I enjoyed John Grisham's first foray into juvenile fiction better than his recent adult novels. His knack for storytelling never gets old and translated well for a younger audience.
Theodore Boone is the thirteen year old son of two lawyers. He spends his afternoons at their law office doing his homework and helping students with occasional legal troubles. He is good friends with many of the cops, lawyers, judges and secretaries in town. When the trial of the century takes place, Theo is chomping at the bit for a front row seat. During the trial, a fellow student comes to him with information that could change the outcome of the verdict. Theo must figure out how to help without risking breaking a promise and without messing up the whole trial.
I enjoyed reading this novel and whipped right through it. I only have two complaints. One is very minor. Grisham tended to overexplain things with regard to the courtroom and he defined random words here and there. But, I realize many kids reading this book would not have knowledge of how a courtroom works so these explanations are necessary. It was just a little much for me as an adult reading the story.
My second gripe is that I felt like the book just sort of ended. I wanted a bit more closure. Not sure if Grisham's enthusiasm for writing the book just fizzled out, but I didn't feel like the ending was very polished. There was one man creeping around (Omar Cheepe), and maybe I was reading too fast and missed the background on this guy, but I didn't feel like I fully understood what this character was up to. He was following Theo around but I couldn't figure out why or how he was related to the defendant in the trial. I guess I sort of wanted an epilogue what would neatly tie it all together.
All that being said, I definitely recommend this to any young reader out there looking for a good mystery or interested in how a trial is run. I think this is a great book for children who may read above their level. Content-wise this is very appropriate for younger readers. No real violence, no bad language. Just good storytelling.
Source disclosure: I received this from the Penguin Group as part of their summer promotional package.