Nineteen Minutes is the story of a teenager, Peter Houghton, bullied since his first day of kindergarten. Over the course of nineteen minutes, he goes on a murderous rampage at his high school, killing ten people (nine students and one teacher) and wounding others. The novel takes us through various harrowing episodes of abusive bullying in Peter's childhood and shows us the perspectives of a large cast of characters including, to name a few, Peter's mother, the detective, the judge, and the judge's daughter who was once a friend of Peter's but later became one of his tormentors.
The novel breaks no new ground, but it does provide an interesting insight into the mind of a bullying victim. Jodi Piccoult did a commendable job of not painting the murdered victims as martyrs - some (although not all) were vicious, unlikable bullies who were certainly deserving of some punishment, but definitely not murder. Likewise, Peter had moments of heartbreaking suffering, but there were also times when we were reminded that more than a few of his victims had never abused him at all.
Piccoult threw in a twist ending that I thought was unnecessary. Sure, it was surprising, but I'm not sure what the point was, other than the shock factor.