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Theodore Boone: The Accused
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Theodore Boone: The Accused is the third novel in the series by John Grisham and addresses issues that affect tweens and teens: computer hacking, divorce, bullying, and Internet safety. Theodore doesn't always seek help from his parents when he's in trouble, and he lets his uncle talk him into doing some questionable investigating. The dilemmas he faces are appropriate for tweens and teens but not for younger kids, who might not get the nuances when Theodore faces issues that don't have clear right or wrong answers. Although most adults are portrayed as helpful, the detectives who investigate Theodore aren't. There's not much violence, but Theodore is involved in a fight at school, and a client brings a gun into a law office and threatens his estranged wife.
What's the story?
Theodore Boone is accused of theft and is the No. 1 suspect of the Strattenburg police. To make matters worse, someone is slashing his bike tires and messing with his locker. With his comfortable life turned upside down, Theodore is forced to take matters into his own hands. He turns to his black-sheep Uncle Ike, who comes up with a possibly unethical plan to prove Theodore's innocence. This is the third book in the Theodore Boone series, following Kid Lawyer and The Abduction.
Is it any good?
This plot-driven legal thriller will keep readers guessing until the end. Continuing the Theodore Boone tradition, author John Grisham weaves lessons on the law into a page turner. Theodore becomes much more real in this third novel because he's at the center of the plot -- victimized, with his reputation on the line, and forced to make some hard decisions. His knowledge of the law still helps him, but he must also rely on friends.
Grisham makes the law easy to understand by applying it to issues that tweens and teens can relate to: divorce, cyber-security, and privacy at school. These thought-provoking issues give readers something to ponder, and Grisham doesn't give any easy answers. Although the topics are heavy, Grisham's fast-pasted style keeps readers engaged.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Theodore Boone: The Accused compares with the first two books in the Theodore Boone series. Is it as good? Better? Less compelling?
Does trying to prove his innocence justify Theodore's hacking into confidential legal files? Is hacking into someone's computer the same as looking at papers on their desk?
What do you think about Theodore's principal having the right to look in student lockers and backpacks? Do you think students should have the right to privacy at school? Why aren't students entitled to the same privacy rights as adults?
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