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3.5 out of 5 stars
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3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 8 April 2013
I found this book hard to put down. John Grisham's characters are well written. Theodore Boone, the 13 year old son of two lawyers is just an ordinary kid, but he has a dream one minute to be the best lawyer in the USA then he wants to be a well respected judge.
The town is buzzing with a murder trial, the accused suspect is a local business man. Theodore is his class courtroom reporter. He also finds a witness who can put the accused at the crime scene when the murder was committed and a pair of discarded golf gloves that the prosecution, defence and police do not know about. With the help of his ex-lawyer uncle and his parents, there is a problem owing to the his witness is an illegal immigrant, Theodore goes to the trial judge. Yes, the trial judge is a family friend. Theodore is a regular visitor to his chambers. Theodore has his own "legal practice" in the Animal Court.
John Grisham has laid the ground for the next Theodore Boone novel, but due to his filling in the family background and revisiting Theodore's past exploits, the books can be read out of sequence.
I've pre-ordered the next Theodore Boone novel>
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on 13 August 2012
John Grisham's first children's book is the story of the thirteen-year-old son of two lawyers, who is desperate to be one himself, and finds himself mixed up in the biggest court case the town has ever seen.

I found the book to be aimed at a younger audience than I had expected - probably about right for an eight-year-old reader - and the narration felt a little patronising in places, particularly near the beginning. There's a lot of exposition and the tale is fairly dry for a children's novel.

The character of Theo is difficult to sympathise with - he's a genius who everyone loves and who seems to help everyone - he's just too good to be true. As such he comes over as a bit of an annoying swot in places and I'm not sure he's a character many children would identify with.

The story picks up a bit towards the end but ultimately I found it quite weak and think there's a lot better entertainment for young readers to be had elsewhere. I'm intrigued to find out if Grisham's writing is refined in the sequel, but having read many of his adult novels I don't hold out a lot of hope.
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on 2 July 2017
After getting this on a wim I have purchased the rest can't put down
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on 24 January 2015
Theodore Boone stories are super.
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on 7 June 2010
Reviewers so far seem to have been disappointed. I always await Grisham's with joy, and read them as soon as I get hold of them. This was no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the different style. Perhaps I should point out that I enjoy literature for younger people, which perhaps explains why I loved it and others here didn't... But then I wouldn't say it was only for the younger audience anyway. I thought it was nicely written, there seem to be things that haven't really been rounded off, but then, I read somewhere that this might be the start of a series ... which would make rounding everything off pointless. I certainly wouldn't level the same criticisms at it as others reviewing here.
Anyway, a quick read, I enjoyed it immensely, and look forward to the next book (whether or not it's a follow-up to this one!)
**Perhaps I should add, the back cover of the book says something along the lines of 'Grisham for a new generation of readers', which maybe explains the intended-audience shift... **
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My second time reading this, I needed to revise its content for our library's junior book club.

I enjoyed it just as much the second time, as did my group of 8-9 year olds.

It's not every adult writer that can take his preferred genre and fit it to a young audience, but Grisham makes the courtroom story fit well into a book for 9-12 year olds.

Theo Boone wants to be a lawyer when he's older, like his mum and dad. And in fact, he's often sought out by classmates to help sort out problems that can only be solved by someone with a good knowledge of the law. He manages to find his Government class seats to watch a high-profile murder trial (rare in his little town). Everyone is sure the accused is guilty, but there seems to be no proof. Theo of course manages to get himself tangled up in it when an unknown witness comes forward that says he can prove the defendant's guilt.

My group of kids loved this. I admire Grisham's way of introducing young readers to the practices and language of the courts, making the structure clear, and integrating it well into the story (though making Theo a bit of a smart-arse at times as he tells his fellow students what is what). It's Law 101 for pre-teens, and a gripping murder story into the bargain.

Theo is surrounded by a cast that look set to grow through the series (I haven't read any further that this one) - mother and father lawyers, uncle a former lawyer and confidante, a grumpy but kind judge, a best friend whose role here is small but obviously set to increase.

This is an easy read and with lots of speech and explanation, as well as action, worked well for both the boys and girls in my group.

A refreshing series for children, looking at a fairly adult topic but in an accessible way.
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on 2 January 2012
Firstly, this book is written for younger readers. It is not written for adults. That being said, there is no reason why adults should not read and enjoy it. Kathy Reichs and Harlan Coben are also, similarly, creating series aimed at younger readers.

Theodore Boone is the thirteen year old son of two lawyers. He spends much of his time in the courthouse and around lawyers. He is old for his years and very well versed in the law.

Without giving away too much of the plot, Theodore winds up involved in a trial. He is trying to keep promises and do what is right. Also, he attends school and helps out his fellow classmates with their everyday, adolescent problems - but by giving them legal advice.

The book does not have a twist or a surprise, rather, it is a straightforward, realistic tale that will help kids understand the law. It is extremely well written - simple yet sophisticated. Readers, providing they give it a chance, will find themselves drawn into the world of this intelligent young protagonist. He knows the difference between right and wrong. He tries to help others. He gets frustrated that grown-ups are in control of his life. Aside from his extraordinary preoccupation with the law, he is an ordinary teenage boy facing ordinary teenage problems but looking at them from a different perspective.

The only slight problem with the main character is that he is a little more like the teenager parents wish they were raising rather than the one they actually are. He borders a bit upon the too-good-to-be-true. This may make him, for now, a little difficult for others to identify with. But, characters leading ordinary lives and having ordinary hgoughts and ordinary problems would not be very interesting to read about. What makes Theodore stand out is that he is different. And he does, in the end, make a difference in the world of grown-ups. I'm positive that, given time, Grisham will develop his character throughout subsequent installments of the series.

The story is not packed with action. But do not look on this as a bad thing. He goes to school. He has a crush on a girl. He gets caught up in incidents that are outwith his control. This is how kids' lives are. Often books for teenagers are too full of action - designed like a 45min TV episode. This story provides a moral dilemma, invites readers to think about what they would do in a similar situation, and has a realistic conclusion. Lack of explosions and car chases are NOT a bad thing! It plods along at a nice pace. Much like life really is. It is not dull. It is simply a more dignified approach to storytelling.

Reviews indicate that the next book in the series is more exciting. Therefore, I look upon this one as an opening to a series. It introduces the character. It inroduces readers to the law as it really is, not how it is portrayed on TV. Finally, it is a story based on ethics and grown-up situations, as they apply to kids. And it has a good kid making a difference.

Give the series a chance. I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I knew it was written for young adults. I knew that it was a gentle plot, not overly graphic, or ridiculously fast paced with unrealistic scenarios and twists throwing the reader off at every turn. I will be purchasing the sequel.
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Before Theodore Boone, I hadn't read a single book by John Grisham. Not one. I'm thinking I probably should have done, because his tales of courts and laws are pretty fascinating. I'm not saying Theodore Boone is the best book I've ever read, but it was certainly different, and very, very interesting.

I don't know an awful lot about lawyers and their work, basically just what I learnt from watching 5 seasons of Ally McBeal. Thanks to Mr. Grisham, I now know more about the inside of a courtroom, as well as more about the US justice system and how everything works. I must say, I'm intrigued, but I won't be running out to pick up a gavel anytime soon.

What I loved about this book was 13-year-old aspiring lawyer Theo, and his passion for the job. He knew everything concerning the law, and even helped out his school friends in his spare time. The murder mystery element also kept me flipping the pages and, though it wasn't properly resolved, I got a good idea of how the future of the case would play out.

My main quibble with Theodore Boone was the decision to use a third person narrative. As a reader, I don't gel well with this style, and did find it quite hard to get into in this instance. I much prefer reading a character's thoughts and feelings from their own voice, rather than being told what they're experiencing through someone else's eyes. I'm in no way criticising the author's ability to write like this, because he does do it very well. It's just a personal narrative preference.

Overall, Theodore Boone is an unusual addition to YA lit, with an appealing plot of mystery and murder. I hope there are more books featuring Theo in the works, as I'd definitely like to read more fiction for teens by this author.

3.5/5
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on 9 October 2010
I am 10 years old and I thought this book was great. I liked the plot and the basic storyline-it is definetely aimed at a younger audience. It gives you a realistic mental image of the courtroom and all that happens in it. I would recommend this book to anyone aged between 9 and 16 years old.

Bethany-aged 10.
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on 20 July 2016
Just read this without realising it was intended for younger readers - no wonder the plot was so simplistic. I read it quickly as it's the usual page turner, but I kept expecting more. There were also characters who did things that were unexplained and went nowhere within the plot. Lots of loose ends - maybe they are pursued in the later novels, but I won't be reading them to find out!
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