This is the second instalment in the story of Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, YA novels written by John Grisham in his adventurous legal thriller style. You can see my earlier post on the first in the series. (Just click on Young Adult in the Genre Categories sidebar on the right).
Theo’s good friend April goes missing under mysterious circumstances. She is believed to be in danger and Theo wastes no time using his legal knowledge, investigative skills, and family connections to solve the case. Though this series is rated for 9 – 14 year olds, Grisham provides an intelligent read which I enjoyed thoroughly. Grisham’s gift for adventure and humour are as evident in this read, as in any of his adult legal thrillers. His writing is clean and straightforward. And there is a third in the series which has just come out.’ Theodore Boone: The Accused’.
Taking a Walk on the YA Side
Why is it that so many adults these days are reading and enjoying YA novels? Series like ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Harry Potter’, and books like ‘The Book Thief’ and ‘The Thief Lord’ are examples of YA books that are written in an approachable style, are fast paced, and have intriguing story lines. I don’t believe it is a “dumbing down” of reading choices for adults, since the successful cross over ones are usually good literature, with the exception of things like the Twilight series. The best cross over books address tough subjects without talking down to kids.
The young adult genre is a strange one and I don’t think all YA books fall into the ‘crossover to adults’ category. Some YA authors write juvenile type books for teens, which are flat and cliché and far too uninteresting. Others go to the opposite extreme of including as much bad language and high risk behaviour as possible, since they think this is what teens want to read. So it is important to keep an eye on the genre and know what your teens are reading. Perhaps that is how it happened…parents were checking what their children were reading and got hooked! Or perhaps they are enjoying the nostalgia of reading ‘coming-of-age’ stories! David Leviathan, editor at Scholastic says, “Issues of identity and belonging and finding your way in the world are new when you’re a teen, but they never actually go away.”
It is exciting that the best of YA can stand up to anything for adults. Perhaps authors who write for children are more conscious of how they craft a novel to engage the reader quickly and capture the imagination well. I compare it to a high school principal who likes to hire elementary school teachers, because not only do they know their subject, they also know how to teach.