Thursday, April 15, 2010

Review: House Rules

House Rules
By Jodi Picoult
Publication date: March 2010
My rating: ****

My review:

A teenager with Asperger's syndrome is accused of murder but did he commit the crime or are the police misinterpreting his lack of eye contact and other Asperger's-related behavior for guilt? Jacob Hunt has always been interested in forensic science, watching episodes of the CSI-like show CrimeBusters and setting up fake crime scenes for his family to solve. He even shows up at an actual crime scene and gives his input to the bewildered detectives. His mother Emma and younger brother Theo both understand that Jacob's seeming obsession with forensics is innocent but when his tutor is found murdered and wrapped in Jacob's quilt and he is the last person believed to have seen her, he becomes the number one suspect.

Just like many of Jodi Picoult's other novels, House Rules combines a hardhitting topic with courtroom drama and flawed characters that grab you from the first page. The story is told through the eyes of Jacob, Emma, Theo, Jacob's lawyer Oliver Bond, and the police detective Rich Matson. While I had a hard time connecting with Jacob's character I really felt for him. Emma was probably my favorite character even though she did tend to favor one son over the other. She had been through so much having to raise both her sons alone and then dealing with the possibility that one of her sons may have committed murder but she was so strong. Theo was the neglected younger brother who had to step up into the role of big brother for Jacob and while he was immature at times, he also had to put up with quite a bit-always coming in second to Jacob's needs. Oliver is an inexperienced lawyer but he really cares for the Hunt family and does his best for Jacob. The police detective is not really a major character in the book so I didn't understand why we needed to see any chapters from his point of view.

The intensity of the courtroom case and wanting to know what was going to happen and who the killer was made this book a page turner. I also found the story to be very moving and informative about Asperger's Syndrome. There was also an element of romance between Emma and one of the other characters but the focus was on the family relationships between Emma and her sons and even their estranged father.

I loved House Rules all the way to the ending, which left me feeling a little disappointed.  I felt the book ended abruptly leaving me with questions rather than answers. Overall, House Rules was a very enjoyable book. Although it does not live up to the same standards as Nineteen Minutes or My Sister's Keeper, I would recommend House Rules to fans of the author's other works. Jodi Picoult proves once again that she knows how to tell a good story.


  1. I'm almost finished with this book and really enjoying it. But I'm sad to hear the ending was a little dissapointing. Although I'm also really impressed with her ability correctly write someone with Asperger's. Great writing, like you said and a definite good read for someone who's a fan of Picoult. Thanks for the review!

  2. Wonderful review! I love Jodi Picoult. This sounds really good. I can't wait to pick it up :)

  3. Thanks for your honest review, I will not read this one now. I cannot handle loving her books, having the excitement to be let down by the ending, it makes it not worth it to me. I will read 19 minutes though as I have heard many say that is her best.

  4. I'm sad to say that I haven't read anything by Picoult yet! I'll probably start with House Rules, because you liked it and I've read some other positive reviews on it.

  5. I cant wait to read this - love Piccoult and am sad to hear about the ending - she has another of her books that did that too.


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