Sixteen year old Steve Harmon is on trial for murder. To pass the time in jail, Steve envisions his life as a movie. The structure of the book goes back and forth between Steve’s journal entries and his scripting of the actual trial. The title comes from the prosecutor’s description of him when she is speaking to the jury.
I first read this book in graduate school, but don’t really remember much about my feelings towards it then. Upon rereading, the issues addressed are particularly timely, even though it was written over 15 years ago. Although it is a fictional narrative, there are many parallels to situations that have been in the news the past couple of years.
While this book is difficult to read at times because of its subject matter, it’s an important book. It humanizes a teenager who many see as an adult and a “monster.” Unfortunately, that occurs in real life and I would love to hand this book to those who have some more extreme views.
VERDICT: I have no doubts that this book should be included in the list.
This is the fourth book I have read by E.L. Konigsburg, and is probably her most famous. Despite that, I actually had no idea what the story was about, even though I had heard of it many times. Then, this summer, while browsing the gift shop at the Met in New York City, I noticed this book there. Turns out that’s where it takes place, so then I definitely wanted to read it!
Claudia Kincaid feels unappreciated by her family and decides to run away. She brings along her younger brother Jamie to help with the finances. They set up camp in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and adventure ensues!
The best word I can use to describe this book is “charming.” Pre-teens on a journey of self-discovery is universal. Kids and adults of all ages enjoy it, which is proven by the fact that it’s almost fifty years old and still read frequently.
VERDICT: I think this is an excellent book, but, once again, I would include this in a children’s list, rather than a young adult list. Konigsburg wrote one of my all-time favorite books, Silent to the Bone, which I think would be a more appropriate inclusion.
**You can find Ashley’s review for the book HERE.