House Rules
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House Rules

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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  86,029 ratings  ·  8,263 reviews
When your son can't look you in the eye . . . does that mean he's guilty?

Jacob Hunt is a teen with Asperger’s syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, though he is brilliant in many ways. But he has a special focus on one subject—forensic analysis. A police scanner in his room clues him in to crime scenes, and he’s always showin...more
Paperback, 603 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sarah Rosenberger
Painfully obvious and predictable and filled with so much repetitive exposition about Asperger's Syndrome that it ultimately made me feel like i was being lectured by someone who has it and would not take the hint that I understood them the first time and get the freaking point okay??? Very disappointing.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
A good solid 3 1/2 stars

I applaud Jodi Picoult for using her best-selling author position to educate people about Asperger's syndrome. She did extensive research and tried to present as much information as she could within the confines of a novel. At times this effort to educate interrupts the flow of the narrative, but I think she was striving for completeness. House Rules is a sort of "Primer on Asperger's" for people who may not otherwise seek out information on the condition. Picoult gives J...more
ConnieK
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Becky
Confession time: I had no intention of ever reading a Jodi Picoult book. To me, her books were pretty much equivalent to Nicholas Sparks' books.* Formula: Mix one part "issue" with one part "sap" and one part "luuuuuurve", then swallow. If nausea occurs, try Pepto to keep it down.
*Sparks' books are still ones that I have no intention of ever reading. I watched 'A Walk to Remember' and 'The Notebook'. That's enough for one lifetime. There's like 50 movies based on his books now or something, an...more
Meghan
"House Rules" bills itself as a murder mystery with an Asperger's twist, but Picoult brings nothing original to either the mystery genre or books featuring characters on the Autism spectrum.

I would chalk it up to a mindless, predictable read best left for the times a reader is stuck in an airport, except it is so incredibly long that the reader will have the "mystery" solved and be left to slog through 400 more pages. Much too long for a reluctant reader and too boring and predictable for an in...more
Julie
House Rules delivers everything Picoult fans have come to expect: controversy, multiple perspectives, a legal conflict, etc. Though formulaic, it does not disappoint. Jacob, the Asperger’s afflicted teenager provides the most intriguing point of view. Extremely bright, but lacking in social and communications skills, he attempts to define the way his mind works and his attempts to relate to people. His mother Emma and his brother Theo have struggled to cope with his disability, but when he is ar...more
Carolyn Gerk
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Barb
House Rules has everything I look for in good fiction. It's a superb, character-driven story that made me laugh, made me cry, and kept me intrigued until the very end. As with other Jodi Picoult novels, the author's extensive research allowed me to learn a great deal about a particular topic, in this case both autism (specifically Asperger's) and forensic science.

Many people criticize this book as being highly predictable. I disagree, mainly because I don't view it as a murder mystery. The auth...more
Nicola Mansfield
As a person with Asperger's I am dismayed with Picoult's portrayal of an adult with Asperger's Syndrome. Picoult starts off by showing us all the sources she has used for her research but once one starts reading it is obvious she is so full of research she doesn't know what to do with it. She has taken every possible symptom of both Asperger's and autism (which are two different diagnoses) and put them all into the character of Jacob. Not only is Jacob loaded down with every single symptom, each...more
Lormac
Jodi Picoult is far from my favorite author, so all you Picoultites out there, you might as well skip this review. I am interested in stories about people on the autistic spectrum with Asperger behaviors, so I thought I would give this one a try. Sigh. I should have known better. In Ms. Picoult's heavy-handed hands, the behavior of the protagonist with Aspergers is exaggerated and twisted simply for the benefit of the plot. Eating only foods of a certain color, but on different days, is not trad...more
Kris Hilliard
As a mother of a child with autism, I was leery about reading this novel as it's probably every mother's worst nightmare to learn their 'normal' child committed a crime, but for those of us with children who cannot speak for themselves let alone defend their actions it is truly something I fear for him in the future. I know enough of Picoult's writing to know there would be a twist to this story, but really did not expect the way it ended. She clearly did her research learning about Asbergers, P...more
Heather
I think I need to stop reading Picoult. I picked this up from the "new!" shelf at the library, and thought I'd give it a shot over the holiday weekend, even though I've been taking a break from her writing. As I was telling someone a few weeks ago, Picoult's books are fairly formulaic: mama bear fiercely protects child (who generally has some disability or serious problem) from the world; optional so-called "normal" sibling is angry and neglected but understanding. Estranged/divorced/remote othe...more
Betsy
I don't usually like to admit this but I can almost NEVER solve the mystery or crime in a book before the end. This time it was ridiculously easy which actually really disappointed me. I was drawn to the book because I was previously a special education teacher who is now a guidance counselor. I did find the social issue of diagnosis and treatment of a person with Asperger's interesting. It is important to shed more light on this topic. Picoult is a popular author. If a greater awareness of Aspe...more
Thomas
House Rules is the story of teenager Jacob Hunt, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome. The disease is somewhat like autism, but on the higher end of the spectrum. In fact, Jacob can dish out facts and has a higher IQ then most of the kids his age. However, his increased intellect comes with a price - he cannot relate to human emotion, and cannot understand what it means to love, hate, or even sympathize - even if he tries. All of a sudden Jacob is accused of a terrible murder. The shocking revel...more
Karen
This book has so many problems with it that I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t want to be too specific, in case you decide to read it for yourself. The plot is such a mess that I was continually wondering how the author was going to clean it all up at the end. Well, I guess she couldn’t figure it out, because the book just stops! There is no resolution of the main conflict. I have read the book cover to cover, but still I don’t know how the story ends! There is at least one mistake in the...more
Cass
I have to confess to being a closet Jodi Picoult fan. I am as much surprised as you! She caught me unawares one night after downloading a sample chapter on my iPhone. I blame the time of the night, I blame my daughter for not sleeping, I blame the Picoult for being able to convert me with a single chapter. Picoult writes books that do indeed draw the reader in right from chapter one. House Rules is the second book of hers that I have read and both books kept me up all night reading them.

House Ru...more
Emily
I'm going to say, up front, this book is intense, and made me feel every emotion a person can feel. The lives of those in the Hunt family have never been easy. Jacob's Asperger's Syndrome makes it impossible for him to connect well to others and, sometimes, his tantrums can become violent. He has special accomodations at home, and at school, but those things don't help him when he is accused of murdering his Social Skills tutor, Jess Ogilvy. From there, everything becomes increasingly harder, an...more
Petra X
I swore I'd never read another Picoult books - they are so written to template, and the endings tend to be cop-outs. But here I am with the latest one on my bedside table. My excuse is that I have Asperger's and I'm always interested to see how other people overcome the social problems. So far though, the book hasn't hooked me, its reading like a lecture on a kid with low-functioning Asperger's, a Rain-Man obsessive and brilliant character who can just about live in the world. It doesn't read li...more
Hana
This book is a classic example of why I no longer read much contemporary fiction.

I ran into a friend at the library and she recommended that I try Jodi Picoult. Sadly, I have to say this first Picoult will be my last. It is sad because she writes very well and I could not put the book down. She employs the first-person, present-tense, multiple-POV style with great skill, and the dynamics of this troubled family are for the most part believable, sometimes funny, often touching.

So why did I not r...more
Nic
I grabbed this book on a whim at the book store because I have some experience with people with Asperger's and the premise sounded interesting. When I got home and actually looked up other Jodi Picoult books, though, I started to get nervous. specifically looking at the reviews for My Sister's Keeper were very controversial. But when I started the book I actually had high hopes for it. The prose is very simple and easy to read (which isn't a sin in my opinion but can actually be a good thing) an...more
Mallory
This was my first attempt to read a Picoult novel, and I can't say that I'm inspired to read any more. When Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom" came out last year, Picoult was incredibly critical of the praise that the book was receiving. She seemed to believe that Franzen was lauded for being a male writing about families, while she was virtually ignored by major book reviews, such as The New York Times, because she was female. Her books were branded as "women's fiction" because she was a woman writin...more
Annie
This is a book that I had reserved at the library. When it came in I felt an odd compulsion to read and finish even though I found it quite tedious.

I used to enjoy Picoult's novels; I admit it! I thought the early books were well written with engaging stories and well developed characters. That is definitely not the case with her last few books. I think this will be the last one of hers I read for a long time (she's cranking them out at the rate of one/year. That in itself is very telling!)

This...more
Mallory
Jul 24, 2010 Mallory rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Recommended to Mallory by: Janet Wong (but only because she hated it)
Add Autism and Asperger's to the list of things that Jodi Picoult knows nothing about, yet pretends to after doing a modicum of research.

In House Rules, Picoult takes every tic, symptom, quirk, obsession and social awkwardness of Autism and rolls them into one character. But, since many people with Autism have a hard time communicating, despite the traits she gave her main character, she had to give him Asperger's, which is a high-functioning form of Autism, so that she could set him up as a fir...more
Gwen Haaland
Disappointing, predictable, overly repetitive and just not credible! Was this book just dashed off with cursory research and without as much thought as some of her earlier novels? I was expecting much more from Jodi Picoult, especially after re-reading her "Plain Truth," also with courtroom scenes. This book is nowhere near the quality of that book. Nor does it touch the brilliance shown in "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" also about a boy with Asperger's Syndrome, which is on...more
Seann
It's on of those books which, when i got to the part where the climax happens and the author starts omitting details to keep the suspense, I already know what really happened.

SOLVED: 5 minutes - ME!!!

It was good, up until the part where Jacob confessed and the two lawyers delivered their closing arguments. I just flipped through the pages and looked for something to capture my interest again, and ended up reading the part where it was Theo's birthday and they found out the truth.

I feel like I wa...more
Jackie
Picoult, queen of the nightmarish parental ethical dilemmas, is taking on Asperger's Syndrome this time around, with 18 year old Jacob Hunt being on trial for murdering his socialization tutor. It's an interesting study in what defines a disability, what allowances we need to make in schools and courts for people who have different ways of communicating, and how metaphorical our everyday conversation is. At 544 pages, the book has plenty of time to explore all of those things and more. There are...more
Vasia
Classic Jodi Picoult in a good way. Very clever, very funny ,amazing court scenes.
Jr Bacdayan
I remember being in summer-camp when I read this book. It wasn't even my copy, I just borrowed it from one of the campers there. It was my first Jodi Picoult, and frankly still is. House Rules gave me my first encounter with Asperger's syndrome. Back then, I didn't even know what it was, that's why my curiosity got piqued. I had only meant to skim and see what this was about but I got interested and borrowed it. I liked it. I wasn't blown away or anything, I just wanted to know more about Asperg...more
Doreen
Jacob Hunt is an 18-year-old with Asperger's. Jess, his social skills tutor, is found dead and Jacob is charged with her murder.

The book has multiple narrators: Jacob; Emma, Jacob's mother; Theo, Jacob's brother; Rich, the detective; and Oliver, Jacob's lawyer. This narrative technique allows for full development of the characters. This creation of round characters is the novel's strong suit; unfortunately, it is the book's only strength.

Jacob has every possible Asperger's characteristic to an...more
Bethany
I swear, I'm really going to stop reading Jodi Picoult's books. I am never satisfied at the end, and honestly? I think she's getting worse. I enjoyed a few in the middle there, but these latest couple have been wretched.

Look, I know going into a Jodi Picoult novel that I'm in for some serious emotional manipulation. I know I'm not going to get an ending that satisfies. It's something I accept when I crack the cover. But I also know that it will be riddled with emotionally intense characters who...more
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Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-two novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Between the Lines, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister’s Keeper. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.

Her upcoming novel, LEAVING TIME, will be released on October 14, 2014.

Website: http://www.j...more
More about Jodi Picoult...
My Sister's Keeper Nineteen Minutes The Pact Plain Truth The Tenth Circle

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“Sometimes I think the human heart is just a simple shelf. There is only so much you can pile onto it before something falls off an edge and you are left to pick up the pieces.” 187 likes
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