a review by Steve Cameron
Hodder & Stoughton
Theodore Boone is a young teenager. The smart, witty son of a couple of lawyers who would rather hang around the courtrooms than go to school. He’s on first name terms with not only the judges, but half the legal fraternity in town.
His best friend, April, disappears from her bedroom in the middle of the night and no-one knows what’s happened to her.
Theo decides to utilise his legal knowledge and connections to investigate the missing person. He mobilises his friends and relatives, and before long is on her trail.
Or is he wrong, and the police right?
I started reading John Grisham back in the early 90s when The Firm was released. I read the first half dozen of his books, and enjoyed them, but ultimately found them a little too formulaic for my liking. And now Grisham has turned his hand to young adult fiction. (Apparently he joked that he needed to claw back his number one position from Harry Potter)
As a school teacher, I’m always looking for the type of book that teenagers, particularly reluctant boy readers, will enjoy. I spoke to my librarian about the first book (this is number two in an ongoing series) and she told me that it had appealed to a small number of boys who weren’t interested in reading the regular action books typical of that demographic.
From an adult’s point of view, I found the characters to be slightly lacklustre and underdeveloped, the mystery to not be a mystery at all, and pages of irrelevance and non-sequitur stories. He even goes and becomes involved in another case for a few pages simply to prove that he is capable as a lawyer.
While this book may appeal to certain demographics, I don’t believe it’s a major move forward in the world of YA publishing.
Originally published in Dark Matter issue 6, November 2011. This blog has been pre-dated to reflect the date of original publication.