Top critical review
Not Picoult's best
Reviewed in the United States on March 22, 2015
House Rules is written in the style of Picoult's other books, but is not her best work. Picoult's stregnths as a writer are storytelling style (she alternates between narrators, making a compelling read from many perspectives) and her ability to research/depict unique and interesting scenarios.
In this case, she tries to convey the story of an autistic boy who (it appears) may have murdered his social skills tutor. However, I found the plot to be predictable (including the "twist"). She also didn't do as good of a job in character development as she does in her other books (her "lawyer" character, for instance, was alternately bumbling / an expert).
Picoult also ends up implying (through her characters) that vaccines cause autism - albeit in a roundabout way. She relies heavily on the shaky science of "toxins" - readers who want to learn more about autism should be warned that this book is an incomplete source, so it should be complemented with other resources about autism as well.