Jessie and her older brother Evan came to terms with gifted Jessie skipping third grade and joining Evan in the school’s only fourth grade class, but it took a war to accomplish it. The two siblings and their friends squared off in a winner-take-all contest in Davies’ first book about the Treskis, The Lemonade War. I enjoyed that book but was frustrated that the issue of the missing money was never addressed. Davies’ latest book resolves the issue after Jessie, who has just read a book on the American justice system, serves Scott Spencer with papers charging him with stealing the money and demanding that he appear for trial by their classmates. Jessie assigns roles and explains the proceedings, sets the time and place for the trial, and prepares her argument as the plaintiff’s attorney. She is confident of victory until her best friend Megan, Evan’s secret crush, comes to Scott’s defense.
The legal information shared in this novel is age appropriate and plausible, unlike that in John Grisham’s Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer. The trial, its results, and the subsequent actions of both Evan and Scott point to the theme that one can be in the right and still be wrong, and vice versa. Young readers will appreciate that Davies does not condescend to her audience, offering no quick and simple solutions and presenting multi-faceted characters who learn and grow through their mistakes.
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