I have been listening to the John Grisham book for "children" (note use of ironic quotes here is intentional). Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer, is not a book for kids. Well, it has a main character who is a kid (Theodore, a precocious child who serves as legal counsel for his school friends, hacks into computer systems, and solves unsolvable cases). However, the book has a really adult feel to it. Perhaps listening to it reinforced that. Here are just some random observations:
Theo never walks anywhere: he scampers a lot (what's up with that?). Ditto most of the adults.
Theo knows so much about the law but is clueless about other things; his character is inconsistent.
His parents allow him more freedom than any other 13 year old has or should have.
Most kids, except for Theo, are basket cases.
Theo has very adult observations about the world around him, too adult.
OK, actually I get this. This is the Hardy Boys all over again. Suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the ride. I would rather take a ride, though, with the guy who writes for adults. Riding with him as he writes for kids just does not work for me. I love Grisham's books for grown ups. I just think this one should be listed as adult as well. Ditto Charles Dickens. Just because there is a child as focus does not mean there is a child as audience. I wonder what the reactions of kid readers has been? <317>
The flip side of this is that there are adult authors who cross over and get it right; they can channel the child or teen inside. Carl Hiaasen springs to mind immediately. I did not know he wrote for adults until I had finished HOOT. Joyce Carol Oates and Alice Hoffman get it right, IMHO.
EDITED TO ADD: See the comments section and take a look at Monica Edinger's take on the book, too. She is spot on. I kept wanting to write down the things that made no sense, but I would have filled the notebook.
PPS: The audio is good; the book not so much. Here is an instance of an audio making a bok better than it is. The reverse is also, sadly, true.