The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

75%

40 Critic Reviews

A fictional testament as horrifying as it is suspenseful.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

An astonishing novel about redemption and forgiveness from the “amazingly talented writer” (Huffington Post) and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult.

Some stories live forever . . .

Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t.

Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shame­ful secret and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. In this searingly honest novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths to which we will go in order to keep the past from dictating the future.
 

About Jodi Picoult

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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 February 26, 2013 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books. 465 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Mar 17 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for The Storyteller
All: 40 | Positive: 32 | Negative: 8

Kirkus

Good
on Jan 15 2013

A fictional testament as horrifying as it is suspenseful.

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Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Jan 21 2013

Picoult (Change of Heart) reconfigures themes from her other bestsellers for her uneven new morality tale.

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Kathy Weissman on Mar 01 2013

THE STORYTELLER is not flawless, but it is sincere and gripping. Authors as popular as Picoult rarely step out of their comfort zone; she deserves credit for risking a new and perilous direction.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Beth Johnson on Feb 22 2013

Although the to-be-expected romance feels a bit contrived, the more substantial Holocaust scenes are palpable and harrowing.

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USA Today

Below average
Reviewed by Jocelyn McClurg on Feb 25 2013

At its best moments, The Storyteller thoughtfully, even powerfully, grapples with complex moral questions. But too much of this novel just seems forced and frivolous, leaving an unpleasant aftertaste — like a gooey pastry you know is bad for you but just keep eating.

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Huffington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Catherine McKenzie on Mar 18 2013

Why is she attempting to make us sympathize with an SS officer who, if he is to be believed, wasn't just a small cog in a big machine, but the intentional murderer of thousands?

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Express

Below average
Reviewed by Virginia Blackburn on Mar 24 2013

I so wanted to like this book: its subject is so worthwhile and there are descriptive passages that make you catch your breath, but only the story of the terror rings true. I don’t believe in Sage, Josef and the rest of them and no truly decent book can survive that.

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The National

Good
Reviewed by Noori Passela on Mar 16 2013

Picoult's strength in building layers of emotional turmoil remains intact, evident in protagonists who are scarred with the most painful of memories. As with most of her better work, this strength manages to absolve a formulaic plot, resulting in an engrossing page-turner.

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Curious Book Fans

Good
Reviewed by kingfisher on Apr 27 2013

Jodi Picoult’s latest novel, The Storyteller, is wonderful. It is a poignant and compelling book that will absorb the reader from start to finish. However, the story is also harrowing at times when it enters into the cruel reality of the Holocaust.

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Keizertimes

Above average
Reviewed by Terri Schlichenmeyer on Mar 04 2013

The one flaw in this book is that there are an awful lot of coincidences in the plotline, but you won’t have time to care. You’ll be too busy thinking about this novel, too busy wanting to get back to it. Yes, “The Storyteller” is a must-read… just not at bedtime.

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M/C Anderson

Good
Reviewed by Linda on Sep 24 2013

She again shows herself to be a master of involving the reader in all sides and layers of moral conflict. Her development of characters and plot engage and draw the reader on, searching for clues in the individual narratives that are entwined to reveal the whole.

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Vox Magazine

Above average
Reviewed by Taylor Weatherby on Feb 27 2013

Jodi Picoult is back at it again with her 2013 addition to her long list of published works. The Storyteller is a story about Sage Singer, a lonely baker girl who befriends a beloved teacher and coach in her community named Josef Weber that frequents her bakery.

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New Zealand Woman's Weekly

Excellent
on Mar 11 2013

Jodi blends the past with the present. In doing so she deals with the Holocaust in such a way that the reader is confronted with sheer revulsion at humanity’s cruelty, but also with acts of kindness – powerful no matter how small. It is a story of hope, hate and hunger and shows Jodi at her very, very best.

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The Missoulian

Good
Reviewed by Alice Short on Mar 24 2013

Complex moral questions are asked – When is a betrayal forgivable? Does it matter if a monster develops a conscience? – and there are as many answers as there are readers. That’s the real secret of Jodi Picoult. Scratch the burnished surface of her formulaic success and wisdom emerges.

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All the Books I Can Read

Good
on Mar 08 2013

I really found myself riveted by this story from start to finish. The characters were rich and well drawn, the story fascinating on so many levels and layers. There’s a huge amount of dimension to this book – it’s a story of someone coming into themselves, a little romance, a lot of tragedy and a bit of fairytale magic as well.

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Book Journey

Good
Reviewed by Sheila on Apr 12 2013

...I did find The Storyteller to be engaging and powerful. I have enjoyed Piccoult’s books in the past but this one with its historical fiction content speaks to me at a little deeper level than her previous books and I have a feeling I will be recommending this one to others for a long time to come.

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Lit Stack

Good
Reviewed by Sharon Browning on Jul 17 2013

Yes, yes and yes. The Storyteller transcends the horror, the despair, the hatred and the loss of one of the most horrific times in our history, and allows it to become personal.

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Bibliophile By the Sea

Below average
Reviewed by Diane on Apr 12 2013

Although it was not a favorite Picoult novel of mine, mostly because I found Sage's character annoying from the very beginning, I think this novel will still be popular among many of Jodi's fans.

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Book'd Out

Good
Reviewed by Shelleyrae Cusbert on Mar 29 2013

The Storyteller is a surprisingly compelling novel that will continue to haunt you long after the last page is turned.

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Pretty Books

Good
on Mar 25 2013

It’s a revealing yet unforgiving story, moving between present life as Sage struggles with what Josef has asked her to do, and Minka’s torturous story of life as a young Jewish girl under the Nazi regime.

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Alpha Reader

Good
Reviewed by Danielle on Mar 04 2013

...what Picoult does is remind us that history keeps repeating itself, and the hunt for culprits of WWII is still as relevant as those wars being fought right now, when authorities will eventually turn an eye to prosecuting those who acted outside of the Geneva convention and basic humanity.

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Women 24

Good
Reviewed by Kelly Ansara on Jan 07 2014

...she did keep me reading full steam for almost 400 pages. Which is why I highly recommend it and hope you find this book and delve quickly and heartily into its pages!

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Good Book Fairy

Good
on Mar 12 2013

This story reads quickly and will hopefully, as it did for me, remind us to tell our stories to those we love, share our pasts and don’t let this type of history repeat itself. Be your own storyteller.

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Book Rap

Good
Reviewed by Michael Blumenfield on Jan 06 2014

Who can forgive but the victims but they have been murdered and most of the survivors are gone. What about the value of the US government hunting even these elderly Nazis and deporting them? Package this all in a page turner or a button pusher...and you have a great book.

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A Bookish Affair

Good
Reviewed by Meg on Oct 04 2013

This book will definitely appeal to those who like stories about families, historical fiction, mysteries, and who want to be sucked in to a great story.

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Reads 4 Pleasure

Excellent
on May 06 2013

Of course, like most people, I've read The Diary of Anne Frank, but that's the extent of my reading about the Holocaust. I can't applaud Picoult enough for taking on this difficult subject matter and bringing it to a generation that doesn't think the events of the past affect them present day.

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Maurice on Books

Excellent
on Feb 26 2013

Without a doubt, this amazing, provocative, new novel by Jodi Picoult, is her best novel! I am still shaking my head in wonder at the beauty of it all.

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The Eclectic Reader

Good
Reviewed by Teddyree on Sep 13 2013

I'm a die-hard Jodi Picoult fan but her last few books have been hit and miss for me and the the endings have disappointed. Not so The Storyteller, I'm thrilled to say Jodi Picoult returns to form with this riveting story.

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JulzReads

Good
on Mar 01 2013

It was refreshing to see Jodi step away from current social issues and courtroom drama. Of course, there’s a great twist in the last 5 pages, but that’s what I’ve learned to love about Jodi’s books.

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red headed book child

Below average
Reviewed by Michelle on Apr 21 2013

Sage's character was not a favorite of mine. I could have done without the romance with the FBI agent. Really? You fall in love in one day? She's everything to you? She's so flawed, she's perfect? Ack.

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Books I Think You Should Read

Above average
Reviewed by Elizabeth Parker on Mar 09 2013

There were a few predictable parts, mostly with Sage and Leo, the man she meets who works to send Holocaust war criminals to jail, but Sage's story was interesting as well, and added much to the story.

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The Quiet Voice

Good
on Mar 17 2013

The Storyteller is Picoult at her prime. She puts a human face on the Holocaust, a tragic, beastly, and horrendous event. She deftly delves into the human psyche and makes you think about what it means to be a survivor, a storyteller, a human.

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Cozy Little Book Journal

Below average
Reviewed by Beatnik Mary on Feb 22 2013

I had hope because the story opens with the tale of yet another baker and his relationship with his daughter...Could it be a fairy tale? Alas, no. In the end everything is explained and nothing is left to metaphor. It was like being spoon-fed soft emotion like porridge.

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Overflowing Heart Reviews

Good
on Nov 04 2013

...twisty plots and surprise endings are Picoult’s calling card, and the plot twist at the end of this novel… OH BOY. I did not see it coming, and my jaw literally dropped.

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http://readinginthesunshine.wordpress.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Megan on Mar 26 2013

The Storyteller is heart-breaking, it is shocking,it is emotional, and it is gripping. It is easily the best story that I have read this year, as I still can not stop thinking about it.

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Reading Junky

Good
on Aug 16 2013

...Jodi Picoult never disappoints, and since some of my high school students are ready for a little something beyond YA books, I try to keep a few on hand. THE STORYTELLER will be an easy sell to teens interested in the Holocaust aspects of the story.

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Miss Susie's Reading & Observations

Good
Reviewed by MissSusie on Aug 13 2013

I wasn’t put off by the little romance story of Leo and Sage it’s no surprise you can see it coming a mile away so this isn’t a spoiler, it made Sage more relatable actually.

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Ladybug Storytime

Good
Reviewed by Kristina on Apr 26 2013

The Storyteller is a beautifully written story that will leave you with a million emotions. There is a plot twist at the very end that I saw coming, but it still left me completely shocked.

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http://brooklynberrydesigns.com

Good
Reviewed by Brooke on Apr 26 2013

Like most of the other Picoult books I have enjoyed, this one tugs at your heart strings and makes you question your stance on the matter at hand. How I look at things, and would base a decision at the beginning of the book is vastly different than how I feel at the end of the book.

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Alvah's Books

Below average
Reviewed by Rebeca on Mar 04 2013

The Storyteller will get tongues wagging, especially for those who are in the “Never Forget” corner, but her approach in telling this story—at least to this reader—seemed to lean too heavily on the personal narratives of Josef and Minka...

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Reader Rating for The Storyteller
87%

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