From the back of the book:
Until the phone calls came at three o’clock 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 is dead – shot with a gun her beloved and devoted Chris pilfered from his father’s cabinet 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.
This description really doesn’t cover the intensity of the book. It starts with the gun shot and moves, with many backward glances, through the prison, court case and the various activities surrounding it until the decision and afterwards. We get the emotional intensity of the two families living so close together and how the two children become best friends as well as a couple and the emotional intensity that comes with that. Picoult gives us the highs and lows that can result from this type of very close relationship. If you’re arguing with your boyfriend you’ll normally go to your best friend and bitch about it but what if your boyfriend is also your best friend? How do you handle that then?
I’m just going to use the phrase ‘emotional intensity’ too many times here as it’s the best phrase for this book and I suspect for many of Picoult’s books. I’ve only read this one but from what I’ve heard of her other books she seems to excel in taking challenging topics and making a readable narrative out of them. The two things I’d say about this book are it’s a very readable narrative, so many times I had trouble putting it down and so things happened late in my household; and the emotional intensity not only of the subject matter but the way it’s written was just so well done.
I intend to read more of her works but not until my emotions have settled down.