Kate Ward
February 24, 2010 AT 05:00 AM EST

House Rules

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jodi Picoult
publisher
Atria
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B

Like many of the author’s other books, House Rules involves a child, a disease, and a legal issue that threatens the fabric of a family. Emma, a single mother, copes just fine with her teenage sons — until the day Jacob is arrested for the murder of his tutor. Jacob has Asperger’s, and the cops confuse his symptoms — such as avoiding eye contact — with guilt. Jodi Picoult loses points for ruining what could have been a riveting mystery by establishing Jacob’s innocence at the outset. (The real story behind the tutor’s death is obvious to the careful reader.) The author has delivered a sweet family drama that doubles as a handbook on Asperger’s — not exactly a thrill, but hardly a bad thing. B

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