Jodi Picoult is the bestselling author of fourteen novels. She grew up in Long Island and then studied creative writing at Princeton. Following her graduation she had a series of jobs including as a technical writer for a Wall Street brokerage firm, as a copywriter at an ad agency, as an editor at a textbook publisher, and as an 8th grade English teacher - before entering Harvard to pursue a master's in education. She married Tim Van Leer, whom she had known at Princeton, and it was while she was pregnant with her first child that she wrote her first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale. Jodi and Tim and their three children live in Hanover, New Hampshire with a dog, a rabbit, two Jersey calves, and the occasional Holstein.
When itinerant carpenter Shay Bourne is moved to the maximum security wing of the New Hampshire State Prison to await execution in the state's first capital punishment case in decades, odd things happen. The water in the cells runs red with wine; a rescued baby bird comes back to life; an inmate's AIDS goes into remission. Eleven years earlier, Shay was convicted of murdering Kurt Nealon and his seven-year-old stepdaughter, Elizabeth. Kurt's wife, June, was pregnant when her family was killed, and her second child, Claire, was born with a heart defect. Without a transplant, Claire will die, so Shay wants to donate his heart to make amends for Elizabeth's death. Because lethal injection will render the heart useless, ACLU attorney Maggie Bloom seeks to change the sentence to death by hanging. Her unlikely ally is Father Michael, a priest who as a college student had served on the jury that convicted Shay. Can June and Claire accept such a gift from the person who destroyed their family? Once again, Picoult's deft treatment of a contemporary issue demonstrates that there are few simple answers. Twists in the plot keep the listener in suspense until the end. The five-member cast of narrators (Nicole Poole and others) is masterly. Highly recommended for public libraries. [Change of Heart is the latest New York Times best seller from Picoult; it is also available as downloadable audio from Audible.com.--Ed.]--Nann Blaine Hilyard, Zion-Benton P.L., IL Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Picoult bangs out another ripped-from-the-zeitgeist winner, this time examining a condemned inmate's desire to be an organ donor. Freelance carpenter Shay Bourne was sentenced to death for killing a little girl, Elizabeth Nealon, and her cop stepfather. Eleven years after the murders, Elizabeth's sister, Claire, needs a heart transplant, and Shay volunteers, which complicates the state's execution plans. Meanwhile, death row has been the scene of some odd events since Shay's arrival-an AIDS victim goes into remission, an inmate's pet bird dies and is brought back to life, wine flows from the water faucets. The author brings other compelling elements to an already complex plot line: the priest who serves as Shay's spiritual adviser was on the jury that sentenced him; Shay's ACLU representative, Maggie Bloom, balances her professional moxie with her negative self-image and difficult relationship with her mother. Picoult moves the story along with lively debates about prisoner rights and religion, while plumbing the depths of mother-daughter relationships and examining the literal and metaphorical meanings of having heart. The point-of-view switches are abrupt, but this is a small flaw in an impressive book. 1,000,000-million copy first printing. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.