The Best Jodi Picoult Books You'll Want To Add To Your Reading List

Ripped-from-the-headlines novels can be more than a guilty pleasure. They're actually a good way to explore what's going on in the world. That's where author Jodi Picoult comes in: the author has made a name for herself by fictionalizing real concepts and events in order to examine the humanity behind them.

Fair warning to readers: Picoult's books are best read with a box of Kleenex at your side. If, like me, the trailer for Picoult adaptation My Sister's Keeper was a little too much for you, make that tissue box an extra large one — Picoult is famous for weepy endings.

The same is true for twist — you won't see the endings of many of these novels coming. Picoult is deft at switching up perspectives over the course of her novels, which makes her conclusions all the more surprising. Over the course of the same novel, you may find yourself sympathizing with the unlikeliest of characters.

Perhaps the best part of Picoult's work? There is A LOT of it, which means you can stock your Kindle (or library bag) with enough books to get you through a whole season of reading. In the mood for a good read? Here are some of the books you should add to your list ASAP.
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Photo: Washington Square Press
Plain Truth (2000)
When Amish teenager Katie is accused of killing her own baby, Ellie, a defense attorney, steps up to defend the young girl. However, Ellie soon uncovers a secret that has the potential to rock the entire community.
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Photo: Ballantine Books
Leaving Time (2014)
If you love twisty mysteries and mother/daughter stories, Leaving Time might be for you. In Picoult's novel, protagonist Jenna teams up with a psychic and detective to uncover what really happened to her mother, an elephant researcher. Did Jenna's mom really abandon her following a tragic accident, or was something else at play?
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Photo: Ballantine Books
Small Great Things (2016)
Ruth, a Black nurse, is forbidden from treating the baby of white supremacists. When the baby goes into cardiac arrest, Ruth hesitates before giving the baby CPR, leading to a devastating outcome, and a legal battle against the baby's parents. The novel explores not only overt racism, but the more subtle ways prejudice shapes relationships and our worldview.
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Photo: William Morrow & Co.
The Pact (1998)
A suicide pact leaves teenager Emma dead and her boyfriend Chris on trial. However, when new information surfaces about Chris’ intentions, his parents start to wonder just how well they could have ever known their son.
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Photo: Pocket Books
Salem Falls (2001)
This story, reminiscent of the hysteria surrounding the Salem witch trials, is a reminder of the power of false accusations. When Jack is accused of raping a teenage girl who was practicing witchcraft in the woods, he must fight for his innocence — only for the reader to discover that the truth is far darker than expected.
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Photo: Atria Books
My Sister’s Keeper (2004)
What would you do if the only hope for saving your daughter was to have your other daughter donate her organs to her sister? That’s simply how things are in the Fitzgerald family — until their daughter Anna refuses to donate her kidney to her dying sister, Kate. Anna sues for medical emancipation, causing a rift between her and her parents as Kate gets sicker.
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Photo: Atria Books
The Tenth Circle (2006)
Trixie accuses her ex-boyfriend Jason of rape, leading to a “he said, she said” controversy in their town. When Jason ends up dead, Trixie’s comic book artist father must put together the pieces. Was Jason’s death a suicide, or did someone kill him for his crime against Trixie?
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Photo: Atria Books
Nineteen Minutes (2007)
This chilling story examines the events leading up to and the aftermath of a school shooting. Through Picoult’s shifting perspectives, we see what led Peter to turn a gun on his classmates, and the surprising person wrapped up in Peter’s plan for revenge.
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Photo: Atria Books
Change Of Heart (2008)
When the man in prison for the murder of her daughter and husband wants to donate his heart to a dying woman, she must decide whether she can accept this gift if it means redemption for their killer. However, not everything is as it seems with this gift — or the original crime for which it is a penance.
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Photo: Atria Books
Handle With Care (2009)
In order to help pay for her daughter Willow's medical bills, Charlotte is forced to testify against the OBGYN who neglected to tell her that her that Willow would be born with a disability. In order to win the suit, Charlotte must state in court that she would have terminated her pregnancy if she knew about her daughter's disability — but is that really the case? The novel explores the ethics of this deeply complicated situation.
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Photo: Atria Books
House Rules (2010)
When Jacob, a boy with Asperger’s syndrome, is accused of murdering his tutor, biases are revealed within the community. The startling conclusion reveals the importance of family and what price we would pay to protect them.
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Photo: Atria Books
Sing You Home (2011)
There’s a special bonus with this book: it features a 10-track companion soundtrack with songs written and performed by Picoult and her friend, Ellen Wilber. The book itself is about a lesbian couple who must fight for the use of embryos one of the partners created with her now ex-husband.
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Photo: Atria Books
Lone Wolf (2012)
When Edward returns home following his father’s devastating car accident, he struggles to reconcile the bedridden man with the vibrant father who raised him — and whom Edward became estranged from years earlier. Lone Wolf explores whether it is ever too late to be forgiven, and to let yourself forgive.
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Photo: Atria Books
The Storyteller (2014)
The Storyteller explores themes of guilt and the price we must pay for the pain we’ve caused. When a seemingly upstanding man tells Sage that he was a former Nazi who wishes to be punished for his crimes, Sage must search back through his history — and her own — in order to prove that he is the war criminal he claims to be.
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