It's like a national holiday for me when the new Jodi Picoult book comes out. Ever since I was first introduced to her writing with The Pact, I've loved everything she's ever put out (except for Sing You Home and Salem Falls). This year, she is publishing in October instead of March, so I had to wait a few extra months for an advanced read. Was Leaving Time worth the wait? Read on.
As Picoult's fans know well, she does impeccable research with each novel. Whether it's a medical condition or the Holocaust, she leaves no stone unturned and effortlessly weaves her fictional narrative in with a nonfiction topic. Her older books usually end with some sort of courtroom drama, but lately, she's left those behind for a big twist. I'm sad to say that I wasn't really into Leaving Time until the twist; usually I can't wait until the day ends so I can curl up again with her books. However, when this twist comes, it completely changes the direction of the book; I couldn't stop reading and raced to the finish.
Leaving Time is told in trademark Picoult style with different narrators. Jenna is a teenage girl who longs to find out what happened to her mother, Alice. A long time ago, Alice, a renowned scientist who studied elephants, and Jenna were living on an elephant sanctuary, along with Thomas, Jenna's father. One night, the police were called to the sanctuary when one of the employees was trampled by an elephant. Alice was found unconscious, and soon after she was taken to the hospital, she disappeared. As Jenna grows up, she desperately wants to get some closure regarding Alice's disappearance. To do that, she turns to Virgil, the detective called to the scene of the trampling, and Serenity, a psychic.
When Picoult eventually reveals the big twist, the book changed completely for me...for the better. I felt the first three quarters was very slow, and I was going to rate it a 3. However, the end was a 5, so let's average them.
MY RATING - 4