Nineteen Minutes

In this book, Jodi Picoult tells the powerful story of 17 year old Peter Houghton, who has been bullied since his very first day of school. One day Peter goes to school armed with four guns and shoots ten students and a teacher that get in his way. The shooting is a big shock to the small town of Sterling where nothing of this magnitude has ever happened and Peter is perceived as a monster and the relatives of the people involved are seeking justice. Throughout the book Picoult tells the story from the perspective of Peter's mother Lacey, his childhood friend Josie, her mother Alex and that of Peter himself and from their views you can learn what brought Peter to perform such an act. The incessant teasing and humiliation, the loss of his only friend to the cool crowd and the lack of adult interference to help him all aid in what becomes a tragedy. Reading this book makes you realize the hardships of being a teenager and trying to fit in, how cruel others can be to someone that is not necessarily as cool and the affects this can have on an individual. By showing all aspects of the situation, Picoult portrays the "monster" as a person which might be a victim of society himself without taking away the seriousness of his actions and the suffering of the people involved. When reading this book I was not able to put it down, it is so fluent and the way that the characters come together is amazing. This was my first time reading a book by Jodi Picoult, and if it is anything to go by I can't wait to read some of her other books.

The Magician

Set in Bohemian Paris, Arthur and his fiancee Margaret are planning their marriage and forthcoming life together. That is until Oliver Haddo walks into the picture and turns their uneventful lives upside down. Based on the black magician Aleister Crowley, Haddo is sinister, repulsive and spiteful, which makes him by far the most interesting character in the book. After being physically assaulted by Arthur for upsetting Margaret, Haddo takes revenge by making Margaret fall in love with him. She leaves Arthur and elopes with the magician, unknowing of what her future life with Haddo will be like. When Arthur sees Margaret again, she is not the same sweet girl that he knew but she looks troubled and sick. Arthur is determined to save the girl from Haddo's evil powers, which in the end unravels the dreadful work of the magician and what he dedicated his life to. When I started reading this book it was slow and dull, I was having a hard time staying interested until the turn of events where it picked up and became quite gripping. As the story unfolds it becomes dark and full of suspense, however the ending left me with too many questions which makes it hard for me to decide whether I liked this book or not.