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House Rules

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  152,015 ratings  ·  11,443 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 showi
Hardcover, 532 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Atria Books
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Pam Having worked with students with Asperger's, I thought her depiction was true-to-life, and yes, maybe a bit stereotypical, but the mannerisms and beha…moreHaving worked with students with Asperger's, I thought her depiction was true-to-life, and yes, maybe a bit stereotypical, but the mannerisms and behaviors for the most part was exactly what I used to see. Just as with any other disorder, there is a spectrum and no one "standard" profile. I thought she did her homework well and tried as best she could to get into the mind of someone with Asperger syndrome.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Dramapuppy Picoult answered this on her FAQ page.
It's under NEW FAQ. Scroll down to "Why did you end House Rules that way?" …more
Picoult answered this on her FAQ page.
It's under NEW FAQ. Scroll down to "Why did you end House Rules that way?" or something like that.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  152,015 ratings  ·  11,443 reviews

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Sarah Rosenberger
Apr 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
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. ...more
Jeanette (Again)
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
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Becky by: Jess
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,
Mar 05, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicola Mansfield
Mar 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 03, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: aatoreq, aa11reqrec
"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
Aug 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 15, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was well written and I enjoyed reading it most of the way, but it rubbed me wrong especially the ending.
 Li'l Owl
Amazing! Emotionally powerful and charged with enough tension your nerves will buzz!

Definition of Asperger's Syndrome according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders
and Stroke.
Asperger syndrome (AS) is a developmental disorder. It is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), one of a distinct group of neurological conditions characterized by a greater or lesser degree of impairment in language and communication skills, as well as repetitive or restrictive patterns of thought and behavi
Carolyn Gerk
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, fiction
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
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
The topic of Asperger's covered in this book is handled with precision and care. You can't help feeling sorry for the entire family. They really gave up having a normal life for their son and brother. I did like the concept but did not feel the ending justified the many pages or thoughts put into this novel. The writing just seemed to stop and not give the reader much to think about. That being said, it was a very worthwhile read. ...more
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-american
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
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Where was the rest?! I mean I get that we can conclude in general what happened but I wish there had been more to it. There were a few potential outcomes that would have been intriguing to read about. A world of opportunity is a way to put it. I had to flop the pages at the end thinking some were missing. Heck, I was close to shaking the book for more pages to appear. Not a very satisfying ending because it did not feel finished. The themes of Asperger's were covered in this book along with
Mar 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
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
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
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Emma and her son Jacob. Jacob has Asperger’s and when his teacher is murdered the attention focuses on Jacob.

I really enjoyed this, as is normal practice with Picoult it was very well researched. Her books do tend to follow the same formula but I enjoy looking closely and learning about a subject in the accessible format she is so good at.

Five stars.
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You will never hear me say that Jodi Picoult is not a gifted writer. The amount of research she puts in very book is obvious every time. Her characters are realistically written – the good characters all have their flaws, the bad characters are profoundly douchey. There is so much detail in her writing that I can’t help but admire her. However, it really depends on the book for me. I’ve praised Picoult books to the moon and back. I’ve DNFed them and ranted about particular characters. I’ve felt ...more
Jul 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
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
Petra-X Off having adventures
Dec 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
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
C.G. Drews
Considering I just a) finally read a book by the famous Jodie Picoult, b) read an adult book when I'm like a 99% YA reader, and c) enjoyed it, and d) it was freakishly huge but I survived...I THINK I GET A SOME SORT OF REWARD. But oh wow oh wow, where do I even start? This was rather incredible. I've had a slew of sucky reads lately, but this totally captivated me. It had the WHODUNNIT vibe. It helped me learn more about Asperger's. And it reminded me that not all adult books are scary, but shhh ...more
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
Paul E. Morph
This was my first Jodi Picoult novel and I have to say that it sucked me in from the word go. I found all the characters interesting and likable (for the most part), I found the story really engaging and thought the premise was built off a really good idea. I found it very moving in places.

Why only three stars, then?

Well, for one, the pacing. It starts really well; for the first third of the book it jogs along at a brisk pace and I didn't get bored once. Then the middle section hit and it slowed
Jan 10, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: i-said
I have read a great many Picoult books and I must say that so far, this one, is my least favourite of all.

In fairness Picoult has clearly researched Asperger's syndrome and goes to great lengths to ensure the reader also understands the symptoms and nuances of this type of autism and the impact it would have on a family, the community and society at large. It is the rest of this story that fell flat for me. I found the plot to be unrealistic and largely predictable. I figured out what happened
Love Fool
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing

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 showing up and telling the cops what to do. And he's usually right.

But when Jacob's small hometown is rocked by a terrible murder, law enforcement comes to him. Jacob's behaviors are hallmark Asperger's,
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
Jun 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, 2011
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
Jul 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
Oooh I've been waiting to write this review... because there's so much bullshit in this book that it is incredible. And (obviously) not in a good way.

And before I get into the meat of this review, I'm just going to stick this out there: I'm normally a Jodi Picoult fan. But I'm also going to put this out there: I'm a social worker, I've worked with kids on the autism spectrum (anywhere from low-functioning to high-functioning), and my husband has Asperger's. So, I'm going to dare to say that I pr
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Hooked! 5 67 Aug 03, 2020 01:26AM  
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Play Book Tag: House Rules - Jodi Picoult - 5* 1 16 Jul 13, 2019 08:43AM  
Hello? What Happens to Jacob?!!!!!? 77 1965 Apr 23, 2019 06:50PM  

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Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-six novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Small Great Things, A Spark of Light, Leaving Time, 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 new novel, THE BOOK OF TWO WAYS, is

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