Nineteen Minutes , published on March 9, , is a novel by Jodi Picoult. The story begins on March 6, in the small town of Sterling, New Hampshire , tracking the lives of a number of characters on an "ordinary day.
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At the local high school, Sterling High, the story follows a routine day of students in classes, at the gym, and in the cafeteria. Suddenly, a loud bang is heard from the parking lot, which turns out to be a bomb set off in Matt Royston's car.
As the students are distracted by the noise, gunshots are fired. When Patrick, the only detective on the Sterling police force, arrives at Sterling High, he searches the school to seek out the gunman, who is alleged to be a student. After passing several dead and wounded victims, Patrick traps and arrests the shooter, Peter Houghton, in the locker room, where he finds two students, Josie Cormier and Matt Royston, lying on the floor surrounded in blood.
While Matt is dead, having been the only victim shot twice, Josie is not seriously injured, but only shocked: she cannot remember what happened. Throughout the book, time flashes back and forth between events before and after the shooting.
In the past, the reader learns that Peter and Josie were once close friends. Peter was frequently the target of severe bullying at school, and Josie often stuck up for him. The friends slowly drifted apart as they got older: Josie joined the popular crowd in order to protect her own interests, seeing her relationship to Peter as embarrassing. The story pictures Peter as an outcast at home as well; Peter believes his older brother Joey is favored by their parents.
Joey is a popular straight-A student and athlete, but feels it necessary to ridicule Peter to protect his reputation, even fabricating a story that Peter was adopted.
When Joey is killed in a car accident in , Lacy and Lewis Houghton are too upset to pay attention to their remaining son, causing a bigger rift between Peter and his parents. In their sophomore year, Josie begins dating Matt, a popular jock who leads his friends Drew Girard and John Eberhard in bullying Peter.
Matt often calls Peter "homo" and "fag," leading Peter to question his sexual orientation.
The bullying intensifies once Matt begins dating Josie, in his possessive efforts to keep her away from other boys. On one occasion, Peter approaches Josie after school to try talking to her.
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Matt beats him up, leaving Peter humiliated in front of the school. The flashbacks also reveal several subplots: the difficult relationship between Josie and her single mother Alex, Alex's dilemma of being a judge and a mother, Peter's escape from bullying into the world of video games, Josie's fear of falling out of the popular crowd and her suicide back-up plan when she does, Matt's abusive behavior toward Josie, Josie's pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage, as well as Lewis Houghton's hunting lessons with his son Peter.
One month before the shooting, Peter realizes that he has feelings for Josie, and sends her an email expressing his love. Courtney Ignatio reads this email before Josie and has Drew forward it to the entire school. Courtney then convinces Peter that Josie likes him.
Peter asks Josie to join him later during lunch, only to suffer public humiliation as Matt pulls down Peter's pants and exposes his genitals to a cafeteria full of students.
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Peter's psychotic break is triggered on the morning of the shooting when he turns on his computer and accidentally opens the email he wrote to Josie.
After the shooting, Peter is sent to jail while the trial proceeds. The probable cause hearing is waived as Peter admits to killing ten people and wounding nineteen others. Jordan argues that he was in a dissociative state at the time of the shooting.
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In the final stage of the trial, Josie reveals that she was the one who shot Matt the first time in the stomach after grabbing a gun that fell out of Peter's bag. She admits later that she did this on account of the abusive behavior that she had endured while in a relationship with him. Peter later fired the fatal second shot; a blow to the head.
Peter promised her he wouldn't tell anyone what she had done, and he kept this promise, happy to have Josie as his friend again. Peter is convicted of eight counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder and is sentenced to life in prison.
A month afterward, Peter commits suicide by stuffing a sock into his throat. At the end of the book, one year from the date of the massacre, Josie has received a five-year sentence for accessory of manslaughter and is regularly visited in jail by her mother.
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Throughout the book, Josie never told the whole story, instead repeating, "I can't remember. Alex and Patrick, who are expecting their first child, walk the halls of the high school. Sterling High has been extensively remodeled after the shooting. The cafeteria, the gym and locker room where the massacre took place have been replaced by a large glass atrium with a memorial to the dead in the center, a row of ten white chairs bolted to the floor.
A plaque declares the building "A Safe Harbor. The book received generally favorable reviews by critics, for the writing, character development,  plot twists, and the moral issues raised, including peer pressure, popularity, self-image, school bullying, betrayal and deception, sexual orientation doubt, teen dating violence , suicide, video game violence, single parenthood and communication barriers between adolescents and adults.
The Associated Press acknowledged that although Peter's guilt cannot be in doubt from a legal perspective, it is hard for readers to know where to put the blame as the story unfolds. As the novel unfolds, Picoult succeeds in lifting those assumptions up for scrutiny, until villains and victims seem to blend into a motley jumble of alliances and rejection.
The Free Lance-Star mentioned that Nineteen Minutes created a two-sided story that helps readers understand everything about the school shooting, which is more than what normal media coverage will provide about this type of tragedy.
Jodi Picoult says her "children struggled with fitting in and being bullied"  which made them "guinea pigs"  for her characters in the novel. She knew the topic, bullying, was a universal one because everyone has experienced it in some way. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Nineteen Minutes First edition. Retrieved Rocky Mountain News.
Hippo Press. The San Diego Union-Tribune. Associated Press. Free Lance-Star. Archived from the original on New York Times. Washington Post.
Boston Globe. When Alex comes into Josie's room at one point, Josie is in the process of writing in her journal — what she is writing turns out to be the handwritten entry in the beginning of the book.
Works by Jodi Picoult. Wonder Woman: Love and Murder. Between the Lines Off the Page. Hidden categories: All articles with dead external links Articles with dead external links from October Namespaces Article Talk.