At that instant, he was standing again in the spring bog behind the school in Akiak, striped with mud and blood, holding his fists high. During the fight, he’d broken two ribs, he had lost a tooth, he had opened a gash over his left eye. He was weaving, but he wasn’t about to give in to the pain. Who else, Daniel had challenged, until one by one, their hot black gazes fell to the ground like stones.

– From The Tenth Circle, by Jodi Picoult

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At that instant, he was standing again in the spring bog behind the school in Akiak, striped with mud and blood, holding his fists high. During the fight, he’d broken two ribs, he had lost a tooth, he had opened a gash over his left eye. He was weaving, but he wasn’t about to give in to the pain. Who else, Daniel had challenged, until one by one, their hot black gazes fell to the ground like stones.

– From The Tenth Circle, by Jodi Picoult

Years ago, when she’d told him she wanted to fly like the men and women in his comic book drawings, he had given her a sky in which to do it. Trixie’s walls and ceiling were covered with clouds; the hardwood floors were an ethereal cirrus swirl. Somehow, as Trixie got older, she hadn’t outgrown the murals. They seemed to compliment her, a girl too vibrant to be contained by walls. But right now, the clouds that had once seemed so liberating made Daniel feel like he was falling.

– From The Tenth Circle, by Jodi Picoult

Trixie was just growing away from him, and somehow that was even worse. For years she had floated into the house on the wings of her own stories: how the butterfly they were hatching in class had one of its antennae torn off by a boy who wasn’t gentle; how the school lunch that day had been pizza when the notice said it was going to be chicken chow mein, and how if she’d known that, she would have bought instead of brining her own; how the letter I in cursive is nothing like you’d think. There had been so many easy words between them that Daniel was guilty of nodding every now and then and tuning out the excess. He hadn’t known, at the time, that he should have been hoarding these, like bits of sea glass hidden in the pocket of his winter coat to remind him that once it had been summer.

– From The Tenth Circle, by Jodi Picoult

Add love, and a person might do something crazy. Add love, and all the lines between right and wrong were bound to disappear.

– From The Tenth Circle, by Jodi Picoult

The problem was, you couldn’t have one without the other. There couldn’t be a bad guy unless there was a good guy to create the standard. And there couldn’t be a good guy until a bad guy showed just how far off the path he might stray.

– From The Tenth Circle, by Jodi Picoult

That weekend, Laura learned that there are no cosmic referees. Time-outs do not get called, even when your world has taken a blow that renders you senseless. The dishwasher still needs to be emptied and the hamper overflows with dirty clothes and the high school buddy you haven’t spoken to in six months calls to catch up, not realizing that you cannot tell her what’s been going on in your life without breaking down. The twelve students in your class section still expect you to show up on Monday morning.

– From The Tenth Circle, by Jodi Picoult