The story takes place in Sterling, N.H., alternating between the present and past events that took place in lives of the central characters. Peter Houghton is a junior at Sterling High School, enduring years of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of classmates ever since grade school. His best friend in grade school was Josie Cormier who has since succumbed to peer pressure and now hangs out with the popular crowd that often instigates abuse of other students. The flashbacks reveal events in the lives of Peter and Josie that led up to Peter’s breakdown in which one final incident of bullying sends him over the edge and leads him to commit an act of violence that forever changes the lives of Sterling’s residents. Jodi Picoult has once again written another page-turner with incredible psychological and social insights into school bullying and violence. She has the ability in her writing to enable the reader to see the problem through the eyes of everyone involved in the story, leaving many haunting questions yet to be answered and resolved.