For this week’s Road Trip Wednesday, YA Highway asks “what was the best book you read in April?”. I’ve been having a huge reading month (and a crap writing month but that’s often how it goes). With nearly a week left I have already read fifteen books. There were definitely some standouts and some that didn’t work as well for me.
Interestingly with several of the books I found myself asking the same questions – legal questions. All the below books deal with a crime in one way or another. I don’t want to give any spoilers but some of them left me doubtful about the way the legal response to this crime played out. In several cases I found myself doing Google research to check whether the legal reaction was plausible give the circumstances. In a couple of cases, I don’t think it was.
The book to which I gave the highest Goodreads rating, SPEAK by, Laurie Halse Anderson (five stars!), though it concerned a serious crime, did not include legal ramifications. I suppose that’s because the story was not really about that. Whatever the reason, this was a fantastic book that I devoured in about four hours. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it. And I was particularly glad that a great read wasn’t marred by implausible legal outcomes.
This just goes to show how careful you need to be with your research. I know teen readers are probably not quite as skeptical as I am, but a writer should never assume that readers will buy their bullshit, just because it makes the story go where it needs to. When it comes to legal cases, the best thing to do is to consult a lawyer or police officer who works in the district in which your story is set. I know this sounds expensive, but I emailed a New York criminal lawyer, when I was writing a screenplay, and he was tickled to be consulted about criminal law in New York and did it for free.
The other books dealing with crimes were: NOTHING by Janne Teller, GLIMPSE by Carol Lynch Williams, LEAVING PARADISE (Leaving Paradise, #1) by Simone Elkeles, WE WERE HERE, by Matt de la Peña, CRAZY BEAUTIFUL by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, and FORBIDDEN, by Tabitha Suzuma.