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18 August 2010


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I'm guessing that John Grisham hasn't been around a 13yo boy in say, the last 30 years?

I'm impressed that you managed to finish this. How many times did you throw it at the wall? ;)


Thank you for taking one for the team, Leila, so I don't have to. I really don't like when authors don't take the time to research anything they are putting in their work. I read a book not too long ago where the main character was trying to get a horse to pull a Lassie and lead him to where his owner had been taken and I couldn't help but think the kid was going to be at it a long time.

Maureen E

I don't know what eighth graders John Grisham has been hanging around, but they clearly aren't from this planet.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure my eighth-grade brother (AUGH! When did this happen?) has had a girlfriend for, like, a year.



Icky. And why oh why must it be set in what sounds like an all boys school - would the girls contaminate the boys smarts or something?


Jodie: I meant to mention that it's co-ed school, but with the sexes in separate classes. Ahem. From page 16: "During classes, they were "gender-separated," according to a new policy adopted by the smart people in charge of educating all the children in town."

God, this book was annoying.


I'm thinking he (or his agent or his pub or all them) just saw this as an easy way to make money/gain more acclaim. Every excerpt you have here shows sloppiness and that description of the classroom is crazy. As to the dating - I'm 41 and there were kids dating in my SIXTH grade class. (We called it "going out" back then even though no one went anywhere other than the movies with their parents driving.) By the 8th grade half the school was holding hands between classes. So Grisham can't blame it on his age - it's just sloppy, plain and simple.

I would have expected better from him and I certainly hope he doesn't get Edgars appreciation, etc. for this just because of who he is.


Well, the mystery aspect is crap, so he'd better as crap not get an Edgar nod for this one.

And that's all I trust myself to say at the moment, as I'm working on my third beer, and the entire Roy family is rather lightweighted.


I so do not understand how a 13 year old who is obsessed with law is not a nerd, let alone a kid with the highest IQ who made perfect grades. What exactly defines a nerd in Mr. Grisham's world? Also, that paragraph about the types in the class sounded like a logic problem. I fully expected the next paragraph to be about how many apples they each had in comparison to the others.

Monica Edinger

Yesssssssss!!! Now go read my review and Vicky Smith's Kirkus one --- a special full online one. They will affirm (not that you need it:) your feelings about this... this...thing.


Blerg. As I avoid the reviews until I read the book, I am SO glad that I was not alone in disliking this one.


OMG. I couldn't love this anymore. Thank you. You'll be happy to know parents and grandparents have not been buying this book. I've only had two customers ask about it. Both times I quickly shook my head no and showed them another book.

I love when bad adult author ( writing it for the easy money) crossover books tank.


Theo's a robot. he has no hormones.
The thing that annoyed me the most was where, near the end, the "bad guy" working for the alleged murderer is shadowing Theo, wondering what he's doing..... and then nothing ever happens. Nothing. Here's the perfect build up for at least a chase scene. And it doesn't happen. The threatening tough guy just kind of goes away. Lame.


Not that I was in danger of picking this up, but... the excerpts you posted were positively nauseating. And the oldest THREE of my nephews (the oldest being 14) have been getting girlfriends for 3-4 years now.


As a middle school teacher, I can guarantee you that the vast majority of a middle schooler's day is spent thinking about boyfriends/girlfriends. I just hope to break through those hormones once in a while to teach them about the wonderful world of grammar.

Loretta Ross

Chrissy, I thought the same thing about the logic problem! Gah! This book sounds horrible!


Also, I haven't read the book so I'm just using your quotes, but are there no girls in his class? Or do they just not do anything interesting enough to get a mention in the "bright" class list?


I am suspicious that the girls are off secretly learning how to sew and getting etiquette lessons now, then at the end being fed five real facts to quote if anyone asks them. But maybe that's just my conspiracy brain.

I so glad you read this book so I don't have to (and usually I probably would anyway just to see how annoying it was, but this one I think I'll AVOID) :)


Oh, Leila! Darling! You threw yourself on yet another grenade for me!!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Now, we'll go scrape up your guts and maybe mail them to this condescending, sneering MORON of a writer...


"Hallie was distraught, in tears, and Theo couldn't help but notice how cute she was even when she was crying. It was a big moment for Theo."
Nice compassion there from Theo! So glad to see yet another female character whose importance hinges on how she makes the male character ~feel~.


Danielle: Ha ha ha ha ha! Wow. I was so busy being frustrated with my issues with the WRITING that that didn't even occur to me -- and you are, of course, totally right! That's just... terrible.


Excellent job, Leila. Not that I was planning to read this . . . but your review is hilarious and wonderful!

reader and writer

QUOTE: "...I dogeared almost EVERY SINGLE PAGE as an Annoyance Remembrance Aid..."

Annoyance Rememberance Aid? OMG, you crack me up.

Is it wrong to say I'm sort of glad it sucks? Sure, MG boys need more books, but why do "famous" adult book authors get paid huge advances for mediocre work? Surely there are authors reading your post right now who really understand that demographic and know how to write for it, but can't get an agent let alone published. It makes me sad.

Kate Coombs

I'm sure it will add to the joy when I point out that I read a quote from the author in which he said he wrote this book because he wanted to beat J.K. Rowling's sales figures. He seemed offended that a mere children's book author had sold so many books.

Of course, I had the same reaction to Theodore Boone that you did--loved your examples! (I reviewed it not long ago and made a list of failings, too.) Don't forget the way the plot didn't actually resolve. Though the cliffhanger ending was more like stepping off a curb, stumbling a bit, and feeling irritated about it.

Kimberly (lectitans)

Seriously - are there even any Perry Mason episodes in syndication now? I mean, back in 1985, it seemed like a big deal when I was excluded from the Perry Parties my parents had (now THERE are a couple of nerds for you!), but I can't imagine 13 year olds now have even HEARD of Perry Mason. The parents of most 13 year olds were likely teenagers when the made-for-TV movies were out. MY parents were kids when the original TV series was on. And I'm 29.

I wasn't actually at risk of reading this, but I'm still so happy to have your review. For its sheer entertainment value, if nothing else.

Alex Womack

So I'm skimming through blogs about the only sad excuse for a John Grisham I could find at my highschool library and I found this. Amazingly I agree with every word on this page right from the confusing character analysis to the overall misleading feeling of "Yay, another Grisham book I haven't read!". Props to you for exposing this book online to possibly save this horrible economy we live in from getting any worse. And I'm 16.


wat i dont lik about this is tht john never said who april was goin' with was it the mom or dad??? if i were her i would want to stay with theo for how nice a friend he is to her......


I am so glad I have found someone who hates this as much as I do!


I had to read this book for an english class and it was SOOOOO dissatisfying. I would rather try to deal with keeping track of characters and intertwining plots than read this junk again. I enjoy Grisham's other books, but writing a book for money? PATHETIC

I'm 14 by the way


That was good! I mean I really enjoyed reading your review. Why should Grisham want to do that? We loved his earlier legal thrillers and he already has his niche readers! Why did he want to compete with Rowling? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/7819397/John-Grisham-Im-going-to-catch-Harry-Potter-one-way-or-another.html
Stick to your adult fiction Mr Grisham!

Fart bung

First of all, This book is amazing. Don't listen to this bullshit that this chick is telling you. Go read it for yourself. I am 24 years old and my little brother that is 13 says that it is an amazing book also. I've read almost all of john grishams books and they are amazing too. So get of the computer fat asses and read!

Big al

I agree with Fart Bung the book is amazing. None of the complaints are legitament. In the eighth grade you go through "puberty" and begin to like girls even if you dont want to like them. Were you in eighth grade if so not in the 21th century. Youre what 42 and your reading a book towards 10-14 year olds. Go read 50 shades of grey.


Wow. Heteronormative much?

Sandra Havriluk

Just read this book and wanted to scream at the top of my lungs at HOW BAD IT IS. yikes. No way it would get out of a slush pile without famous name attached to it. Makes me want to barf. And the sloppy narration with the Point of View rambling all over the place and all the telling instead of showing and the way it uses stereotypes all over the place... I could go on and on and on just like he has by sequels to this. argh! And Perry Mason and Barney Fife allusions would just not fly with anyone in the target audience!


Omg I love this book series!! Ever hears of keeping rude comments to yourself?!! Well bet you didn't cause you are just being down right RUDE!!

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