New & Noteworthy
There’s a reason John Grisham is synonymous with bestseller. He’s a good author. Well, all right, there are a lot of good books on the shelves by good authors. They do not, however, always hit New York Times and various other bestseller lists, including international ones. Grisham is consistently a good storyteller. It does not matter what genre one writes in, if they cannot tell a good tale, they won’t go far.
Grisham, undisputed master of the legal thriller, is one of those writers who can turn his hand to anything and be succesful: general fiction, nonfiction, short stories, and now Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer for young readers.
Not every other who jumps on the young adult bandwagon is a good addition. Grisham is a stellar addition. He illuminates the law for young readers in a way they will have no trouble understanding and while doing so gives them a story that will make many of them want to be just like Theo Boone.
A perfect murder. A faceless witness. A lone courtroom champion knows the whole truth…and he’s only 13! Meet Theodore Boone. In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he’s only 13, Theo thinks he’s one of them. He knows every judge, policeman, and court clerk, and he knows a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom.
But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than expected. Because he knows so much–maybe too much–he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial. A cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth. The stakes are high, but Theo won’t stop until justice is served.
Grisham has presented his fans with a new character to admire, one unlike any other he has produced. I can imagine that some of Grisham’s hot-shot lawyers from his legal thrillers were a lot like Theo in their youth: intelligent, committed, caring, obsessed with the law. Of course, it is Theo’s age that makes him unique.
Granted, most parents don’t have kids like Theo Boone. His whole life is tied up in the law. He eats, sleeps, and breathes it. His parents are not bad parents, but they certainly are not the sweet, nurturing type. When it comes down to it and Theo needs them like no other time in his life, they are there for him big time. That was when they redeemed themselves in my eyes. Until then, I thought his dog, Judge, nurtured him more than his parents.
Theo shares what he knows about the law and arranges with the sitting judge in the upcoming murder trial to allow his class to sit in on opening day. Not only do kids come to him for legal advice on mundane things, but one youngster comes to Theo when his relative, an illegal immigrant, has knowledge that would change the outcome of the murder trial now underway.
Theo carries what he knows about the law around for a couple of days before confiding in his Uncle Ike, not the best representative of how the law should work. But Ike turns out to be a stand-up guy.
You’ll have to read the book to find out how all the legalities are finally dealt with. I’m happy to say I caught the scent of the series in the ending. I’ll look forward to the next adventure of young Theo Boone.
This is a young adult book that will be thoroughly enjoyed by adults.