Mystery, YA Fiction
Hodder & Stoughton
June 7, 2011
The story starts off with Theodore, the main character finding out that his best friend April Finnemore has been kidnapped in the middle of the night. Meanwhile, a prison escapee is seen in the area, and the detectives find out that Jack Leeper is a distant cousin to April, and her pen pal as well. Theo is the only one that knows that April was alone in her house when she was kidnapped, and she made him promise not to tell anyone. Soon, everyone in the small town of Strattenburg is either praying or in the streets looking for April. Days pass by and there is no sign of the missing girl, until the police retrieve a dead body from the river. There are many people who believe that April is dead, but not Theo. He and his friends set out on search parties to look for their lost friend, but they come back empty handed. When Theo’s uncle Ike calls him over to his office, Theo is relieved to know that the police determined the dead body is not April. Later that week, Theo’s parents need to go to a conference, and they do not want to leave Theo home alone. It is decided that he will stay at his friend’s house. There, the two boys search online for April’s location. When they finally spot her in photos at a college nearly 7 hours away, Ike and Theo set out immediately to retrieve her, and soon bring her back.
This book was a very interesting read by John Grisham, the sequel to Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. It was slightly simpler to read than its prequel, and contained less complicated language and legal terms. The book encouraged the importance of keeping promises and being loyal to friends, and it was seen that Theo was a very good example of a wonderful friend. The story was very gripping, and Grisham kept my interest at all times. The amount of suspense was immense, as I kept flipping the pages in order to find out what had happened to April. The author included several ideas that may have led to what April was going through, and I enjoyed trying to figure out who was the culprit myself. Although I am happy that it was a positive ending, I felt it was a bit anti-climatic. I was expecting a dangerous villain of some sort to have taken April, but that was not true, and I feel the book could have had a better resolution. I would say that this book is good for 7th-9th graders who like mysteries and thrilling books. In the end, I would give this book nine out of ten stars.
STUDY QUESTIONS AND VOCABULARY:
1.What are some of the things Jack Leeper is accused of
1a. He is accused of being a career thug, petty thief, drug dealer, etc. He also got caught for kidnapping and busted out of jail. (11)
2. Why does Officer Bard react to finding out Theo’s parents’ names?
2a. Officer Bard falters because he might get in trouble for wrongfully accusing Theo, and trying to put restrictions on what he does. (37)
3. After reading chapter 5, what type of a dog is Judge?
3a. He is a part of the family, and very loving. Theo treats him with respect, and Judge mirrors that. (41)
4. Who were the two people in ‘the bridge’ who saw Jack Leeper?
4a. Buster Shell and Miss Ethel Barber claimed to have seen him around town. (47)
5. Who does Elsa think the dead body was, and why does Theo contradict her?
5a. Elsa thought it was April and Theo refused because he didn’t want to think that his best friend could be dead. (71)
distraught (pg. 10)
professed (pg. 35)
delicatessens (pg. 41)
cannery (pg. 46)
deranged (pg. 56)
6. In what grade does April come back to Strattenburg, and what does she say to Theo?
6a. In sixth grade, she sits next to him and says, “Hi, Theo.” (76)
7. Why did Theo sit out with April during P.E?
7a. He had an asthma attack, and she was helping him. (78)
8. Who does Theo call for an update about April during the game?
8a. Woody, a friend who was keeping an eye on the Internet and police radios. (87)
9. Why does Theo think Ike has, “slow mornings,”?
9a. Because he is rumored to drink a lot every night, causing hangovers. (94)
10. Who does Theo impersonate and be like when presenting a case?
10a. He attempts to copy Lawyer Jesse Meelbank. (101)
mangled (pg. 83)
insomnia (pg. 89)
brusque (pg. 93)
disbarred (pg. 93)
cremated (pg. 97)
11. What does Theo think should be done with Pete?
11a. He should be on probation, and a second offence would lead to a harsher punishment. (127)
12. Why do Theo’s parents refuse to let him stay home alone?
12a. His parents thought he, “needed the supervision and protection.” Another reason of worry might have been the recent kidnapping. (139)
13. Why does Ike think Theo is the best person to go and get April?
13a. It is because she trusts him, and he would be able to convince her if she refused. (156)
14. Why do Ike and Theo lie about their identities to Zack?
14a. They fib because he is close to April’s father Tom, and he might tell him that the pair had taken April back. (175)
15. Who is appointed as April’s temporary guardian and why?
15a. Marcella Boone, because she knows April’s family, her story, and Theo is a friend to April. Also, being a divorce lawyer herself, she would know how to handle such a situation. (201)
docket (pg. 116)
kamikaze (pg. 122)
notoriously (pg. 159)
hunkered (pg. 210)
hooky (pg. 216)