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by John Grisham
Hodder & Stoughton, May 2013
304 pages
12.99 GBP
ISBN: 1444728938

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Theodore Boone is only 13-years-old, but already he knows more about the law than many adults and he even has his own office tucked away in his parents' law firm. So it's hardly surprising that Theo's the one who finds himself on the receiving end of his friends' problems. This time it's Hardie Quinn who wants the benefit of Theo's advice. The farm that's been in his family for generations is about to be bulldozed to make way for a controversial bypass. Theo has to research the law of eminent domain, the equivalent of powers of compulsory purchase in the UK, and explain to a disbelieving and shocked Hardie that yes, his family could very definitely lose their home.

Theo's father, real estate specialist Woods Boone, doesn't want his son to get mixed up in the fight over the bypass. It's going to get political as well as personal, and he thinks it's no place for someone as young as Theo, but when Judge, Theo's dog, is brutally attacked by some men in a surveying team working on the Quinn family land, the fight suddenly becomes very personal indeed, and there's no way Theo is staying out of it.

John Grisham's Theodore Boone is a far cry from the brutal world of young adult fiction portrayed in books like THE HUNGER GAMES, but Theo's world holds the more gentle appeal of that of protagonists like Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. Grisham is developing a lighter touch with the legal exposition that has bogged down the earlier books, and Theo himself is developing more of a character as he struggles here with some difficult moral decisions. He's also forced on a couple of occasions to confront the sometimes unpalatable truths about his own actions, so he's certainly not purer than pure any more.

This is not a series that has much in the way of action, but it does achieve some measure of dramatic tension, especially as Theo's beloved dog fights for his life. And as seems to be the case so often these days, THEODORE BOONE: THE ACTIVIST is likely to appeal to some adults as well as to younger teenagers.

Linda Wilson is a writer, and retired solicitor, with an interest in archaeology and cave art, who now divides her time between England and France.

Reviewed by Linda Wilson, July 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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