A year or so ago, Jodi Picoult came to Jackson to speak. It was amazing that she could speak to a room with 150 people and make you think she was just talking to you.
The first of her books I actually listened to as an audiobook. I was hooked. My Sister's Keeper, which deals with parents having another child to serve as a donor to an ill child. What does that do to everyone involved? As an author she is able to get inside the heads of her characters and present both sides of an issue as fairly as possible. I don't know if she changes minds, but she insists you think about issues you may have stopped exploring.
Her research makes her books special as well. I have learned something new from each one. So far I have read: My Sister's Keeper; Second Glance; Vanishing Acts; The Tenth Circle; and Nineteen Minutes.
I hesitated to read Nineteen Minutes, which deals with a school shooting similar to Columbine, because the subject matter is so disturbing. Jodi Picoult seems to know just when to introduce information so the reader does not turn away.
For lots more information about Jodi Picoult visit her website. The fact that her family has not just one but two Springer Spaniels ranks her even higher in my estimation!