London, Hodder, 2011, 263p
John Grisham writes teenage fiction! Who knew?!
Though I have to admit, I have never read any of Grisham's adult fiction.
But I loved Theodore Boone. He is a young wannabe lawyer, who gets caught up in the biggest criminal prosecution case that has ever come to his home town. It is the murder of Mrs Duffy, and her husband is the prime suspect. A few days into the trial, new evidence finds its way to Theo - he promises to protect his source, but does not know how to get his evidence noticed without breaking his promise.
Theo is well known throughout the Strattenburg courts. Both his parents are lawyers - his father in real estate and his mother in divorce - and he is friends with bailiffs, cops and judges. Whilst in eight grade, he hands out free legal advice to his classmates and teachers, and helps his Government teacher with his lesson planning.
The murder case is the talk of the town, and Theo manages to get his class front row seats. He keeps abreast of all that is happening through his connections and seems to know more about law than the lawyers. Theo is the perfect protagonist - intelligent, moral, and pretty popular, having helped almost everyone he knows with one thing or another.
I do not want to spoil the ending, so cannot give much away, but there are a lot of loose ends at the end of this novel. I know there are more novels in this series, but with so many unanswered questions, I feel this book does not stand alone very well.
Also, I would like to have seen more of April, Theo's closest friend (but not his girlfriend, Grisham is cautious to distinguish). Perhaps she will appear more in the next novel.
I would definitely recommend Theodore Boone. Although it is American, and therefore some of the legal terminology does not apply in the UK, I found everything to be explained clearly. Theo is an smart kid, and he avoids legal jargon for his young clients and readers. But most significantly, I really liked Theo. He wasn't too clever or too moral; he was normal. He felt real.