I really liked the idea of this story. Anna, a thirteen year old girl conceived to be a genetic match to her sister Kate who suffers from a rare form of Leukemia, is suing her parents for medical emancipation. Eldest brother, Jesse, was tested and found not to be a match which haunts him throughout most of the story. The parents, Brian and Sara, put the well-being of Kate above all else, including their other two children.
The story is told from the point of view of six different characters, all done in first person (a different font was used for each character, which I found very irritating). Because of this, I never got emotionally attached to any of the characters. I also found it difficult to differentiate each character as they all seemed to speak alike. An angst-ridden, pyromaniac, who uses drugs and speaks in metaphors? That didn’t work for me. In fact, all six characters spoke in metaphors and used the F word inappropriately. None of the characters used any foul language except for the word f!#%–even the thirteen year old girl. It felt out of character for everyone except Jesse. Likewise, Anna felt like the only character who could get away with speaking in metaphors, yet all the characters did it. The first time I put the book down in the middle of a chapter, I had no idea whose viewpoint I was reading when I picked it back up again.
The ending, which was supposed to be sad and maybe even shocking, did nothing for me. I was surprised, yes, but not the least bit sad. By the end I could not have cared less what happened to anyone in the story. I wanted to know more out of curiosity than any emotional attachment to the characters.
With the multiple viewpoints, I never felt like I got to know any of the characters, even though there was back story constantly thrown in, always bringing the story to a halt. Brian’s preoccupation with astronomy was fine at first, but after a while I found myself wishing Picoult would get on with the story.
In the end, I would give this book a 4 1/2 for story but only 1 1/2 for execution.