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The Pact [Kindle Edition]

Jodi Picoult
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,738 customer reviews)

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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

From Jodi Picoult, one of the most powerful writers in contemporary fiction, comes a riveting, timely, heartbreaking, and terrifying novel of families in anguish -- and friendships ripped apart by inconceivable violence. Until the phone calls came at 3:00 A.M. on a November morning, the Golds and their neighbors, the Hartes, had been inseparable. It was no surprise to anyone when their teenage children, Chris and Emily, began showing signs that their relationship was moving beyond that of lifelong friends. But now seventeen-year-old Emily has been shot to death by her beloved and devoted Chris as part of an apparent suicide pact -- leaving two devastated families stranded in the dark and dense predawn, desperate for answers about an unthinkable act and the children they never really knew.


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Picoult is a writer of high energy and conviction who has, in her fifth novel, brought to life a cast of subtly drawn characters caught up in a tragedy as timeless and resonant as those of the Greeks or Shakespeare. That is not to say that Picoult is anything but accessible; in fact, this psychologically shrewd tale is as suspenseful as any best-selling legal thriller. The Hartes and the Golds, professional folk living next door in an affluent New Hampshire town, are close friends, and their children, the Hartes' son, Chris, and Emily Gold, were born just weeks apart. Inseparable all through childhood, they slipped from the haven of intimate friendship into the tempestuous realm of love in high school, a transition their parents fully expected and welcomed. But Emily is secretly appalled by the incestuous nature of her relationship with Chris, and when she discovers that she is pregnant, she can imagine only one solution: suicide. Chris is with her when she dies and is consequently charged with her murder. As Picoult takes us through the nightmare that follows, examining each character's struggle with guilt and sorrow, she forges a finely honed, commanding, and cathartic drama. Donna Seaman

Product Details

  • File Size: 860 KB
  • Print Length: 497 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0340838035
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (October 6, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001KDQ4KQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #589 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
173 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! January 18, 2000
Format:Paperback
I was unable to put this book down. What an amazing book. Jodi Picoult has perfectly described the feelings of love, loss, grief and devastation in The Pact. I think I must have begun weeping several times while reading this book (on the bus, in line at the drug store...).
Not only is the book gripping while you are reading it but it stays with you afterwards - I can't stop thinking about it.
The Pact is the story of two teenagers who grow up next door to one another from birth, their parents are the best of friends and have always expected that their children's friendship will blossom into love which it does.
The book jumps from both Chris and Emily's perspective as well as both sets of parents - it deals with a suicide pact gone wrong and the aftermath (as well as what has lead up to the central moment). If anyone has ever learned devastating news or lost a loved one then they know what it can do to a person as well as a family and I thought that The Pact was unbelievably realistic.
This was one of the most moving, touching and important books I have read - it certainly leaves you thinking about it and your own life as well as the lives of those around you.
Read this one but make sure to keep a box of tissues and a loved one near by (for a hug if you need one).
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83 of 95 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read but... February 4, 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After being turned on to Jodi Picoult through My Sister's Keeper, I sought her out at the bookstore and stumbled upon this book.

Picoult manages to capture the essence of the grief and heartache suicide bequeathes in exacting detail. I admired the deft way in which she segued from present to past, seamlessly telling the story of a multitude of characters through varying perspectives.

However, I think she fell short in the execution of events leading to Emily's suicide. After the last page, I'm still left questioning how Emily was brought to believe suicide was her only option. I think Picoult should have examined this angle a bit more in-depth.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your typical "chick novel" January 2, 2004
Format:Paperback
Assuming that this was another "chick novel", I would not have ordinarily picked this book to read. But since a friend had recommended it to me, I dived into it with low expectations. As I read, I became increasingly engrossed with the realistically-drawn characters and well-crafted plot. The novel is great for book discussion groups as it raises lots of questions: Can the legal system ever adjudicate the real truth, or is truth so relative that it can never be legally defined? Can one give onself over to another too completely? Is suicide ever a reasonable answer to life's challenges? This book is indeed a "chick novel" in the sense that it is primarily about interpersonal relationships. But it is more than just a light, entertaining read. Those who appreciated the movie "Ordinary People" will find in this novel a similarly sophisticated treatment of the despair that can attend adolescence and the impact it can have on families and communities.
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65 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart wrenching..... January 29, 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Two families were the closest of friends. Their children, Christopher Harte and Emily Gold, both age 17, had grown up together and started dating each other at age 13. On one fateful night, that all changed when Emily is found dead from a gunshot wound and Chris claims it was a suicide pact. The prosecutor claims murder and now these two supposedly ideal families will be ripped apart as they grapple with what happened and why.

Jodi Picoult's powerful story will leave the reader reeling from the overwhelming emotions conveyed. Ms. Picoult demonstrates a solid grasp of her subject matter as her characters struggle with the notion of Emily's suicide versus Chris being her murderer. THE PACT: A LOVE STORY is thought provoking, albeit painful at times.

Jodi Picoult deftly interweaves the past and present in this poignant family drama. Suicide is an extremely sensitive subject and this topic may disturb some readers. Ms. Picoult handles the topic exceptionally well, however, remaining sensitive to all of the issues and parties involved in THE PACT: A LOVE STORY.

THE PACT: A LOVE STORY is not an easy read, but it is a book well worth reading more for the questions Ms. Picoult asks than for any real answers. As the story unfolds, readers will find themselves completely immersed into this deeply moving and heart wrenching tale. THE PACT: A LOVE STORY is a very realistic portrayal of the aftermath of a suicide, particularly one under such questionable circumstances, and as such will be both loved and hated at the same time. Kudos to Ms. Picoult for daring to venture into this territory and for being so compassionate in the process.

COURTESY OF CK2S KWIPS AND KRITIQUES
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Healing January 31, 2005
Format:Paperback
I probably would not have read this book if I'd really known what it was about as we had recently lost a child to suicide. However, I am glad that I read it. It was enormously healing to read about other families facing the same sort of loss. The story was also well done. I could completely understand why the main characters acted as they did and also see how tragically unnecessary it was. Great book. Nicely written, believeable characters.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something Missing July 11, 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After you've read a few Jodi Picoult books, you come to expect certain things. A compelling, flashpoint topic (teen suicide, stigmata, school shootings, sexual abuse, etc.) that rips a small New England community apart. Courtroom drama. Finely wrought family dynamics. A maverick lawyer, a quirky judge, and a lot of angst. Tons of plot twists and turns.

All of the above were present in "The Pact," a story of the death of a teenage golden girl, with her longtime boyfriend accused of the murder -- which he claims was a double suicide gone awry. The defendant bobs and weaves as news of Emily's pregnancy comes to light, and plenty of red herrings are thrown into the mix. But still something was missing.

I felt like there just wasn't quite ENOUGH drama in this book... I expected one more horrifying secret to be revealed at the end. I did not believe that Emily's reasons for killing herself were sufficiently grave. And I couldn't believe that NO ONE -- not the police, not his parents, not the lawyer, no one -- asked Chris what really happened that night.

Stilll, with Picoult's wonderful writing, this book is still worth reading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning story.
This is the first book I've read by Jodi Picoult; I will surely be reading her entire collection of books. Read more
Published 8 hours ago by Chelsea C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love the movie and book
Published 8 hours ago by Lauren Padgett
4.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't sure I'd finish this book
For the first third of this story, I wasn't sure I wanted to give my time to finishing the book. There were elements that made me uneasy. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Louine B. Hunter
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your typical love story
Interesting read. Definitely an emotional roller coaster ride, especially being the mother of a young boy. Got a little slow at times, but overall entertaining!
Published 2 days ago by Janine Reilly
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great
This is not Miss Picoult's best but it is still an interesting read.
Published 2 days ago by Jennifer Caracappa
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed thos book and can really recommend
As usual with this author, she keeps you guessing right to the end. I really enjoyed thos book and can really recommend.
Published 3 days ago by Valerie Tippins
5.0 out of 5 stars This story is an easy one to rate
This story is an easy one to rate. Simple : I spent one night reading it to get to the end. The story reaches your most inner emotions, and poses the question of a dilemma for a... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Eileen Morilleau
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy
As described.
Published 5 days ago by Karen Sisk
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the best books I've read from Jodi Picoult. I couldn't put it down!
Published 6 days ago by tina leavitt
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very good from the beginning.
Published 8 days ago by Norma McKelvey
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More About the Author

I grew up on Long Island with my parents and my little brother, the product of a ridiculously happy childhood. My mom says I've been writing as long as she remembers - my first masterpiece was "The Lobster That Was Misunderstood," at age 5. I honed my writing skills beyond that, one hopes, before I headed off to Princeton, where I wanted to work with living, breathing authors in their creative writing program. Mary Morris was my teacher/mentor, and I really do believe I wouldn't be where I am today if not for her guidance and expertise. I had two short stories published in SEVENTEEN magazine when I was in college. However, when I graduated, a desire to not eat ramen noodles exclusively and to be able to pay my rent led me to take a job on Wall Street (not a great idea, since I can't even balance my checkbook). When the stock market crashed in 1987, I moved to Massachusetts and over the course of two years, worked at a textbook publishing company, taught creative writing at a private school, became an ad copywriter, got a master's in education at Harvard, got married, taught at a public school, and had a baby. My first novel was published shortly after my son was born, and I've always said that the reason I kept writing is because it's so much easier than teaching English.

In fourteen years, I've published thirteen novels: Songs of the Humpback Whale, Harvesting the Heart, Picture Perfect, Mercy, The Pact, Keeping Faith, Plain Truth, Salem Falls, Perfect Match, Second Glance, My Sister's Keeper, Vanishing Acts, and the upcoming The Tenth Circle, this March. Two of my books (Plain Truth and The Pact) were made into Lifetime TV movies; Keeping Faith will be another. My Sister's Keeper is in development at New Line Cinema to be a feature film. And there isn't a single day that I don't stop and marvel at the fact that when I go to work, I get to do what I love the most.

My husband Tim and I live in Hanover, NH with our three kids, a dog, a rabbit, and the occasional donkey or cow.

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Jodi Picoult novels that aren't about trials?
Songs of the Humpback Whale, Harvesting the Heart, and Picture Perfect don't have anything to do with trials..Keeping Faith does have a custody battle, but it isn't as big a part of the books as trials are in the others.
May 2, 2010 by ~*Starflight*~ |  See all 4 posts
will there be a part 2
Not that I know of. I think the author intended the story of Chris and Emily to stand alone. If the story didn't end with Chris' acquittal and his departure to college, their relationship and Emily's suicide wouldn't have the same emotional impact on the readers. I think my reaction to the... Read More
Jul 7, 2013 by Josh McDonald |  See all 2 posts
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