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Theodore Boone: The Activist by John Grisham

While John Grisham might be best known for his adult legal fiction, more recently, he has been successful in engaging a much younger readership. Theodore Boone: The Activist is the fourth book in Grisham’s Theodore Boone series for young readers, and proves to be another entertaining and informative book for “tween” adventure lovers.

The Activist centers around a proposed $200 million highway bypass, that will re-route the highway along the western side of Theodore’s (Theo’s) town. Before long, thirteen year old Theo and his friends start to feel the effects of the cut-backs being made to cover the costs: their music class canned and their teacher layed off. Then, Hardi Quinn, one of Theo’s schoolmates, seeks advice from him when his family’s farm is threatened in order to accommodate the bypass.

Theo starts to investigate and soon discovers that 11 other farms and an additional 50 homes will also be lost to the project. There are other concerns, too, like the dangers of the bypass’s proximity to a local elementary school, and the threat it poses to the town’s water supply. Theo, no stranger to legal matters, becomes an activist for a group of concerned citizens. Using his legal prowess, and the talents of his friends, Theo bravely goes up against the powers that be in an effort to stop the project in its tracks.

This is a wonderful book (and series of books) for young readers, aged 10 to 12 years, who enjoy a good adventure story. Theo is a smart and likeable hero, one who Grisham’s young (and older) readers will really connect with, and who already has an impressive legal career behind him. He bands together with his friends, and boldly stands up and fights for what he believes to be right. What I particularly enjoyed about young Theo is that, in spite of being intellectually and socially gifted, Theo is still just an ordinary teenager, with vulnerabilities and hormones, making him a truly believable character.

Packed full of lessons and information that’ll get readers thinking, Theodore Boone: The Activist is a fun and engaging story. Grisham has created a stand-up crusader in Theodore Boone, and I look forward to seeing what adventures he gets up to next.


Theodore Boone: The Activist, by John Grisham, is published by Hachette. RRP is $29.99.


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