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Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
The story takes place in a small town in New Hampshire. For the past 69 years the death penalty did not exist, until the day Shay Bourne killed two innocent people.
Characters:Shay Bourne - Convicted murderer who fought for the right to give his heart to his victims little sisterJune Nealon - Mother and wife of Shay's victims, and mother of 11 year old Claire. All she wants is justice for lost loved ones, and a miracle for her daughterClaire Nealon - Sister of Shay's victim and potential recipient of his heartFather Michael - Priest who becomes Shay's spiritual adviser while he's on death row. He was also on the jury that sentenced Shay to deathMaggie - Attorney who fights for Shay's right to die in a way that allows him to follow his religious beliefs, which to him means donating his heart
One very blatant and obvious theme of this book is Religion. It is brought forward by Lucius DuFresne, an inmate in the cell next to Shay's, when he says “Religion was supposed to be a blanket drawn up to your chin to keep you warm, a promise that when it came to the end, you wouldn’t die alone – but it could just as easily leave you shivering out in the cold if what you believed became more important than the fact that you believed.”
The story begins by describing what happened to land Shay Bourne on death row and then continues as he struggles to make his dying wish come true. Claire Nealon is the little sister of Shay's youngest victim and is in dire need of a heart transplant. Upon hearing this, Shay makes it his goal that Claire should get his heart. As he struggles to make people see his religious beliefs, a political battle rages on as to whether or not Shay has the right to declare his own method of execution. Claire's mother June also faces an internal battle: can she accept the heart of the monster who killed her oldest daughter and husband even if it means saving her youngest child?