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Second Glance


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About the Author

Jodi Picoult received an AB in creative writing from Princeton and a master's degree in education from Harvard. The recipient of the 2003 New England Book Award for her entire body of work, she is the author of twenty-six novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers House Rules, Handle With Care, Change of Heart, and My Sister's Keeper, for which she received the American Library Association's Margaret Alexander Edwards Award. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. Visit her website at JodiPicoult.com.


This intelligent novel gets off to a jerky start, with too many characters appearing in too rapid a succession. Suicidal widower Ross Wakeman might appear as the main character, although we also meet a 102-year-old Native American, an eight-year-old who may be communing with ghosts, and Ross's nephew, who suffers from XP, an ailment that makes sunlight lethal. The narrative revolves around the possibility of contacting the dead, but Ross, among others, can't seem to arrange a meeting with an actual ghost. Part 1 ends with a satisfying punch when an alluring specter finally materializes, while Part 2 offers a rollicking good ghoul story and whodunit. Finally, the characters coalesce into a coherent group, and the author throws in a nasty bit of Vermont history. Although readers might be frustrated with the opening, the book as a whole will make them glad they persevered. Picoult's memorable visual images and evocative language made Perfect Match a success, and Second Glance will be, too. Public libraries should acquire this multifaceted work. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/02.]-Diana McRae, Alameda Cty. Lib., San Lorenzo, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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. (Apr.) Forecast: With this foray into the fantastic, Picoult proves there's little she can't do. National advertising and a 14-city author tour should help propel the book onto bestseller lists. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Publishers Weekly" (starred review)

A spellbinding suspense novel.

"The Washington Post Book World"

In "Second Glance," love does travel through time. You don't have to believe in ghosts to acknowledge the path it takes....

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