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Theodore Boone: The Abduction



More mature themes in second entry of popular series.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Theo’s skills as a boy-sleuth shine in this book. He searches for his missing friend using deduction, logic, and even Facebook. 

Positive messages

There is a strong message about community and the importance of working together to save someone. Theo once again illustrates doing what's right, and April's parents ultimately learn to put the needs of their daughter before their own.

Positive role models

The entire middle school pulls together to help find a missing classmate. Though Theo is not always completely truthful when talking to the police and blatantly lies to his parents, he works hard to save his friend, and readers will admire his heart as well as his brain.


There is no overt violence, but readers' imaginations might fill in the blanks when imagining about what could have happened to the abducted girl. A body is found drowned in a local lake, and some presume it's the missing girl, murdered by her cousin.


Not applicable
Not applicable

Facebook is mentioned and used to locate the abducted teen.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

April’s mother takes pills to check out of her life. Teens are at a college fraternity party where there are lots of cans of beer and smoking. Theo's mother, a successful lawyer, is often portrayed drinking coffee to lose weight. Uncle Ike uses coffee to keep himself awake while driving at night.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this novel is more mature than the first book as it deals with a disturbing issue that's more immediate to a teen audience: a missing 13-year-old who may be dead. There are other mature aspects as well, including the discovery of a dead body, an escaped convict who wants to trade information for leniency, dysfunctional, divorcing parents, and teens at a college fraternity party. Theo is not always completely truthful when talking to the police and blatantly lies to his parents, but ultimately he is a heroic character who uses his skills to save his friend. 

Parents say

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What's the story?

Theo’s best friend, 13-year-old April, is missing from her home. Using clues at the scene of the crime, the police determine she hasn’t run away but has been abducted by someone she knows. When April’s distant cousin, who has just escaped from prison, claims to know her whereabouts, the police follow his lead. But Theodore Boone is not so sure. He decides to rely on his sleuthing skill -- and technological know-how -- to find his missing friend.

Is it any good?


Like the first book in the popular series, this novel has a page-turning plot and introduces both complex legal and social issues in a way middle-schoolers can absorb. Indeed, teen fans of the first book might find this book more relevant as it deals with themes such as self-absorbed parents, unhappy homelife, and kids dealing with feelings of abandonment. Though Theo often bends (and even breaks) rules, he is always trying to do the right thing, and readers will admire his heart as well as his brain. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about popular mystery series. How does Theo compare to other detective kids, such as Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, or the Hardy Boys? How has the author updated his protagonist?

  • Theo is not always completely truthful when talking to the police and lies to his parents. Is it ever OK to lie? What would you do if you promised a friend you would keep her secret?

Book details

Author:John Grisham
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Dutton Children's Books
Publication date:June 6, 2011
Number of pages:217
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

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Teen, 13 years old Written bymovielover7271 February 18, 2013

great John Grisham book

This is th second installment to the Theodore Boone series. When his best friend april is believed to be abucted, Theo arranges many search parties and cops. Fun and riveting story with some creepy descriptions of dead bodies and also a suprising ending. I reccomend it.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written bybookee July 14, 2011

If you liked theodore boone: kid lawyer, you will surely love this :))

I can say that this is really a good book but i was disappointed or shall I say "unsatisfied" with the story:))
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old August 14, 2013


This is a great book, but some younger kids may not understand what is going on. Many kids wont know what "abduction" means and may get scared. Overall it is a great book for older kids


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