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Friday, 11 June 2010

Review: Theodore Boone (Young Lawyer)

Author: John Grisham
Release date:
Genre: YA Legal Thriller
Target audience: 10+

Summary from Goodreads:
A perfect murder
A faceless witness

A lone courtroom champion knows the whole truth . . . and he’s only thirteen years old
Meet Theodore Boone

In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he’s only thirteen years old, Theo Boone thinks he’s one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk—and 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.

When you hear that a huge name in adult fiction is branching out into the YA market, you can't help but be curious. Add to that the fact that John Grisham has invented a whole new genre -The Young Adult Legal Thriller - and well, I jumped at the chance to review this and I'm really glad I did. Theodore Boone: Young Lawyer has such a broad appeal. Anyone from ten to ninety-two would enjoy this book. Theo is thirteen and he is a rather peculiar teen. He spends his spare time at the court house and he watches trial after trial. His parents are both lawyers. His mum Marcella Boone is a divorce lawyer. His dad Woods Boone is a real estate lawyer. Theo is passionate about the law and justice. He cannot decide if he wants to be a criminal laywer or a judge. We enter Theo's life at a very exciting time. The biggest trial ever to come to the city of Strattenberg is about to begin. A man - Pete Duffy - is accused by the prosceution of murdering his wife. Theo is desperate to watch every second of the trial but like most thirteen year olds he has to go to school. Luckily for Theo, his Government teacher is an ex-lawyer so his class do get to watch the opening statements.
On the surface it is hard to work out how a teen protagonist could be a lawyer but Grisham really makes it work. Many of Theo's fellow pupils come to him for help. He has his own little office at the back of his parents' law firm and that in itself made this book a joy to read. I can see that it will have an immense appeal to kids who feel powerless in an adult dominated world. Theo uses his parents' access codes to get into all sorts of important websites. It is very cool and although it doesn't sound believeable, it is written in such a way that you really don't care. You are too busy having a fun time learning about the criminal justice system through Theo's explanations of the law to his friends.
The characterisation in this book was quirky and a little comedic. Theo's parents are very habitual people (like me actually). They eat at the same time everyday. They go to the same places at the same time every week. It really made me laugh because I am so like this. Perhaps I should have been a lawyer rather than a librarian? The plot is also really well crafted. The main case of the state versus Mr Duffy is the main engine driving through the story but then there are also all these little cases that Theo resolves for his clients. It works really well and keeps you interested while you're hearing about how the trial is unfolding.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Theodore Boone. It has a definite appeal to fans of murder mysteries and crime novels. It is a very easy read and fast paced. The fact that there is no swearing, no violence and no sexual content means that I would be more than happy for a nine/ ten year old to read this. The issue of the murder is dealt with very clinically and so no worries there either. Theodore Boone is a great quirky read that will teach you about all about criminal law and at the same time amuse and entertain you. I can't wait for the next instalment. Just super fun!
Thanks to Just So for asking me to review this.


Shweta said...

Hi Becky , I am itching to lay my hands on this one:) I am a closet John Grisham readerLOL so I have to read this. Wonderful review.

I am sorry about not having commented for so long. Had a very hectic week. Hope ur doing good :)

Kals said...

Great review! I wasn't sure about reading this, since YA isn't really my genre. But the plot sounds intriguing and I'll pick the book for sure :)

Dazzling Mage said...

Great review! And I love how fresh the idea is! YA legal thriller! Awesome!

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

My curiosity led me to accept the reviewrequest for this one and now I'm really glad I did. Thanks for the great review, Becky!

Nina said...

Is it weird that I only heard of John Grisham, because of CSI. Are they the same? I wouldn't know. I have to look that up. The book sounds really good, as we all know mystery is so not my favourite genre, but lately I do enjoy them. Great review!

Becky said...

Shweta, ah! I did not know you were a Grisham fan. The secret is out now. I know how hard is is to keep up with commenting so don't worry. I'm just pleased when you do get the chance to stop by. You always leave such lovely comments.

Kals, I'm glad you'r thinking of giving Theo a try. This book is so much fun.

Dazzling Mage, I agree it is really cool that Grisham has invented a whole new genre.

Sophie, you will not be disappointed!

Nina, ooh Grisham is the character right? I don't know if it is meant to be the same person. I think it must be. Too much of a coincidence otherwise. Thanks. I'm glad you liked my review.

Luisa at Chicklish said...

I'm really intrigued by this review, and I've been curious about John Grisham writing for teens, too. It sounds quite different from his adult books, judging by what you said about the characters. Thank you for this!

Cleverly Inked said...

I have never really gotten into his books. Though I have read a few

Christina/Book Addict said...

Great review, Becky. I have read a few Grisham. I still can't believe he is writing YA. I feel like everyone is now. However, this book sounds great; in fact, I know my students would love this one. I have a few students that pretend they are lawyers and help other students in various unpleasant situations. It's pretty funny. Thanks for the great review. Without a doubt, I will have to pick this one up for my classroom library.

prophecygirl said...

I enjoyed this one too! For about 3 chapters, I actually wanted to go to law school. lol!

I hope there will be more in this series :)

Great review!

I Want To Read That said...

OOh I was looking at this one at work today - looks good and on the basis of your review I think I'd really like it. But I have imposed a book ban on myself (no one at work is allowed to serve me until July!)

Will add it to my wishlist. Thanks for the great review (as always:))

Becky said...

Luisa, I have never read an adult book by Grisham. I always find it interesting when a big writer decides to move into a new area.

Cleverly Inked, you should give this a try from other peoples comments. This book doesn't sound like his adult books.

Christina, yay I'm sure your class will love it!

Jenny, I know what you mean. Theo makes law sound like so much fun and how great would it be to help so many people.

Sammee, ah the dreaded book ban. I totally sympathise. Definitely one for the wish list.

Caroline said...

Oh wow! I want to read that book soo much now!!
Amazing review!
For a second, the image of a child/teenager in the court room reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird, and how the court room and the complexity of adult things are seen through the innocent eyes of kids...
Probably I'm wrong, but I definitely want to check out this book, thanks for your review!!

Becky said...

Caroline, interesting thought which had not even crossed my mind. Theo is very different from To Kill A Mockingbird even in the sense of Theo being in the court room. He has already so much knowledge of trials etc that he sees it through very clinical eyes. I wonder how you will get on...

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great review. I can't say I've heard of this one before.

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

I just heard Grisham was going YA. I gave up on his adult stuff but I'll give this a try. Thanks for the review!