School has started but Evan Treski isn't sure how he feels about his younger sister Jessie being in the same class as him. To make things worse, Scott has told everyone he has the brand new Xbox 20/20 - and hardly anyone owns an Xbox 20/20! Evan and Jessie are convinced that Scott bought the Xbox 20/20 with money that he stole from them, and now Jessie has found a way to prove it - she's going to take him to court! Basing everything from a legal pamphlet on the judicial system, Jessie meticulously recreates a courtroom on the playground, including a judge, lawyers, a jury, and witnesses. If Scott is found guilty, he must give Evan the Xbox; if Scott is found innocent, Evan and Jessie must apologize to him in front of the entire class. Neither side wants to lose, and everyone has their own version of what happened. What will the verdict be?
Just as in The Lemonade War, I love how actual terms and concepts are introduced in each chapter of the book (this time, instead of business, it's legal terms and phrases). I love the idea of centering the book around a kid-led trial. True, it's a concept that's been mined by a lot of different things (the prank episode of Good Morning Miss Bliss (aka the weird episodes TBS tried to pass off as Saved by the Bell) was the first one that came to my mind, but I'm sure there were others); I participated in a historical-figure-based mock trial in high school. It's a great way to give power to the kids in the story while still working within a believable framework. I didn't know how the story was going to work out or what the verdict was going to be, but the book is so fun and strong that I really enjoyed reading it. This is a great book for middle grade readers.
See more about the book at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
The Lemonade Crime will be released in May, 2011. I read an advanced copy of the book at NetGalley.
Find it on IndieBound.
Read it with:
The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
The Trial in American Life by Robert A. Ferguson
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
Tales from the Hood by Michael Buckley
The Trial of Cardigan Jones by Tim Egan