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  Library Journal Review

When itinerant carpenter Shay Bourne is moved to the maximum security wing of the New Hampshire State Prison to await execution in the state's first capital punishment case in decades, odd things happen. The water in the cells runs red with wine; a rescued baby bird comes back to life; an inmate's AIDS goes into remission. Eleven years earlier, Shay was convicted of murdering Kurt Nealon and his seven-year-old stepdaughter, Elizabeth. Kurt's wife, June, was pregnant when her family was killed, and her second child, Claire, was born with a heart defect. Without a transplant, Claire will die, so Shay wants to donate his heart to make amends for Elizabeth's death. Because lethal injection will render the heart useless, ACLU attorney Maggie Bloom seeks to change the sentence to death by hanging. Her unlikely ally is Father Michael, a priest who as a college student had served on the jury that convicted Shay. Can June and Claire accept such a gift from the person who destroyed their family? Once again, Picoult's deft treatment of a contemporary issue demonstrates that there are few simple answers. Twists in the plot keep the listener in suspense until the end. The five-member cast of narrators (Nicole Poole and others) is masterly. Highly recommended for public libraries. [Change of Heart is the latest New York Times best seller from Picoult; it is also available as downloadable audio from Audible.com.--Ed.]--Nann Blaine Hilyard, Zion-Benton P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

Picoult engineers high-impact plots involving murder, car accidents, child abuse, medical ethics, and a school shooting not simply to sweep readers away with there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I melodrama and suspense but also to craft provocative and relevant moral dilemmas rich in nuance, mystery, and wit. Following the success of Nineteen Minutes (2007) and with a movie version of My Sister's Keeper (2004) on the way, Picoult presents her fifteenth shrewd and dynamic novel, a compulsively readable saga and dramatic critique of capital punishment. She also seems determined to give The Da Vinci Code (2003) a run for its money. Shay Bourne, an enigmatic 33-year-old carpenter, has been sentenced to death in New Hampshire for the murders of a police officer and his stepdaughter. Their surviving wife and mother was pregnant at the time, and now her 11-year-old daughter needs a heart transplant. Guess who wants to help, and guess who seems to be performing miracles in prison. Shay attracts appealing champions: young Father Michael, who served on the jury that condemned Shay to death; wisecracking, plus-size Maggie, a rabbi's daughter and ACLU attorney; and artistic Lucius, who is serving one life sentence for murder and another due to AIDS. Laced with intriguing musings on the Gnostic Gospels, Picoult's bold story of loss, justice, redemption, and faith reminds us how tragically truth can be concealed and denied.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2008 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

A convicted murderer who may be a latter-day Messiah wants to donate his heart to the sister of one of his victims, in Picoult's frantic 15th (Nineteen Minutes, 2007, etc.). Picoult specializes in hot-button issues. This latest blockbuster-to-be stars New Hampshire's first death-row inmate in decades, Shay Bourne, a 33-year-old carpenter and drifter convicted of murdering the police officer husband of his employer, June, and her seven-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. Eleven years later Shay is still awaiting execution by lethal injection. Suddenly, miracles start to happen around Shay--cell-block tap water turns to wine, an AIDS-stricken fellow inmate is cured, a pet bird and then a guard are resurrected from the dead. Shay's spiritual adviser, Father Michael, is beginning to believe that Shay is a reincarnation of Christ, particularly when the uneducated man starts quoting key phrases from the Gnostic gospels. Michael hasn't told Shay that he served on the jury that condemned him to death. June's daughter Claire, in dire need of a heart transplant, is slowly dying. When Shay, obeying the Gnostic prescription to "bring forth what is within you," offers, through his attorney, ACLU activist Maggie, to donate his heart, June is at first repelled. Practical obstacles also arise: A viable heart cannot be harvested from a lethally injected donor. So Maggie sues in Federal Court to require the state to hang Shay instead, on the grounds that his intended gift is integral to his religious beliefs. Shay's execution looms, and then Father Michael learns more troubling news: Shay, who, like Jesus, didn't defend himself at trial, may be innocent. Clunky prose and long-winded dissertations on comparative religion can't impede the breathless momentum of the Demon-Drop plot. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
The acclaimed #1 "New York Times" bestselling author presents a spellbinding tale of a mother's tragic loss and one man's last chance at gaining salvation.Can we save ourselves, or do we rely on others to do it? Is what we believe always the truth? One moment June Nealon was happily looking forward to years full of laughter and adventure with her family, and the next, she was staring into a future that was as empty as her heart. Now her life is a waiting game. Waiting for time to heal her wounds, waiting for justice. In short, waiting for a miracle to happen. For Shay Bourne, life holds no more surprises. The world has given him nothing, and he has nothing to offer the world. In a heartbeat, though, something happens that changes everything for him. Now, he has one last chance for salvation, and it lies with June's eleven-year-old daughter, Claire. But between Shay and Claire stretches an ocean of bitter regrets, past crimes, and the rage of a mother who has lost her child. Would you give up your vengeance against someone you hate if it meant saving someone you love? Would you want your dreams to come true if it meant granting your enemy's dying wish? Once again, Jodi Picoult mesmerizes and enthralls readers with this story of redemption, justice, and love.
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