I finished The Pact over the weekend while I was laying around recuperating from this cold/flu bug that has been going around. Again, as with her other books, it was a very easy, quick read. However, this one was not quite up to my expectations. It wasn't bad. It just wasn't as good as Salem Falls or My Sister's Keeper. I think Plain Truth was a bit better as well.
The story is about a teenage couple, both age seventeen, who have known each other all their lives. They lived next door to each other. They had a very mature relationship for their age and were apparently in love. Then one night the boy shows up in the hospital with a head wound and the girl winds up dead from a gunshot wound. According to initial interviews with the boy, this was a suicide pact gone wrong. However, we find out that might not necessarily be the truth. Aside from the boy and girl having a relationship, both their families are the best of friends. The boy ends up being accused of murdering the girl and the trial tears the families apart. As with other Picoult books, the last third plays out in the courtroom.
I think one of the things that bothered me about the book is that I didn't find the topic as interesting as some of her other books. The front cover of my copy of the book had an icon claiming, "Soon to be a Lifetime Original Movie!". Now, nothing against the Lifetime channel or their movies. I can definitely see where this book would fit their usual type of storyline. But I found it a bit sappy for my tastes. I felt the book was pretty contrived and I guess the characters didn't grow on me the same as some of her other characters have. I didn't have much sympathy for Emily, the character who commits suicide. And there was an underlying storyline of sexual abuse that I felt Picoult could have made stronger which might have made Emily a little more sympathetic or perhaps the courtroom scene more dramatic. I think it would have been more interesting if the abuse had been revealed to the boyfriend or the parents by the end of the book.
Not to say this book is a waste of time, because it is not. I'm just being more critical in comparing it to some of Picoult's other books. I'm looking forward to reading some more of her books that I have on my bookshelf and I think her newest release Change of Heart sounds like an interesting story. I think I'm just not a big sucker for romance. :-) If you are, you might like this more than I did.