The final Theodore Boone book has, perhaps, a slightly less exciting crime at its core. But it is just as important, and it’s good for young readers to see that an adult author will address things like standardised tests. All too often children feel that adults are not on their side.
Theo, the youthful almost-lawyer, is in grade eight and it’s time for the tests that will determine what set he will be in when he starts high school. Contrary to what we might expect, he’s not good at tests, and that goes for many of his friends at school too. They feel stressed and their teachers are stressed. Salaries could depend on how well the students do.
Add to this a less than ideal home background, and you can understand why the tests aren’t necessarily good for you. Theo finds out how lucky he is, though, when experiencing first hand how bad life is for some of his peers. And that’s before the tests.
The title The Scandal refers to the cheating, but it’s not the kind of cheating that first comes to mind. Theo’s friend April is involved and he tries to advise her, but she has her own agenda.
His parents find themselves a little bit out of their comfort zone as well, as does uncle Ike. And the almost tame otter Otto…
As in the five earlier books about Theo, you learn that you can – try to – do something to make things better and fairer. At least some of the time.
I have thoroughly enjoyed all the books in this series.