Change of Heart has all the things I love about Picoult's work: thought-provoking topics, alternating points of view, and the use of symbolism. Coincidentally, the Picoult novel I read most recently before this one was Keeping Faith, which also dealt with religion, and one of the primary characters from Keeping Faith is featured in Change of Heart.
Picoult has written an interesting "story behind the story" for her website. That same webpage also has book club discussion questions and references for more information about both the death penalty and the Gnostic Gospels.
There are several interesting epigraphs for sections of the book. And, given my name, I just have to share the epigraph for the whole book:
Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said. One can't believe impossible things."
"I dare say you haven't had as much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age I did it for half an hour a day. Why sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
Here is a favorite quote from the book:
Finding God's grace wasn't like locating missing keys or the forgotten name of a 1940s pinup girl - it was more of a feeling: the sun breaking through an overcast morning, the softest bed sinking under your weight. And, of course, you couldn't find God's grace unless you admitted you were lost.