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Theodore Boone: The Activist

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Overview

Theodore Boone is back in action! As all of Strattenburg sits divided over a hot political and environmental issue, Theo finds himself right in the thick of it. The county commission is fighting hard to change the landscape of the town, and Theo is strongly opposed to the plans. But when he uncovers corruption beneath the surface, no one—not even Theo—is prepared for the risks—and potential harm—at stake. Torn between his conscience and the law, Theo will do whatever it takes to...

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Overview

Theodore Boone is back in action! As all of Strattenburg sits divided over a hot political and environmental issue, Theo finds himself right in the thick of it. The county commission is fighting hard to change the landscape of the town, and Theo is strongly opposed to the plans. But when he uncovers corruption beneath the surface, no one—not even Theo—is prepared for the risks—and potential harm—at stake. Torn between his conscience and the law, Theo will do whatever it takes to stand up for what is right.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Stacey Hayman
Eighth grader Theodore Boone is wise beyond his years, so it should be no surprise when the latest trouble to hit town comes knocking on his door, even if it has to speed along a recently proposed highway bypass to get there. When Theo agrees to help a friend save his family farm threatened by the new road, it requires his best legal know-how, strongest debating skills, and more than a little courage from his dog, Judge. This fourth entry into the middle school series featuring Theodore Boone continues to deliver the old-fashioned values of a traditional family, the rewards and challenges of living in a small town, and lessons learned from supporting a cause with personal meaning. There are some discordant notes, like when Theo does not know what it means to be an activist but can give the history and definition of eminent domain, or when he must clearly understand attorney—client privilege but looks through a closed client file anyway. But it is the fast-paced story filled with a wide range of likable characters and challenging ideas that could prompt interesting discussions that make this book appealing. In the end, both boys and girls will enjoy experiencing one more adventure-filled episode in the life of this modern-day Encyclopedia Brown. Reviewer: Stacey Hayman
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142423097
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 4/22/2014
  • Series: Theodore Boone Series , #4
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 27,249
  • Age range: 8 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John Grisham is the author of a collection of stories, a work of nonfiction, three sports novels, four kids' books, and many legal thrillers. His work has been translated into forty-two languages. He lives near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Biography

As a young boy in Arkansas, John Grisham dreamed of being a baseball player. Fortunately for his millions of fans, that career didn't pan out. His family moved to Mississippi in 1967, where Grisham eventually received a law degree from Ole Miss and established a practice in Southaven for criminal and civil law. In 1983, Grisham was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives, where he served until 1990.

While working as an attorney, Grisham witnessed emotional testimony from the case of a young girl's rape. Naturally inquisitive, Grisham's mind started to wander: what if the terrible crime yielded an equally terrible revenge? These questions of right and wrong were the subject of his first novel, A Time to Kill (1988), written in the stolen moments before and between court appearances. The book wasn't widely distributed, but his next title would be the one to bring him to the national spotlight. The day after he finished A Time to Kill, Grisham began work on The Firm (1991), the story of a whiz kid attorney who joins a crooked law firm. The book was an instant hit, spent 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, and was made into a movie starring Tom Cruise.

With the success of The Firm, Grisham resigned from the Mississippi House of Representatives to focus exclusively on his writing. What followed was a string of bestselling legal thrillers that demonstrated the author's uncanny ability to capture the unique drama of the courtroom. Several of his novels were turned into blockbuster movies.

In 1996, Grisham returned to his law practice for one last case, honoring a promise he had made before his retirement. He represented the family of a railroad worker who was killed on the job, the case went to trial, and Grisham won the largest verdict of his career when the family was awarded more than $650,000.

Although he is best known for his legal thrillers, Grisham has ventured outside the genre with several well-received novels (A Painted House, Bleachers, et al) and an earnest and compelling nonfiction account of small-town justice gone terribly wrong (The Innocent Man). The popularity of these stand-alones proves that Grisham is no mere one-trick pony but a gifted writer with real "legs."

Good To Know

A prolific writer, it takes Grisham an average of six months to complete a novel.

Grisham has the right to approve or reject whoever is cast in movies based on his books. He has even written two screenplays himself: Mickey and The Gingerbread Man.

Baseball is one of Grisham's great loves. He serves as the local Little League commissioner and has six baseball diamonds on his property, where he hosts games.

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    1. Hometown:
      Oxford, Mississippi, and Albemarle County, Virginia
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 8, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Jonesboro, Arkansas
    1. Education:
      B.S., Mississippi State, 1977; J.D., University of Mississippi, 1981
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The opponent was the team from Central, the “other” school in town and the great rival of Strattenburg Middle School. Whenever there was a game or a match or contest of any sort against Central, the tensions were higher, the crowds were bigger, and things just seemed more important. This was true even for a debate. One month earlier, the SMS Eighth-Grade Debate Team had won at Central in a packed auditorium, and when the decision was announced by the judges the crowd was not happy. There were a few boos, though these were quickly hushed. Good behavior and sportsmanship were expected, regardless of the contest.

Strattenburg’s captain was Theodore Boone, who was also the anchor, the closer, the go-to guy when the pressure was on. Theo and his team had never lost, though they were not quite undefeated. Two months earlier, they had tied with the SMS girls’ team after a rowdy debate on the issue of raising the driving age from sixteen to eighteen.

But Theo wasn’t thinking about other debates at the moment. He was onstage, seated at a folding table. Aaron on one side and Joey on the other, all three young men in coats and ties and looking quite snappy, and all three staring across the stage at the team from Central. Mr. Mount, Theo’s adviser, friend, and debate coach, was speaking into a microphone and saying, “And now, the final statement by Strattenburg, from Theodore Boone.”

Theo glanced at the crowd. His father was sitting in the front row. His mother, a busy divorce lawyer, was tied up in court and upset that she was missing her only child in action. Behind Mr. Boone was a row of girls, including April Finnemore, one of Theo’s closest friends, and Hallie Kershaw, the most popular girl in the entire eighth grade. Grouped behind the girls were a bunch of teachers: Madame Monique, from Cameroon, who taught Spanish and was Theo’s second favorite, after Mr. Mount, of course; and Mrs. Garman, who taught Geometry; and Mrs. Everly, who taught English. Even Mrs. Gladwell, the principal, was there. All in all a nice crowd, for a debate anyway. For a basketball or football game, there would have been twice as many spectators, but then those teams had more than three contestants per side, and, frankly, were more exciting to watch.

Theo tried not to consider these things, though it was difficult. An asthma condition prohibited him from participating in organized sports, so this was his chance to compete before spectators. He loved the fact that most of his classmates were terrified of speaking in public, while he enjoyed the challenge. Justin could dribble a basketball between his legs and hit three-pointers all day long, but when called on in class he was as timid as a four-year-old. Brian was the fastest thirteen-year-old swimmer in Strattenburg, and he enjoyed the confident swagger of a great athlete, but put him in front of a crowd and he wilted.

Not Theo. Theo spent little time in the bleachers cheering for the other kids; instead, he hung around courtrooms and watched lawyers battle before juries and judges. He would be a great lawyer one day, and though he was only thirteen, he had already learned the valuable lesson that speaking in public was important to success. It wasn’t easy. In fact, as Theo stood and walked business-like to the podium, he felt his stomach flip and his heart race. He had read stories of great athletes and their pregame routines, and how many of them were so tense and edgy they would actually vomit. Theo did not feel sick to his stomach, but he felt the fear, the unease. A veteran trial lawyer had once told him: “If you’re not nervous, son, then something is wrong.”

Theo was certainly nervous, but he knew from experience it was only temporary. Once the game started, the butterflies disappeared. He touched the microphone, looked at the moderator, and said, “Thank you, Mr. Mount.” He turned to the Central team, cleared his throat, reminded himself once again to speak clearly and slowly, and began, “Now, Mr. Bledsoe makes some valid points, especially when he argues that someone who breaks the law should not benefit from it. And that many American students who were born here and whose parents were born here cannot afford college. These arguments cannot be ignored.”

Theo took a breath, then turned his attention to the spectators, though he avoided eye contact. He had learned a few tricks during his career in debate, and one of the most important was to ignore the faces in the crowd. They could be distracting. They could make you lose your train of thought. Instead, Theo looked at objects when he spoke—an empty seat on the right side, a clock in the back of the room, a window on the left side—and as he spoke he continually shifted his gaze from one to the other. This gave the clear impression that Theo was tuned in to the crowd, looking earnestly, communicating. It made him seem comfortable at the podium, something the judges always liked.

He continued: “However, children of undocumented workers—we used to call them illegal immigrants—have no choice where they are born, nor can they choose where they live. Their parents made the decision to enter, illegally, the United States, and they did so primarily because they were hungry and looking for a job. It’s not fair to punish the children for what their parents did. We have students in this school, and at Central, and at every school in this district, who are not supposed to be here because their parents broke the law. But, we admit them, accept them, and our system educates them. In many cases, they are our friends.”

The issue was red-hot. There was a noisy movement sweeping across the state to prohibit the children of undocumented workers from enrolling in public colleges. Those who supported the ban argued that the large number of “illegals” would (1) swamp the university system; and (2) squeeze out American students who might otherwise barely qualify for college; and (3) consume millions in tax dollars paid in by real US citizens. The Central team had done a good job making these points so far in the debate.

Theo went on, “The law requires this school system, and every school system in this state, to accept and educate all students, regardless of where they come from. If the state has to pay for the first twelve years, why then should the state be allowed to slam the doors when these students are ready for college?”

Theo had some notes scribbled on a sheet of paper in front of him on the podium, but he refused to look down. Judges loved debaters who spoke without looking down, and Theo knew he was earning points. All three of the boys from Central had relied on their notes.

He raised a finger and said, “First, it’s a question of fairness. All of us have been told by our parents that they expect us to go to college. It’s part of the American dream. It seems unfair, then, to pass a law that will prohibit many of our students, and many of our friends, from being admitted to college.” He raised another finger. “Second, competition is always good. Mr. Bledsoe takes the position that US citizens should be given priority in college admissions because their parents were here first, even though some of these students are not as qualified as the children of undocumented workers. Shouldn’t our colleges admit the best students, period? Across this state, each year there are about thirty thousand openings for incoming freshmen. Why should anyone get special consideration? If our colleges admit the best students, doesn’t that make our colleges stronger? Of course it does. No one should be admitted unless he or she deserves it, just as no one should be denied based on where his or her parents were born.”

Mr. Mount worked hard to suppress a grin. Theo was on a roll and he knew it. He managed to add just a trace of anger to his voice, nothing too dramatic, but the right touch that conveyed the message—This is so obvious, how can anyone argue with me? Mr. Mount had seen this before. Theo was moving in for the kill.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 86 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(56)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 86 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    Worth the byy

    This book is great. I recommend it for everyone. Another great adventure with theo. This wasnt the best theodore boone book but still great. I read all the other books of the series and i think this one was alittle boring. But the end was great. As u reach the middle of the book it gets interesting. Idk about adults liking this book but im 13 and it was good for me.

    18 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2013

    Great book

    Hi my name is Kate M. I have written many other reports on books ive read but I really enjoyed reading this whole series! I do beleive the 1,2, and3 books are better in comparison but this book is great! To warn you the begening is the tiniest bit slow but the rest is amazing! Enjoy!

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    G

    I'm on chapter five and its pretty boring so far. I was expecting a little more because of the last 3 books. Those were VERY GOOD. Come on John Grisham, u coulda added a bit more action in these chapters, cuz if the first chapter isnt good, how will the rest of the book be? But its still ok.

    10 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Cant wait to read this!

    I have read all of these books and they are amazing! Just about to sit back and enjoy another one

    8 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thar is happy parts sad parts scary parts all sorts of parts. But the mack the book so good that you want to read and read and read more! Do read it to day. Don't be shy.
    From
    Cooky11

    6 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    Must Read!

    This book is amazing! It will leave you on the edge of your seat! A must-rrad!

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    Disappointed and mislead

    This book is intended for teens and it doesn,t provide this info in the overview. Waste of my money and time. Second it's boring and predictable. Alecture on the topic would probably be more exciting.

    6 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013

    Awesomeness

    This is such a good book im not very far into it but i think its awesome. The other three books were amazing too just in case your wondering

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!

    AMAZING!!!!!! '-' '-' :) :)

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    Theodore Boone is the bomb! Great books for kids and adults. He

    Theodore Boone is the bomb! Great books for kids and adults. He is the modern Encyclopedia Brown.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2013

    Theodore Boone Review

    Overall, this book was ok. It had its good parts and its bad parts. 60% of the book left you bored. In my opinion its the second worst one of the series. There is some AMAZING parts though. Espicially towards the end and in the middle. The begining was slow at first. I would recommend this if you are kinda bored and have a weekend full of nothing

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013

    Another great Boone story!

    This is another great story in the Boone series. I hope there are more to come. Boy, does that Theo come up with great ideas.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    Anonymous 1

    Could anyone who read this book tell me if this book is good or not? Just started reading this book and I can't tell if it sucks or not. Please reply!

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    One of the reviewers wrote about their disappointment in the boo

    One of the reviewers wrote about their disappointment in the book and said it was more for young people.  The reviewer went on to say that B&N should have noted that .  I too missed that the book is for young people but when I went back to the first B&N web page, I saw that they clearly listed the book in the young peoples area.  I just saw the name Grisham and got excited.  Oh well, guess I'll just have to wait another six months for the next book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2013

    Awesome book!!!

    I LOVED THIS BOOK!! READ ALL THE BOON BOOKS!!!!!" :)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2013

    New

    Love all the other books so can't wait to read

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    Awesome Book!

    This book is very good. As the fouth in the series, I think John Grisham did a really good job. To some other readers, as you might have noticed, they say that the book starts out slow. It does not. It is true that most of the MAJOR action does take place in the middle, but does not start out slow. Overall, I gave this book five stars because it really is an excellent novel and worth the money and it influenced me that anyone can make a difference in the world. I appreciate you reading my review and taking this book into consideration!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    MY FAVORITE! Hope he makes another one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    MY FAVORITE! Hope he makes another one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2013

    ALERT!!!

    This book is geared for younger readers probably not older ones. The first three are great and I now resd them for fun;)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    aw Awesome BO Awesome book!!!

    In my opinion best overall kids mystery book

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 86 Customer Reviews

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