January 23, 2011

Second Glance, By Jodi Picoult

I'm usually a huge fan of Jodi Picoult's novels. Each one that I've read has kept me interested with an engaging plot and well drawn characters.

For me, Second Glance didn't live up to my previous experiences.

Plot: Taking place in a small town in Vermont, Picoult introduces us to Ross Wakeman, a man who has lived through tragedy and is now searching for something just out of reach. He's a ghost hunter, and is brought into the town's strange occurrences surrounding a piece of land slated for development. Surrounding Ross is his sister and her son, a ghost, and an Indian tribe.

If it sounds a little scattered, well, it is. I'm not opposed to a good ghost story, but this was just a bit too far-fetched. Ross falls in love with a ghost to the point of spiraling him further into the depression he's faced with. All I could think was "who falls in love with a ghost?!?" I just couldn't get into the alternate-reality angle.

On top of that, the plot was a bit slow-moving. The love story between Ross and his ghost meanders along for far too long, while the actual mystery and circumstances surrounding the ghost doesn't get going until midway through the book. There are also several love stories that occur between humans that don't get going until you've already suffered through the faux love story.

All I can say is, a little less ghost/human love story, a little more mystery and love story that can actually work out.

Characters: Being in love with a ghost is just one reason I wasn't a fan of Ross. I felt he was weak and didn't like how his depression played out. It's not that I don't love a good sad sack, it's just that he was a little too sad sack. And if I can't get behind a main character, I'm most likely not going to love the book overall.

Structure: The chapters were endlessly long. 20+ pages each. And while there were some natural breaks within each chapter, I'm someone who prefers to tackle a full chapter, but it was so hard to wade through them.

The plot didn't move, most characters didn't move me, and I was stuck in the middle of endless prose. I'd encourage you to pick up a Jodi Picoult book, just not this Jodi Picoult book. 2 stars.

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