225 of 242 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2010
I have worked in a middle school library for 19 years and I think this book would be a hard sell. There is not enough action and at times it felt like a lecture on law. The ending was flat. Grisham should read the competition for this age group. The late Robert Parker (Chasing The Bear, The Boxer and the Spy and The Edenville Owls)did a great job on his three titles for YA readers - great for reluctant male readers. Andy McNab - Traitor, Robert Muchamore - The Recruit, Anthony Horowitz - Gatekeepers Series, Jack Higgins - Surefire and David Gilman - Devil's Breath, know how to take the kids to an intensity in a storyline that rivals video games. Do some summer reading Mr. Grisham.
211 of 236 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2010
I was happy to learn that best-selling author John Grisham was entering the youth market with Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer, the first of a planned series. I read and enjoyed a few of his earlier books some years back and knew he was capable of telling a compelling story. Because I think children and young adults deserve great storytelling (how else will we instill a love of reading in them?), I was looking forward to Grisham's contribution.
Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations. Not only was it not great, it wasn't even particularly good.
Thirteen year old Theodore Boone wants to be a lawyer - or perhaps a judge - he hasn't quite decided yet. He loves to hang out at the courthouse and sit in on trials whenever he can. He knows most of the legal types about town - judges, clerks, bailiffs, etc. and they all know him by name. At school, classmates approach him with their troubles and he gives them legal advice. When one of those classmates takes Theo aside and tells him that his cousin may be an important witness to a murder currently being tried before Theo's friend, Judge Gantry, Theo finds himself involved.
It's a good premise. But Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer stumbles as soon as it steps up to the plate. For the first 60 pages of the 260 page novel, Theo plods from place to place having (mostly) meaningless and (mostly) uninteresting conversations with (mostly) unimportant-to-the-plot characters. It's an awkward beginning to what I had believed would be a legal thriller, kid style.
And while the pace did pick up a bit around that 60 page mark when we began to learn details of the murder, the expected thrills never materialized. Instead it was one conversation after another that moved the plot forward to the completely predictable (and vaguely unsatisfying) conclusion. Along the way, there was no mystery, very little action or suspense and almost no humor whatsoever to punch the story up and keep us turning the pages.
To top it off, I didn't find Theo a particularly engaging character. He's nice enough, but because he comes across as rather unrealistically perfect, it's tough to warm up to him. There were a number of instances as well where I felt his thoughts and observations of others held tones of condescension - not an attractive trait, especially in a young teen.
My rating is 2.5 stars. For me, Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer hovered someplace between "It was okay" and "I didn't like it". Normally I round up because I want to give the author the benefit of the doubt. But this is John Grisham, for pete's sake. He should have hit it out of the park. Instead, he bunted.
74 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2010
I bought this book for my 14-year-old as a summer reading book. I did read it first so I could know what he was talking about while giving me his daily chapter summery. I very much enjoyed it!
I wouldn't recommend it for a non-avid reader less than about 10 years old, though. It is very well written, but it is not childishly written, if you know what I mean. This is no Magic Treehouse book. I reads exactly like any other John Grisham novel, except is is clearly geared for middle school aged kids.
That being said, my 14-year old has already read the first 2 chapters and is getting sucked into it despite his every intention to hate any book that isn't a graphic novel.
71 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2011
I am very disappointed because my son enjoyed reading Theodore Boone, young Lawyer. I thought I would order more of the series. I just so happens there are four different Titles and four different covers for the same book we have discovered so far. WHY????? I have all four because I thought I was ordering different books so it cost me around $54. The titles are
Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer, Theodore Boone, Theodore Boone Young lawyer and Theodore Boone Half the Man Twice the Lawyer.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2010
Picked up this book in the bookshop, read a couple of pages, and was engaged. Being a new release it still full price, but I really wanted to read on so, seeing as it was a Grisham novel, I assumed it would be money well spent (was sadly mistaken)! The book started off well and continued to build (if somewhat slowly) to a point where the main character (a child) needs to involve older & wiser members of his family. From this point on the story becomes pretty ordinary and everyday - I'd even say boring. There was a menacing character who lurked around the edges of the story, but he never really became anyone of consequence. As I read the final page I actually thought that I must have bought an unfinished copy of the book! "It must be a mis-print", I thought. But no, It was not! I got on the web to check how many chapters were supposed to be in the book only to find lots of other readers were also left bewildered and dis-satisfied by the sudden end. Can't believe I paid full price. Bummer! Will make sure I only buy cheap 2nd hand Grishams from now on!
69 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2010
Disappointing... on several levels...
When I first heard Grisham was doing a YA novel, I thought here's a chance to have a riveting crime fiction tale from one of the best in the page-turner business...
Here's what I found:
1. 100 pages to get to any riveting drama... he's lost 98% of my students by then... it does get interesting for about 80-100 pages with a lot of promise but fizzle...
2. Dated characters... Theodore reads like a Encyclopedia Brown impersonation... since when do 13 year olds not date... the two female characters are very brief walkon stereotypes... the witness ditto...
3. After finally getting to the meat of the story, nothing happens... the ending is beyond anticlimactic, offers no real resolution and clearly just setting up a sequel... there is no danger... there is barely the tiniest hint of danger... the book just ends...
So will I be purchasing this book for our media center? No. Disappointed.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I had never read a John Grisham novel before THEODORE BOONE: KID LAWYER. But, since it seemed like everyone I knew had read at least one of his books and enjoyed it, I thought I would give his first young adult novel a chance. I wish I hadn't done it. I tried to enjoy the book, I really did, but in the end, Grisham really just let me down.
On the jacket, the story sounded great. Amazing even: a huge murder trial. And it seems as though the only person who knows the truth is Theodore Boone, a local kid who dreams of being a lawyer someday. But today just might be his lucky day because he has to show Honorable Judge Gantry that he does know who really murdered that lady. But there's something holding him back -- there are people who would love to see Theo silenced. Forever.
** SPOILER WARNING -- (not that there's much to be spoiled) **
Based on what seemed like it could be good, I dived in. And I kept waiting for something to happen. Anything even. And it wasn't even until page 109 when Theo actually becomes involved in the plot. It turns out that an acquaintance of Theo's has a cousin who was at the golf course when the murder took place in the up-scale Waverly Creek neighborhood. And this cousin saw the murder go down. Only problem is that said cousin happens to be an illegal immigrant, and if he goes to the police with the truth, he might be deported. Theo soon becomes obsessed over whether to say anything about these facts to anyone. And it soon goes beyond overboard with his worry. There is never any physical danger to Theo, or this cousin, and by the time the book starts to wrap up, still nothing significant has really happened. The idea of an illegal immigrant knowing important information but unable to give it is definitely a good one, but it had virtually no direct bearing on Theo's life. There just wasn't enough of a threat hanging over Theo to hang an entire plot around.
Even with the ominous and ever-present villain, Omar Cheepe -- a hired man who does dirty work for the nightlife of the city -- nothing happens. There is plenty of foreshadowing that something might happen -- that Theo might get hurt -- that this cousin might be found out -- but nothing ever does happen. It almost felt like I spent the whole novel waiting and waiting, and by the time I reached the end, I couldn't wait to be done.
** END SPOILER WARNING **
One other thing that really bothered me about the whole book were the characters themselves. It seemed like everyone had been cut out from cardboard -- Theo was a goody-two shoes kid, who never did anything wrong. Mr. Mount was the typical mentor / teacher to Theo, who for some reason called all of the boys in his class, "Men." The parents felt like they were barely there and barely involved at all, and of course there was the estranged Uncle Ike, gruff and off-putting at first, but willing to help later on. I never really felt like I connected with anybody, and to be honest, Theo never experienced any sort of character development. He's pretty much the same kid we meet at the beginning and the same kid who exits the book.
The writing was not bad itself. Grisham definitely knows how to turn out good sentences and paragraphs and even describe the judicial system without being boring at all. But at times, I felt like I could have had more fun reading a text book on law written by Grisham instead of this poorly conceived young adult novel. I was half-curious if Grisham has been reading anything current in the young adult / children's market. Because he sounds highly out of touch with this generation and the way they interact and think.
All said, I'm not ready to dismiss Grisham as an author. I would love to read one of his novels that has a good plot twist and well-thought out characters. But THEODORE BOONE: KID LAWYER is definitely not and never will be that novel.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2010
I don't get it. Really, I don't. There's no action, nothing particularly interesting happens, there are strange diversions into Animal Court and for some reason, Grisham thinks 13 year old boys wouldn't admit to having girlfriends.
Also, this kid watches Perry Mason nightly and can explain the complexities of bankruptcy law, but randomly doesn't know what being held in contempt of court might mean.
The story is riddled with inconsistencies that you wouldn't notice if the story wasn't plodding on at a snail's pace with telling where you should be showing and showing what could've been told--including several repeated conversations where the same thing is explained over and over again.
It was such an interesting premise. A kid lawyer and Grisham set up some other boys in the class (oh, btw, this school isn't coed--girls and boys go to the same school but do not attend the same classes. What? Why? There's no valid plot reason for this. Grisham should've considered another century to set this story in) as being inventive and having their own talents that would've made a great kid gang, but alas. We are left with Theodore, legal sue.
This book is depressingly bad. If you want kids to stop reading, this is the book to help them along that path.
24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2010
If ever there was a blatant setup for a sequel, this was it. It is only half a book! Grisham has sacrificed many of the basic tenets of novel composition by leaving a substantial number of the issues literally hanging.
A cheap and chintzy device if ever there was one.
I'm betting that the entire novel is already written, and that the money-grubbing publisher enjoined a willing editor to direct Grisham to find a separation point that was not too obvious.
Well, it was obvious to me, and I will certainly not be buying the inevitable sequel on principle.
If on the off-chance I am mistaken and this really was the completed story, then shame on Grisham for not doing a thorough job!
Shoddy doings either way.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2010
Finally John Grisham writes a book for kids. And he does a great job with it! Storyline about a kid named Theodore wanting to be a lawyer and then getting the opportunity to do so. The story moves quickly. There were a few points in the story where I thought the language and content may not have been appropriate but overall it was well written and engaging.