House Rules by Jodi Picoult
A Novel

57%

11 Critic Reviews

This book is a hefty 532 pages, though it could have been told in half the space, in fewer voices. In fact, it could have gone straight to screenplay, since it has the distinct feel of being written for that purpose. Picoult's legions of fans will love it...
-Globe and Mail

Synopsis

The astonishing novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult about a young boy with autism falsely accused of murder.

When your son can’t look you in the eye...does that mean he’s guilty?

Jacob Hunt is a teen with Asperger’s syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, though he is brilliant in many ways. But he has a special focus on one subject—forensic analysis. A police scanner in his room clues him in to crime scenes, and he’s always showing up and telling the cops what to do. And he’s usually right.

But when Jacob’s small hometown is rocked by a terrible murder, law enforcement comes to him. Jacob’s behaviors are hallmark Asperger’s, but they look a lot like guilt to the local police. Suddenly the Hunt family, who only want to fit in, are directly in the spotlight. For Jacob’s mother, Emma, it’s a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, Theo, it’s another indication why nothing is normal because of Jacob.

And over this small family, the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder?
 

About Jodi Picoult

See more books from this Author
Jodi Picoult is the author of eighteen novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers House Rules, Handle With Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister’s Keeper. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. Visit her at JodiPicoult.com.Samantha van Leer is a junior in high school. She conceived the idea for this book and pitched it to her mom, who was in the middle of a book tour. In her spare time, Samantha can be found playing softball, doing contemporary dance, acting and singing in musicals, and cuddling on the ground with her two dogs, Dudley and Oliver—for whom the prince in this fairy tale was named.
 
Published March 24, 2010 by Atria Books. 548 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Feb 13 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for House Rules
All: 11 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 6

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Regis Schilken on Feb 12 2010

House Rules will not disappoint. The simple series of events is easy to follow and so well thought out you will find yourself in the story questioning Jacob’s innocence.

Read Full Review of House Rules: A Novel | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Ray Palen on Jan 22 2011

There are some twists and turns as HOUSE RULES tells the story of this landmark criminal case. Shrewd fans of mystery novels should be able to figure things out before the stunning climax --- but this in no way takes away from the reading experience.

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Globe and Mail

Below average
Reviewed by CARLA LUCCHETTA on Mar 10 2010

This book is a hefty 532 pages, though it could have been told in half the space, in fewer voices. In fact, it could have gone straight to screenplay, since it has the distinct feel of being written for that purpose. Picoult's legions of fans will love it...

Read Full Review of House Rules: A Novel | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

Entertainment Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by KATE WARD on Feb 24 2010

The author has delivered a sweet family drama that doubles as a handbook on Asperger’s — not exactly a thrill, but hardly a bad thing.

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The Washington Post

Good
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on Mar 02 2010

Desperate to connect with other people and yet hampered in his ability to do so, he is painfully glassed off from the world of his peers, as well as from most adults. Picoult's superb novel makes us inhabit Jacob's solitude and abide his yearning.

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The Seattle Times

Above average
Reviewed by Amanda St. Amand on Mar 13 2010

While “House Rules” treads some familiar ground when it comes to plot devices, her examination of a family dealing with the form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome will touch all but the coldest heart.

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About.com

Good
Reviewed by John M. Formy-Duval on Mar 12 2016

Jodi Picoult's seventeenth novel may be her best and is sure to keep her near the top of the bestseller lists.

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About.com Bestsellers

Below average
Reviewed by Erin Collazo Miller on Mar 12 2016

Overall, House Rules was not painful, but it is not a book I would recommend. (If you want an excellent book about a character with autism, try The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time).

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NJ.com

Below average
Reviewed by Sheila Anne Feeney on Feb 28 2010

...there is some Harlequin-like drum-rolling until she and her chosen inamorato do the deed. Lamentably, the drama of a special needs man is left behind at the depot.

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MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Above average
Reviewed by Eleanor Bukowsky on Mar 02 2010

House Rules has lively courtroom theatrics and a dash of romance. Although the plot has a few gaping holes (including an enormous coincidence that makes it difficult to suspend our disbelief) as well as a bit too much sermonizing, Picoult wisely avoids overdosing on melodrama and sentiment.

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BlogHer

Below average
Reviewed by Ameena on May 26 2010

I fear that Jodi Picoult is going the way of Danielle Steel, i.e. her cookie-cutter books are beginning to lack the heart and soul that made me fall in love with her writing in the first place.

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Reader Rating for House Rules
73%

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