The Best Reading Order For Jodi Picoult

The Best Reading Order for Jodi Picoult

Last Updated on November 16, 2020

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Jodi Picoult is probably most well known for her novel, “My Sister’s Keeper”, due to the film’s release in 2009. Her book “Small Great Things” have also gained some traction recently due to its focus on racism, with its lead protagonist being an African American. Jodi Picoult’s novels have sometimes been dubbed as chick-lit but looking at the breadth of work that she has done it would be a disservice to simplify them as such. Her stories frequently deal morally complex issues such as racism, LGBT right, school shootings, assisted suicide, and abortion. I have personally found her stories heavy at times as she has a way of immersing her readers into the emotional states her protagonists are in. Another interesting writing technique that Jodi Picoult uses in some of her novels is narrating the story from the point of view of different characters. Some of the novels that she uses this in are My Sister’s Keeper, Songs of the Humpback Whale, Change of Heart, Sing You Home, Handle With Care, and House Rules. 

For those who are interested in trying out her works I have three recommended reading orders for her works. The first one is based on my personal preference. The second one is not exactly a recommended reading order but rather I’ll be grouping them based on the issue or theme focused by the book. The third one is based on chronological order.


Reading order based on personal preference

Jodi Picoult’s novels tend to be serious. Reading them can be an emotional rollercoaster so it is hard to suggest some of her works to be read outright. So when I meet fellow book lovers I usually suggest that they start with her most famous work, “My Sister’s Keeper”. It is widely considered as one of her best works and, of course, having a film starring Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin, helps with its popularity as well. After that I then suggest some of her more popular works such as The Pact and Nineteen Minutes. Beyond that I just went with mixing some of her earlier works and more modern ones.

Novels grouped by themes

One of the things that Jodi Picoult’s novels are known for is the topics or themes they tackle. And since that might be what captured your interest in checking out her works I wanted to give you a list that will allow you to pick what theme you want and focus on her works that tackle them. Keep in mind there will be always some overlap in themes at times, especially when it comes to parenthood, so I will try to focus on the more central theme. 

Relationship Conflict/Spousal Abuse


Assisted Suicide/Suicide

Sexual Abuse/Rape

Native American Displacement

Medical Emancipation

School Shooting

  • The Ninth Circle

Death Penalty



Young Adult (Romance) – co-written with her daughter, Samantha van Leer



Chronological order

Finally here are her works organized by their publishing year so that you can appreciate her growth as an author.

About Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult was born in 1966. Interestingly enough she lived for thirteen years in an area in NY known locally as ‘The Storybook’, which she said might have helped influenced her career as a writer later on. At the age of thirteen her family moved to New Hampshire, where she continues to live to this day with her husband, Timothy Warren van Leer, and three children. In 1987 she graduated from Princeton with an AB in English. After doing various jobs such as copy writing and teaching eight-grade English she decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Education at Harvard, where she graduated in 1990. She has since earned honorary doctor of letters degrees from Dartmouth College and the University of New Haven. 

In 1992 she released her first novel, “Songs of the Humpback Whale”. Since then Jodi Picoult has released twenty four more novels and one short story compilation. Starting with her novel, “Nineteen Minutes”, most of her novels have debuted at number 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. She has won numerous awards such as the New England Bookseller Award for Fiction, the NH Literary Award for Outstanding Literary Merit, and Lifetime Achievement Award for mainstream fiction from the Romance Writers of America. It is estimated that there are forty million copies of her work in print worldwide and some of her works has been translated in to thirty four languages. As mentioned earlier, one of her most famous novels, “My Sister’s Keeper”, has been turned in to a feature film in 2009, while four others, “The Pact”, “Plain Truth”, “The Tenth Circle”, and “Salem Falls”, have been turned in to Lifetime Original Movies.  She has also written a few issues of Wonder Woman for DC in 2007.

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