The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

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RATING: 3.5/5

BLURB: “There is more than one way to lose a child. Daniel Stone had thought it would never happen to him. How could it, when Trixie’s face lit up every time she saw him, when for her whole life he’d been the centre of her world? But it recently it seems, without him noticing, his daughter is gone, and in her place is a stranger. Until the night fourteen-year-old Trixie comes home from a party claiming she was raped, and suddenly she needs him more than ever. Because the whole school knew Jason Underhill broke Trixie’s heart, but that doesn’t make him a rapist, does it? For Daniel, there is no doubt: his daughter is innocent. He has failed to protect her once. Now he will do anything to save her”

REVIEW: Like the majority of Picoult’s books, this novel deals with an extremely harrowing and sensitive subject – rape – and explores not only the horrific impact it has on the victim, but also how those around the victim react to and interpret the situation. Trixie’s rape by her ex-boyfriend Jason, whom she was trying to win back at a party thrown by her best friend Zephyr, is something that many people in the small-town community find difficult to wrap their heads around. Jason is the star of the school football team, on track for a scholarship at a prestigious college and all set to move on to an illustrious career – because of this, he is worshipped not only by everyone in the school but by everyone outside of it too. When news of Trixie’s rape begins to spread, she becomes a victim all over again – her best friend initially believes that she is making the whole thing up to get revenge, as do most of the other students in the school, who disgustingly refer to Trixie as a slut – a problem that is all too familiar to us in society now. The teachers of the school band behind Jason and insist that he is both innocent and a good student, who could never commit such an act. Even the detectives involved in Trixie’s case seem to have a difficult time in believing her story. Yet, throughout the novel there remains only a tiny shred of doubt in the readers mind that this is the truth, and this is probably because of the certainty of Trixie’s father, Daniel, whose constant faith in his daughter shines throughout the novel and greatly influences the perspective of the reader. The difficulties that Daniel and his wife, Laura, are experiencing in their marriage make an interesting addition to the plotline and the slow but steady healing of the marriage adds a more cheerful element to such a tragic story. Everything changes, however, with the death of Jason Underhill – Daniel and Trixie in turn are suspected of his murder, and the reader begins to question everything they thought they knew about these characters. The revelation at the end of the novel regarding Jason’s death is a brilliant twist, one of Picoult’s finest, but keeps the reader hanging on even after the book is finished. Definitely one of my favourite Picoult books to date.

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