So why did I listen to it? Well, I’ve got five hours of tedious work everyday that is made better by the presence of audiobooks and podcasts. And I was out of podcasts. And audiobooks. And I knew that a friend had read and at least moderately liked this, so I figured it would be okay.
Well, I guess it had its okay moments. Let me think of them. … Um. …
Okay, let me take a different tack. Here’s why it should have been good: I adore Veronica Mars, which is about a high-schooler that kicks some butt in the private investigation department. Theodore Boone is about a middle-schooler who kicks some butt in the law department, and throughout the book I felt a distinct VM vibe from the story, with fellow students and even adults coming to Theodore with their problems and Theo solving them right quick.
But it turns out that the conceit doesn’t actually carry over very well. For starters, I’m pretty sure it’s not completely illegal to practice private investigation without a license, and even when it is, the nature of being a PI lends itself to a little rule-breaking. Theo Boone apparently thinks it is totally okay to practice law without a license as long as he doesn’t charge for it (very very wrong), and when he’s all hacking into computer systems and lying to school staff and whatnot I am like, “ARE YOU SURE IT IS A LAWYER YOU ARE TRYING TO BE.” I know lawyers are not all fine upstanding citizens, but the ones in Grisham’s novel here at least try to be, so all of this shenaniganizing kills me.
Other things I did not like: the central bit of the story is this big murder trial, and the prosecution has absolutely no case but everyone thinks the guy is guilty anyway but it doesn’t matter because reasonable doubt blah blah blah. And a convenient way for the guy to be convicted would be for a surprise witness to show up, like they do on TV. So when several characters informed me that a surprise witness NEVER happens because it is NOT ALLOWED… I figured there was going to be a surprise witness. And (spoiler!) there is, and he blurts his whole story to Theo (OF COURSE), and much of the book has Theo dithering about whether and how to get this dude into the trial.
And it’s just so… tiresome. I didn’t really care whether this guy’s testimony could or would be used, and I really didn’t care about the seventy million other legal troubles Theo helped in, but I was curious to see how it would all turn out and then the ending just does something else entirely!
On the plus side? It’s not Castle.
Recommendation: I think that if you are more willing than I am to suspend your disbelief and/or you are a precocious 7-year-old who thinks that law is pretty neat and wants to read books about kids and law, you will like this book.
(A to Z Challenge)