Best Jodi Picoult Books
- Best Overall: My Sister’s Keeper
- Best Psychological Fiction: The Storyteller
- Best Thriller: Nineteen Minutes
- Best Legal Story: Small Great Things
- Best Suspense: Leaving Time
- Best Fantasy Fiction: Between the Lines
Jodi Picoult, an American best-selling author, is well-known for tackling complex topics in her novels. Since 1992, the author has published twenty-eight books, which have all reached the number-one spot on the New York Times bestselling author list.
Picoult’s novels have been translated into thirty-four languages and have around 40 million copies worldwide.
Considering the storyteller’s impressive reputation, any bookworm should consider adding one of Picoult’s novels to their TBR (*to be read*) list.
Whether you are new to Picoult’s work or looking for new recommendations, this article is for you. We highlighted the best Jodi Picoult books, from psychological fiction to thrillers—we covered it all.
Table of Contents
- Best Jodi Picoult Books
- 1. My Sister’s Keeper – Best Overall
- 2. The Storyteller – Best Psychological Fiction
- 3. Nineteen Minutes – Best Thriller
- 4. Small Great Things – Best Legal Story
- 5. Leaving Time – Best Suspense
- 6. Between the Lines – Best Fantasy Fiction
- 7. The Pact
- 8. Off the Page
- 9. The Book of Two Ways
- 10. Keeping Faith
- 11. Perfect Match
- 12. Songs of the Humpback Whale
- 13. Shine
- 14. The Tenth Circle
- 15. Plain Truth
- 16. Salem Falls
- 17. Second Glance
- 18. A Spark of Light
- 19. Mad Honey
- 20. Change of Heart
- 21. Wish You Were Here
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final thoughts
To help you find the best Jodi Picoult novel for you, we have listed the best novels in various genres and the author’s best overall book. Here is a list of the best Jodi Picoult books that are simply a must-read:
1. My Sister’s Keeper – Best Overall
“My Sister’s Keeper” is by far Jodi Picouts most well-known book, which is based on a true story. Published in 2004, this novel falls into the domestic fiction genre and has since become an award-winning motion picture.
This book takes the spot as the author’s best overall book as it handles a wide range of complex themes, making it a riveting read. A few themes tackled in this book include family relations, struggle with illness, mortality, identity, love, law, and more.
The novel follows the story of Anna Fitzgerald, a thirteen-year-old who sues her parents for medical emancipation. Anna was conceived to be a donor for her sister Kate, who is battling Leukemia.
Since Anna was born, she has donated to help keep her sister Kate alive. This all changes when Anna is faced with her parents wanting her to donate her kidney to Kate. Anna does not want to go through with this, so she seeks the help of Campell Alexander, who is the lawyer representing her in her case against her parents.
This is just an overview of this story; however, it handles much more than mentioned above. The best way to experience this heart-tugging story is to pick up My Sister’s Keeper as your next read.
2. The Storyteller – Best Psychological Fiction
“The Storyteller” is one of the best Jodi Picoult novels and her best psychological fiction novel.
Published in 2013, this novel’s main theme is the concept of moral choices, specifically focusing on the justification of choices when in a moral dilemma. Other themes highlighted in this novel include forgiveness, friendship, never judging a book by its cover, and more.
“The Storyteller” is a novel that follows the story of Sage Singer, a baker who does not have any friends. Here, Sage becomes friends with Josef Weber, a well-known member of the community who is a retired teacher and little league coach.
Once this unlikely duo becomes friends, Josef asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Initially, Sage refuses to follow through with his requests until he confesses his secret to her.
Josef confesses that he was a Nazi SS guard. This revelation is much more personal to Sagae as her grandmother was a part of the Holocaust. This leaves Sage considering whether she will help him fulfill his request and if she does, is she doing it out of revenge or justice?
3. Nineteen Minutes – Best Thriller
“Nineteen Minutes” is Picoult’s first novel debuting at the number one spot on the New York Best Seller list. Published in 2007, this book is still the best thriller that has been released by the author.
This deals with important real-life issues and has you on the edge of your seat during the entire read. This story highlights several themes: loss of innocence, victims vs. purports, family, bullying, and more.
The thriller novel is a story set in Sterling, New Hampshire, and follows Peter Houghton, a seventeen-year-old high school student. During his time in school, Peter has suffered years of bullying, ranging from physical to verbal harassment.
Once Peter’s best friend Josie Cormier starts bullying him due to peer pressure, he commits a mass shooting in the school. The story goes on to follow the consequences of Peter’s actions.
4. Small Great Things – Best Legal Story
“Small Great Things” is a thought-provoking novel and Jodi Picoult’s best novel in the legal stories genre. Published in 2016, the book focuses on a wide range of themes that engage the reader and make it a compelling read. A few of the themes in this book include race, justice, compassion, privilege, and prejudice.
The novel follows Ruth Jefferson, an African American labor and delivery nurse who has more than twenty years of experience in the field. Ruth works at a Connecticut hospital; during one shift, she is faced with white supremacist parents who do not want her to treat their child.
The hospital agrees to accept the parent’s wishes; however, during Ruth’s next shift, the newborn of these parents goes into cardiac distress. Ruth is by herself in the nursery during this time and decides to perform CPR on the newborn. Ruth is then charged for her actions, and the story goes on following this case and the complexities involved.
5. Leaving Time – Best Suspense
In terms of the best suspenseful read of Jodi Picoult, “Leaving Time” is the one. The mystery was published in 2014 and is a gripping and emotionally provoking tale that will have you wanting to finish it in one reading session.
This suspenseful novel deals with many themes, including memory loss, motherhood, grief, embodiment, mental illness, and love.
“Leaving Time” is a mysterious story that focuses on a mother-daughter relationship and the search for the truth. The novel is about Jenna Metcalf, whose mother mysteriously disappeared in an accident when she was a child.
Jenna does not believe her mother would abandon her at such a young age. This leads Jenna to continuously search for her mother online and read her mother’s journal, hoping to find a clue. Joined by two other helpers, Jenna sets on a quest to find out the truth of her mother’s dissonance.
6. Between the Lines – Best Fantasy Fiction
Co-written by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer, “Between the Lines” is the author’s best fantasy fiction novel. The page-turner was published in 2012 and is about a protagonist who has blurred the lines between fantasy and reality.
This story covers several themes, including love, friendship, adventure, and more. This novel is a great combination of romance, adventure, and fantasy, making it a great read.
The protagonist of the story, Delilah, hates school but loves books, especially a certain fairytale book that she continuously rereads. Since her classmates found her reading this book in the library, she has become more of a loner than ever.
Despite this, Delilah continues to reread her favorite book, which does not seem two-dimensional anymore. Everything in the fairytale story starts to come to life, including the castle, prince, and even the villain of the story.
7. The Pact
“The Pact” is one of Picoult’s most emotionally complex stories. Published in 1998, this story has held up as a great read even a decade later.
The main theme in this novel is romance; however, a few other themes are included in this novel, including grief, family, unexpected death, and more.
The gut-wrenching story will have you grabbing for the tissues within the first few pages.
“The Pact” follows two families that live next door to each other, the Hartes and the Golds. Two of the children from each family, Emily and Chris, have grown up as best friends, and now their relationship has become a bit more romantic.
Seeming like an ordinary boy-next-door type of story; however, one night, the hospital calls stating Emily has been killed. The cause of her death was being shot by a gun that Chris took from his father.
When questioned by the police, Chris reveals that the two made a suicide pact, and he intended to use the gun on himself. The book goes on to uncover the truth and consequences of the actions taken.
8. Off the Page
“Off the Page” is Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer’s sequel to “Between the Lines” but can also be read as a stand-alone.
This young adult romance novel has a good combination of adventure, romance, and comedy. Published in 2015, the novel highlights similar themes to the first book, including love, friendship, and adventure.
Like the first novel, the story is focused on Deliah, who has blurred the lines between fantasy and reality. Deliah is reunited with her favorite book’s character, Prince Oliver, who can now enter the real world.
This story follows the challenges that come along with Oliver existing in the real world and how he will need to learn how to behave as a real boy.
9. The Book of Two Ways
“The Book of Two Ways” is quite a unique read as it includes the premise of Egyptology. Published in 2020, it includes multiple timelines making it a riveting read that will have you wanting to turn the page. A few themes highlighted in this novel include long-lost love, death, after-life, what-ifs, and many more complex themes.
The story follows Dawn Edelstine lives in Boston with her husband and daughter. Dawn has a career as a death doula, which is someone who helps people during their transition from life to death.
Dawn’s life is seemingly normal until the day she takes a flight, and during this flight, the attendants warn passengers to prepare for a crashing landing. During this time, Dawn sees images in her mind of Wyatt Armstrong, a man she saw fifteen years ago.
Wyatt is an archaeologist working in Egypt. Miraculously, Dawn survives the crash, and she is faced with the choice of reuniting with her family or seeing Wyatt in Egypt.
10. Keeping Faith
“Keeping Faith” is one of Jodi Picoult’s older novels which was published in 1999. Like most of the author’s novels, despite the years that have passed, it remains a riveting read.
The story includes several complex themes making it quite a controversial novel during its time. A few of the themes highlighted in the novel include child custody, media, and religion.
Mariah White has caught her husband with another woman making it the second time this has occurred in her marriage. Mariah’s daughter Faith, who is only seven years old, is a bystander who has to watch this painful event in her mother’s life.
The story follows Mariah’s divorce and the struggles that come along with that, such as depression. During this time, Faith finds comfort in a friend who may or may not be real.
11. Perfect Match
Perfect Match is one of Jodi Picoult’s more emotionally complex novels. Published in 2002, the gut-wrenching story handles many themes, including professional conflict, family conflict, sexual assault, guilt, and more.
Nina Frost is a district attorney in Maine and handles a wide range of cases that has the impact of dividing families. Nina does her best to help families make their way through such difficult processes by being compassionate and fighting for justice.
Something unexpectedly tragic happens that will change the way Nina keeps her professional and personal lives separate. Nina’s son Nathanial who is only five years old, has been sexually assaulted.
This event changes everything she knows, and Nina has to fight to get the justice her son deserves but this could impact everything she has fought for.
12. Songs of the Humpback Whale
Published in 1992, “Songs of the Humpback Whale” is Jodi Picoult’s first book and is so riveting that it still holds up as a great read today. Picoult listened to five people’s stories to deliver this story; these people included her mother, daughter, and three diverse men.
The emotionally impactful story is about finding your voice, which could be by simply listening to your heart. A few themes outlined in this novel include love, relationships, abuse, and loss.
It follows Jand and Rebecca, who are driving to Uncle Joley, who is based in Massachusetts. Jane has decided to take this trip to get away from her emotionally abusive husband. To get to Uncle Joley, he has provided Jane with letters with directions they need to get to his location.
The catch is there are letters at different post offices that are related to each other. Jane will have to pick up each letter to get to the next post office in order to find her way to Uncle Joley.
Shine is a short story written by Jodi Picoult in 2016; it is also the prequel to the author’s novel “Small Great Things.” The main themes in this story include race and privilege and facing the issues that come along with this.
The story follows Ruth, who is entering the third grade; however, she no longer attends her old school in Harlem. Ruth is going to be attending Dalton, which is a distinguished school based on the Upper East Side of New York City.
Although Ruth is so young, she has noticed that the teachers and classmates of her new school see her skin color as something that makes her different. Ruth has to face many challenges simply because of her skin color in this new space she is in.
14. The Tenth Circle
“The Tenth Circle” is an emotionally captivating story that focuses on the bond between a parent and their child. Published in 2006, this story is known to be one of Picoult’s best novels to this day.
What makes this story quite compelling are the complex themes and the way they are outlined in the story. It includes parental relationships, trust, sexual assault, and more.
“The Tenth Circle” is a story about Trixie Stone, a fourteen-year-old with quite a close relationship with her father, Daniel. Trixie is a popular girl in high school, a good student, and is in love for the first time. These are all about to change after Trixie experiences something unimaginable, which leaves Daniel struggling.
15. Plain Truth
“Plain Truth” is one of Jodi Picoult’s novels that have survived the test of time. Published in 1999, this book continues to make a compelling read a decade later. It falls into the crime fiction genre and outlines themes including sexual abuse, relationships, religion, faith, love, honesty, and deception.
This story is set in Lancaster Country, home to a picturesque landscape and relaxing lifestyle. This all changes once the body of a dead infant is discovered on an Amish farm in a barn. The shocking discovery leads to a police investigation which finds that Katie Fisher is the unmarried mother of the infant.
It’s also found that the infant did not die of natural causes, which Katie denies. Ellie Hathway, a defense attorney, helps Katie fight against these accusations in a conservative area.
16. Salem Falls
Published in 2001, “Salem Falls” is a novel that focuses on what happens when someone is given a label that they cannot escape from. Similarly, how the witches in Salem were given the label of being a witch, and this was a label that they could not get rid of.
This novel falls into the crime fiction genre but has a great combination of romantic suspense, making it a great read.
The story follows Jack St. Bride, who was previously a soccer coach at an all-girls school. Jack was highly respected and loved by many in the school, but it all changed due to a student’s crush on him.
Jack was falsely accused of sexual assault, which resulted in him spending eight months in jail and his career being destroyed. Despite the false accusations, Jack is faced with starting his life over in Salem Falls, but his life begins to fall apart again when a witch-hunt is after him, and he is unable to escape his past.
17. Second Glance
If you love supernatural stories with a hint of romance, then “Second Glance” is the perfect Jodi Picoult book for you. Published in 2003, this book falls under the murder mystery genre and is filled with suspense, keeping you on your toes throughout your entire read.
The themes encompassed in this story mainly focus on finding the balance between light and darkness. A few themes include the balance between desperation and satisfaction, suffering and happiness, and life and death.
“Second Glance” is a story that follows the protagonist Ross Wakeman who is a ghost hunter on a mission to find the ghost he’s been searching for. This ghost is his fiance Aimee who he lost in a tragic car accident.
After this devastating loss, Ross attempted to take his own life multiple times but couldn’t, so he now attempts to find the ghost he’s been longing to see. On his mission to find the ghost of Aimee, Ross meets Lia, who helps him feel again.
18. A Spark of Light
“A Spark of Light” is another riveting suspenseful novel by Jodi Picoult. Published in 2018, this novel falls under the suspense, thriller fiction genre and makes for an impactful read. A few of the themes highlighted in this novel include women’s rights, abortion, love, cultural divide, and family problems.
The story is set in Mission and follows the events of a shooting that occurs in a women’s health services clinic. Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, is handling these events; as it unfolds, he sets up the parameter around the client and speaks to the gunman.
Hugh later discovers that his daughter Wren is inside that very clinic with other patients and nurses.
19. Mad Honey
“Mad Honey” falls into the domestic fiction genre; this book is co-written by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finely. Published in 2002, the love story full of suspense makes a compelling read you will not want to put down. A few major themes this novel outlined include identity, authenticity, domestic violence, and gender.
The story follows Olivia McAfee and Ava Campanello, who have experienced quite unexpected life changes.
Olivia is dealing with returning to her hometown to run her father’s beekeeping company after a tumultuous divorce. On the other hand, Ava is on the search for a new beginning which she finds by moving to Adams with her daughter.
These two women’s lives are turned upside down once Ava’s daughter is found dead, and the police call Olivia’s son in for questioning.
20. Change of Heart
Published in 2007, “Change of Heart” uncovers the story behind America’s death penalty. This novel focuses on the nature of religions and beliefs and their relation to the death penalty. The themes highlighted in this noble include redemption, religion, punishment, spirituality, and loss.
June Nealson was someone who had everything to look forward to in her life. It is filled with love, adventure, and her family, but after unexpected events, she is left waiting for a miracle to happen.
On the other hand, Shay Bourne believes life has no more surprises left to give, but in an instant, everything changes. This change may lead to a chance of salvation for him.
21. Wish You Were Here
This compelling novel is not emotionally complex but also quite thought-provoking, making it quite an enjoyable story. Published in 2021, the book focuses on a wide range of themes, including romance, the human spirit, crisis, adaption, evolution, isolation, and more.
The book follows Diana O’Tele, who has a set plan for her life and is currently on track working towards it. Diana aims to be married and complete having children by the age of thirty-five while living in the suburban areas of New York and progressing in her art auctioning career.
Finn is Dianna’s boyfriend, and he is surgical resistant. They are currently on their way to becoming an embedded complex. However, an unexpected worldwide virus hits, causing major changes in Dianna’s and Fin’s lives.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Jodi Picoult known for?
Jodi Picoult is a well-known New York Times best-selling fictional author who has published twenty-eight books.
What is Jodi Picoult’s best-selling book?
Jodi Picoult’s best-selling book is “My Sister’s Keeper,” which has over one million ratings. Making this novel Picoult’s most well-known novel to date.
What should I read if I like Jodi Picoult?
If you are a lover of Jodi Picoult novels, you may also enjoy reading:
1. “Only Child” by Rhiannon Navin
2. “The Perfect Nanny” by Leila Slimani
3. “Educated” by Tara Westover
4. “Winter Sisters” by Robin Oliveria
Jodi Picoult is quite a diverse author whose novels feature in a wide range of genres, from suspensefully thrillers to revisiting legal stories. As a storyteller, Picoult is especially gifted at discussing topics that are deemed controversial but need to be discussed.
Each of her novels ranked on our list includes a wide range of themes that contribute to why so many readers still pick up Picoult’s novels again and again. Now that you know everything you need about the best Jodi Picoult books, you can choose which book will be your next read.
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