SECOND GLANCE by Jodi Picoult


Email this review


Exploring the dark history of America’s eugenics movement, Picoult (Perfect Match, 2002, etc.) sneaks in a ghost story in her eighth outing: a gratifying blend of gothic melodrama and social critique.

Ross Wakeman remains implausibly unscathed after every suicide attempt, preventing him from a desired reunion with his dead fiancée. Having quit his job filming for a television ghost hunter, he takes refuge at his sister Shelby’s in small-town Vermont, where, as luck would have it, his expertise as a ghost hunter is needed: Dying Spencer Pike has finally agreed to sell his house, but now that a developer is ready to build a strip mall, the local Abenaki tribe is claiming the land as a burial ground. The Abenaki protestors, including 102-year-old Az Thompson, have no evidence for their claim, but the developer hires Ross to see whether there really is anything to the strange goings-on in town: rose petals falling from the sky, cars driving only in reverse, robins’ eggs found under pillows, pennies minted in 1931 landing in everyone’s pockets. Ross meets Lia in his investigation, a strange young woman he begins to fall for until he realizes she’s none other than Cecilia Pike, Spencer’s young bride, murdered in 1931. Things shift temporarily to Lia’s story and the tragic account of American eugenics. A young Spencer Pike spearheaded the cleansing of his town, sterilizing the local “gypsies,” the Abenaki, unable to acknowledge how close his own pregnant wife (suicidal and a half-breed) is to those he’s trying to erase. In the present again, Shelby falls in love with the town cop, who is also newly interested in the old case; Shelby’s son Ethan, suffering from a rare genetic disease, begins to test the bounds of his mortality; Meredith, a genetic counselor, is frantic about her daughter’s seeing ghosts; Ross believes Meredith and Lia to be one and the same; and old Az Thompson seems to be holding the key to everything.

A balance of suspense and science makes for a memorable ghost tale.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7434-5450-2
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2003


FictionLONE WOLF by Jodi Picoult
by Jodi Picoult
FictionHOUSE RULES by Jodi Picoult
by Jodi Picoult
FictionCHANGE OF HEART by Jodi Picoult
by Jodi Picoult
Kirkus Interview
Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
authors of OFF THE PAGE
May 19, 2015

Meet Oliver, a prince literally taken from the pages of a fairy tale and transported into the real world. Meet Delilah, the girl who wished Oliver into being. In bestseller Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha van Leer’s new young adult novel, Off the Page, it’s a miracle that seems perfect at first—but there are complications. To exist in Delilah’s world, Oliver must take the place of a regular boy. Enter Edgar, who agrees to play Oliver’s role in the pages of Delilah’s favorite book. But just when it seems that the plan will work, everything gets turned upside down. We talk to the mother-daughter team on Kirkus TV. View video >


FictionA SPARK OF LIGHT by Jodi Picoult
by Jodi Picoult
FictionSMALL GREAT THINGS by Jodi Picoult
by Jodi Picoult
FictionLEAVING TIME by Jodi Picoult
by Jodi Picoult
FictionLONE WOLF by Jodi Picoult
by Jodi Picoult
FictionHOUSE RULES by Jodi Picoult
by Jodi Picoult


IndieThe November Working by E.A. Odin
by E.A. Odin
IndieBLOODING  by Charlotte  Zang
by Charlotte Zang
IndieTHE PUMPKIN EATER by Steven W. Horn
by Steven W. Horn