I've avoided Jodi Picoult. I know I'm fuzzy on the details but bear with me. It was a while ago, and I only have a faint memory it: She wrote an essay for a writer's magazine - I don't remember which one - that annoyed me. It was right around the time when the chick lit argument burned through the literary world, and I think it had something to do with that. It reminded me of something Jennifer Weiner, who I cannot STAND, would say, so I never read any of Picoult's books.
I ended up with Vanishing Acts because I found a used copy in an antique store for $5. I added it onto my bill, which also included an obnoxious yellow and white cocktail ring.
For $5, it was worth it. Vanishing Acts is a story of disappearance told from a six points of view (I think). She gives each character his or her own voice and writing style. I don't want to give away too much of the plot because, if I'd have read the back of the book before reading, I think it would have spoiled the experience. This is the kind of book I like to approach with a bare mind.
But it's not perfect. Some of the late plot turns are too clunky, and one narrative turn that I think is too easy and even "cute," not as in pretty but as in "ha ha, I'm so clever for doing this!" Still, I sunk myself into the couch after dinner and followed it to the end. I wanted to see what happened.
Will I pick up another Picoult novel? Maybe. I'm not rushing out to buy more of her work. But if I see another book for $5 in an antique store, or need a beach read, or something to go along with a long flight, I consider it worth the investment.