For our monthly staff book discussion and reader’s advisory training we read Jodi Picoult’s Change of Heart.

Picoult has been incredibly popular recently in our library to the point where we made a special effort to get two fresh copies of all of her titles. I went out to the shelves just now and there is one book sitting on the shelf.

It seems that Picoult’s popularity can be tied to her ability to write a story about characters who readers identify with coupled with a major challenging issue that will pit character against character.

This book is about an accused murderer Shay Bourne who is behaving Christ-like on death row. He appears to have the ability to perform miracles including saving the life of AIDS victim and fellow prisoner Lucius DuFresne. Shay’s desire is to donate his heart to the sister of the girl he is accused of murdering. June Nealon, who lost both a daughter and her cop-husband to Bourne’s murderous rampage, is not willing to see her daughter Claire accept the heart. Shay’s lawyer, ACLU’s Maggie Bloom, finds herself in conflict with her client, her family, her self-image and the entire religious community.

Do you see enough issues here to help you develop questions for a book discussion?

This book raises so many challenging points, has some many conflicted characters, and has so many controversial twists to the plot that there is not a book discussion group who should flounder with this title.

There are book discussion questions available at



About the Author:

Gary Niebuhr is the author of Make Mine a Mystery (2003), Caught up in Crime (2009), and other readers' guides to mystery and detective fiction. He was a Booklist contributor from 2008-2014.

Post a Comment