House Rules – It Fits the Formula Mostly


I’ve read every Jodi Picoult novel that has been written. Well, except for Songs of the Humpback Whale . . . because, I mean . . . what?! That book sounds totally and completely boring. Plus, her earlier novels didn’t fit the formula that I like. This formula is: story about a family usually narrated by each member of the family plus the lawyers and any law enforcement that might be involved; something happens and one of the characters ends up in court; the novel is spent jumping around the truth; BAM a twist ending.

The first novel I read by Picoult was My Sister’s Keeper. If you haven’t read this novel, I strongly suggest you head to the bookstore, or download it on your ereader. It’s a great read. Ignore the movie adaptation that came out. That shit sucked.

Anyway, House Rules tells the story of  a single mother raising her two teenage sons. One son is perfectly normal, and the other one is on the autism scale classified as having Asperger’s Syndrome. The son, Jacob, meets with a tutor, Jess, every Tuesday and Sunday and she works with his social skills and integrating his symptoms into every day life. But, after an argument on a Sunday, Jess is reported missing by her boyfriend on a Tuesday and found dead shortly after. Jacob is the prime suspect in the case and the novel approaches the judicial system and how it is fair for some, but not for all.

The novel is well written. I enjoyed the autism facts that were sporadically placed throughout the novel. The characters were all pretty likable and I got to the point that I didn’t want to put the novel down until it was finished. However, the issue that I have with Picoult novels after reading them all (or most all of them) is that I’m waiting for the twist ending. And in this case . . . it didn’t really come. Or maybe it did but I had totally figured it out way in advance? I knew as soon as Jess came up missing exactly what happened to her and I feel like the average reader will too. However, the novel still flows nicely and is a pretty decent read.

Now, I’m off to read the next novel Sing Me Home. Also, I’m running out of novels to read . . . any suggestions?

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