I had only read one Jodi Picolut novel before, My Sister's Keeper, which I had really enjoyed. I had not picked up one of her books since as I knew she churned novels out at a great rate and I mistakenly thought that perhaps later novels wouldn't be as good or she would run out of ideas. How wrong I was!
I loved this book and finished it within just a few days. The story is about a young teenager, Jenna, who lives with her grandmother as her mother had disappeared in mysterious circumstances when she was a toddler. Jenna is desperate to know why her mother seemingly ambandoned her and to find out if she is still alive. As other avenues have failed Jenna enlists the help of a former police officer who worked on an old murder case linked to her mothers disappearance and a psychic to try and piece together the events that lead up to her mother's disapperance.
All the characters are very well drawn and all have secrets that unfold as the novel progresses.
The book has each chapter narrated by a different character which works really well. The backdrop to the story is, surprisingly perhaps, elephants. Jenna's mother had extensively studied elephants and adored them and this was how she had met Jenna's father who had set up an elephant sanctuary.
Picoult has clearly done her homework on these facinating creatures, their behaviours (some surprisinly similar to human) and I felt I learnt a lot about them which was unexpected in a work of fiction.
This novel has a HUGE twist in this elephant tale and, no, I really hadn't seen it coming. It's the sort of ending where you feel the need to re-read the book to see if you could have picked up the clues along the way. I loved it and was sorry to the turn the final page.
This book would make a wonderful book club read.