Let’s talk for a moment about John Grisham.
He’s an astoundingly highly successful writer whose books have sold millions and millions of copies. The Firm, The Pelican Brief, A Time to Kill…. best sellers all. He’s written mysteries, thrillers, Christmas stories.
There was no doubt he could write a perfectly readable book that everyone from beach goers to airline passengers could pick-up, enjoy and toss. Then last year he showed he could do even more. He released his first collection of short stories — a collection that was very well reviewed. The Washington Post called them “terrifically charming” stories that “you absolutely can’t stop reading.”
Now, he’s got a new genre in his sights — young adult fiction.
Boone is the 13-year-old only child of two lawyers in a small, Southern town and — in the first chapter, at least — it’s hard not to see him as cut from the same cloth as Encyclopedia Brown, The Hardy Boys, even Nancy Drew.
Except, he comes across as real — a real kid with real problems. The writing in the first chapter may not be elegant but it’s interesting, it’s readable and leaves you wanting more, certainly at least the second chapter.
Grisham is hardly the first successful writer of adult books to attempt to crossover and write something for a younger audience. It’s something that almost seems required in recent years.
Some have been good reads, some — not so much.
If Grisham’s first chapter is any indication, I’m sure the book will be just fine.
And, while some think that writers of adult fiction should stay away from younger crowds, the thing is, the important thing isn’t whether he’s writing another War and Peace — or even another Catcher in the Rye. It’s whether he’s written a book that people read. Because, after all, reading is fundamental.