I really liked this Picoult book better than my last one, Picture Perfect. While she has a knack for writing annoying characters, the supporting characters and fascinating plot kept the book moving for me. This time, my character pain was the main one - Jane Jones. She is a whiny wife of a prominent humpback whale scientist who takes her daughter and up and leaves him one day after a fight. The course of the book is Jane's brother, Joley, charting them across the country to get to him in Massachusetts: which was really cool, because living here it was cool to see references to Massachusetts people.
The storyline also bounced back and forth, using her famous "gasp" moment by starting at the end when you are totally confused and not yet invested in the characters. Then, it takes you through the events leading up to it, and you are more and more horrified knowing what is about to happen, but not knowing how or when. It was a really cool concept.
I liked the notion of driving cross country, (it even got me thinking about that elusive huge road trip that I'd love to take one day!) and the plot was filled with interesting obstacles and scenarios. For instance, her daughter, Rebecca, was in a plane crash that she doesn't remember when she was two: they visit the site of the crash. They also visit the Grand Canyon, and Salt Lake City - all places I want to visit one day. Okay, so the Grand Canyon's a bit tourist-trappy, but my best friend living in SLC and it's one of those places that I think would be cool to visit! So I guess you could say I was kind of living vicariously through these characters on their trip.
So overall, I wasn't happy with the ending and Jane drove me crazy with her immaturity and whininess, although she did have some poignant moments for me, revealed later in the book. One of her quotes was how she lives such a mundane life with a husband that ignores her, that she says that if she could just have 5 minutes of something amazing, she would go back and serve the rest of her life in that horrible day-to-day. I thought that his spoke a lot about how if she just had something to dream about, she would not be so sad everyday. I think I feel that way sometimes, too.
Bottom Line: wouldn't run out and buy it, but good for 1.5 hour commutes, which I'm currently dealing with in my life and going through books like I go through gum. Almost 4 stars.