Jodi Picoult- Author Jodi Picoult is the author of fourteen novels including, The Vanishing Acts, My Sister's Keeper, and The Tenth Circle. She received the New England Book Award in 2003. She graduated with a master's degree in education from Harvard.
Genre The genre of Nineteen Minutes is fiction.
Peter Houghton Peter Houghton is one of the killers in the novel. He affects everything and the whole novel revolves around the murders he committed. He was bullied until he decided to get revenge on everyone who had made his life miserable.
Josie Cormier Josie Cormier used to be Peter's best friend until they were driven apart. She also is the daughter of Judge Alex Cormier as well as potentially one of the best witnesses that Peter's case could have. Although she can't witness because she can't remember anything or so she says. Later on you discover that she remembers everything but was to afraid to have to witness for court. What she knows ends up startling to everyone.
Alex Cormier Alex Cormier used to be Lacy Houghton's best friend. Their children were the best of friends until they got older and were driven apart by popularity. Alex Cormier is the judge on Peter's case until she is removed. She was removed because Josie was chosen as a witness even when she supposedly knows nothing. Alex is the most shocked of all by what Josie remembers and witnesses when in court. Nearer to the middle of the novel Alex becomes romantically involved with Patrick Ducharme and at the end becomes pregnant when Josie leaves home for various reasons.
Patrick Ducharme Patrick Ducharme is the head detective of Sterling and is horrified whenever this case is put in his hands. He hates that he can't understand why Peter would do such a thing at first, then devotes his time to this case. He took specific intrest in Josie because she is the first he finds. She was found in the locker room. He was amazed when she woke up next to her dead boyfriend. He had figured that since her boyfriend was dead that she would have been killed as well. When he was taking care of Josie he became romantically involved with Judge Alex Cormier.
Lewis Houghton Lewis Houghton is a economics of happiness professor for Sterling College. He is also the father of Joey and Peter. He was disappointed that Peter became a murderer. Especially since Lewis shared all he could on how to be happy with his family and yet Peter was miserable. Lewis refused to visit Peter in jail until nearer the end of the novel as he was ashamed to be his father.
Lacy Houghton Lacy Houghton is a midwife which is how she met Alex Cormier. Alex is her best friend even through all this. Lacy is the mother of Joey and Peter Houghton who both turn out horrible failures but she loves them regardless as the loyal dedicated mother she is. She is very upset when she finds out the truth about both of her children. She continues to clean both boys rooms and pretend they are still at home for as long as she can even when she knows both children are lost to her forever.
Matt Royston Matt Royston is Josie Cormier's boyfriend who she both loves and hates. He is the most popular boy in school and is guarenteed a hockey scholarship until he is killed. His death sends Josie into shock for many reasons. He was the only person who was shot twice, once in the stomach and once in the temple. He picked on Peter Houghton only as much as other popular students. He was abusive torwards Josie but she never told anyone but merely assumed that it was normal. She hated him when he acted like that but always forgave him within moments.
Jordan McAfee Jordan McAfee was Peter Houghton's lawyer and confident. He has children of his own and took pity on Peter and decided to do everything in his power to help him. He knew his chances were slim but he made great effort in Peter's case and in the end did what was best for him but still lost his case.
Selena McAfee Selena McAfee is Jordan McAfee's wife as well as his partner. She listens to what he says and does her best to help him with his case. She does what he needs done and takes care of their children.
Drew Girard Drew Girard was Matt's best friend who stuck by him in everything. Drew was shot but lived unlike most who were shot. He also picked on Peter Houghton. Drew did his best to help Josie through Matt's death.
John Eberhard John Eberhard was one of the more popular kids as well. He was shot in the head and left with severe brain damage.
Brady Price Brady Price was injured protecting his girlfriend Haley Weaver. Haley and Brady are the most popular couple in the entire school so when both of them are injured it is devastating. Brady was the most popular boy in the entire senior class as well as the whole school making him a top target for Peter.
Haley Weaver Haley Weaver is the most popular girl in the entire senior class as well as the entire school making her a top priority on Peter's target list. She had severe damage done to her face and had several cosmetic surgeries don but will still never look the same. Only her boyfriend Brady still sees her as just as beautiful as she was before the accident. She will never be the same again.
Derek Markowitz Derek Markowitz was Peter's best friend after Josie betrayed him. They met on the bench in soccer as both of them were forced to play by their parents. Neither of them were good enough to be able to play in any of the games. He helped Peter create many of his computer games but never thought Peter was capable of such mass chaos. Derek was picked on by the same people Peter was picked on. Both Derek and Peter hated the kids that picked on them and talked badly about them frequently. Still Derek never thought Peter would get revenge this way.
Ed McCabe Ed McCabe was a math teacher at Sterling High. He was the only teacher who was killed in the shooting. Ed McCabe was secretly gay but did not want the staff or students to find out. Peter knew though. Peter was repeatedly called gay and began to wonder if it was true so he went to a gay bar and got into a sticky situation playing pool. Mr. McCabe helped out Peter and then took him home. He could tell that Peter was straight and did his best to help him along the way. In the end Peter killed Mr. McCabe although you never quite know if it was on purpose or simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Courtney Ignatio Courtney Ignato was Josie's best friend once she was no longer friends with Peter. Courtney picked on Peter and publicly humiliated him by sending out an email sent to Josie by Peter to the whole school. The letter was about how Peter likes Josie. Then Courtney convinced Peter that Josie likes him to so Peter goes to ask Josie to eat lunch with him. She got Peter humiliated repeatedly.
Joey Houghton Joey Houghton was Peter's older brother. He did drugs which he hid in his drawers which his mom discovers when he's dead and she is going through his things. Joey was killed in a car crash by a drunk driver. Peter and Joey went to the same school and Joey picked on Peter worst of all by lying about things he supposedly did at home but never did.
Logan Rourke Logan Rourke is the biological father of Josie. Josie did not find out about him until a few weeks before the shooting around election time. Matt took Josie to go meet Logan but Logan was to concerned about how it would affect his election campaign and tried to bribe Josie to leave him alone.
Maddie Shaw Maddie Shaw was Josie's friend. She was a very popular girl and was the first to die.
Whit Obermeyer Whit Obermyer was third to die and was shot in the hallways.
Topher McPhee Topher McPhee was the school's pot dealer. He was fourth to die.
Grace Murtaugh Grace Murtaugh was the town minister's daughter. She was fifth to die.
Kaitlyn Harvey Kaitlyn Harvey was a freshman with down syndrome. She was sixth to die.
Noah James Noah James was a senior jock. He was eighth to die.
Justin Friedman Justin Friedman was an unathletic unpopular student. He was ninth to die.
Victims in order of Death
Action Peter Houghton comes to school on March 6 th ,2007 prepared to start the biggest disaster the small town of Sterling has ever seen. There was a bomb set off in Matt Royston's car to cause a distraction and then it all began. Ten people were killed and many were wounded.Peter did not kill everyone as he was accused of though. Matt Royston who was found lying dead next to Josie Cormier was not killed by Peter Houghton but by another who stumbled across Peter's second gun of the four he had with him. Judge Cormier who is Josie's mother was originally on the case but was recused when her daughter was called upon as a witness. In the end telling the truth is the worst thing Josie could have done but she had to anyways. Nobody knew until she came out with it. But I guess secrets can't be kept forever now can they.
Theme The theme of nineteen minutes is that bullying has consequences. Peter was a rare case in which he was pushed over the edge and went on a killing spree. Bullying does push people over the edge every day though but not usually to the point of killing others. People suffer the consequences from bullying every day though.
Plot When Alex meets Logan and they have a forbidden affair between teacher and student which in turn resulted in Josie. Josie never knew her real father until she went to find him and he still wanted no part of her. Alex met Lacy who had a son that was Josie's age. Josie and Peter became close friends. Josie stood up for Peter when they were younger. Josie eventually ditched Peter for the popular crowd. Peter still liked Josie and everyone used that against him. Peter was publicly humiliated when an email he sent to Josie was sent out to the whole school by Peter. Matt ended up ruining Peter in front of the whole school. One day the email he had sent Josie that had been sent to everyone showed up on his screen. That pushed him over on the edge and he made the decision to go through with his plan. He brought his guns to school and went on a killing spree where 10 people died. He was sent to jail and went through trials and was in court many times. Peter was eventually sentenced to life in prison and Josie went away for a while.
Inciting Incident The inciting incident is when Peter creates Hide-n-Shriek based off of the floor plan of the building and people from the school. Hide-n-Shriek is a video game where nerds create weapons and kill jocks.
Symbolism Hide-n-Shriek is symbolizing Peter's plan to kill his bullies.
Foreshadowing In the very beginning of the novel it states, “In nineteen minutes you can get revenge.” This foreshadows that someone is going to get revenge.
Climax Whenever Josie,Peter,and Matt are all in the locker room and Josie grabbed Peter's gun.She had the choice to shoot Peter or to let him live knowing he had killed other students yet she let him live in the end.
Vocabulary Word 1
Arraignment- When the accused first pleads guilty or not guilty
Vocabulary Word 2
Subpoena- A court order to compel a witness to appear at a certain time or place to testify
“Inside was different: a fishbowl where anything you said and did was being watched by everyone else”
This compares high school to a fishbowl, but what it is implying is that high school is a judgmental place.
“Josie's throat closed like a rosebud” was a simile in the novel. It compares when Josie was so upset she couldn't even speak to a rosebud that hasn't opened yet.
Even though you get picked on some people are still there for you. This is represented by even when Peter does all these horrible crimes Josie is still there for him.