrors of 1930s America. Even if you don't normally enjoy any of these types of book, you may want to read this just for Picoult's skill at creating fascinating characters.
Beginning with a great first line - "Ross Wakeman succeeded the first time he killed himself, but not the second or third." - Second Glance introduces so many characters so quickly that you may find yourself having to take notes before the first chapter is done. Ross is an investigator of alleged hauntings, who has given up suicide because he suspects he's invincible. An ancient professor hears a baby crying in an old people's home. A cop rousts teenagers from a cemetery as it snows rose petals. Ghostly flies spell out a Native American word for 'baby'. A mother with a nine-year-old son fatally allergic to ultraviolet light has exchanged day for night, and has nightmares while she's awake.
Slowly, these threads and others begin to weave themselves into an intricate tapestry. As a supernatural thriller, Second Glance is on a par with The Sixth Sense or The Others, or one of Stephen King's novels without the more visceral elements. Running parallel to the ghost story is an equally well constructed scientific detective story, complete with coroner's reports and detailed DNA charts. The real strength, though, is the troubled but likeable characters - Ross, Ethan, Shelby, Eli, Cecilia, and others.
Second Glance is not without flaws.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
"Do we love across time? Or in spite of it?"
That's the theme that Jodi Picoult examines in SECOND GLANCE. By the end of the novel, I'm still not sure of the answer to that question. And as far as I can tell, the characters couldn't figure it out either. Perhaps it's meant to be an eternal mystery, but one thing's for sure: a number of people get hopelessly entangled in each other's lives while trying to unravel the mysteries of the past in this novel.
Ross Wakeman has tried to kill himself so many times, he's lost track. The only thing he lives for is catching a glimpse of his deceased fiancée, but he's never so much as even seen a ghost. He works as a paranormal investigator, and his travels bring him to Comtosook, Vermont, to visit with his sister, Shelby. While there, he finds more clues pointing to the existence of ghosts than ever before, and he meets beautiful and intriguing Lea Beaumont, a woman who stirs feelings in his heart he never thought he'd feel again. But what mysteries is she hiding? And will Ross ever be the same after finding out?
There are a whole slew of characters making their way through this novel, so take that as a warning. You might need to scribble down names and relationships even before you finish the first chapter. Though the plotline seems entangled, it all wraps up nicely (if not quite satisfyingly) in the end. Jodi Picoult has written a novel that's an interesting blend of ghost story and history lesson, though it may bore some readers with its foray into the eugenics movement of the 1930s. The characterization is also weak at times, as evidenced by Ross' complete inability to differentiate between love and obsession with the idea of love.
Pick this one up if you're looking for an interesting read, but don't expect a page turner.
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