A Yearling Book
Random House

September 2005

$5.99 US

171p pb

ISBN: 978-0440419860

fp February 2004

The Trial: a novel

Jen Bryant

from the book...

Imagine you are Bruno Richard Hauptmann, accused of murdering the son of the most famous man in America.


Life is quiet in Katie Leigh Flynn's New Jersey town. She watches trains at the railyard with her best friend Mike, wonders about her father, and dreams of the faraway places in her postcard collection.


Then. on a windy night in 1932, a shocking crime shakes Katie's town, and all of America, to the core: the baby son of aviator and American hero Charles Lindbergh is kidnapped from his crib.


The country mourns, a manhunt begins, and when Bruno Richard Hauptmann is captured and accused, Katie, only 12, finds herself inside the courtroom at the Lindbergh baby trial as an assistant to her reporter uncle.


In a lyrical and suspenseful novel in poems, author Jen Bryant takes us inside one of the most widely publicized criminal cases of the twentieth century. And through the eyes of a bright and curious narrator, she reveals the real-life figures of the trial, their startling fates, and the many faces of justice.

If you have read this verse novel and would like to share your opinion of it with other readers please send your review or comments to YARR-A

The Trial by Jen Bryant is based on a true story. The story’s protagonist, Katie Leigh Flynn, is a young girl living in a quiet New Jersey town. She is fascinated by newspapers and aspires to become a journalist. She feels that nothing exciting ever happens in her town until one night in 1932 the baby son of the great American aviator Charles Lindbergh was taken from his crib. When police capture the supposed kidnapper, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, Katie’s reporter uncle asks her to be his assistant at the trial. Katie although only 12, gets her wish to be a journalist (although only for the duration of the trial) and as the events unfold the town certainly does get a lot more exciting.

This is a great book describing one of the biggest cases of the twentieth century through the eyes of a young protagonist. This book is suited for older and younger readers alike. I thought however the most impressive thing about this book was the detail in its format. There were font changes in some cases and at each chapter there are newspaper clippings and quotes from the actual case. I recommend this book to anyone aged 12 and up.

Lauren, Year 10, Canberra, Australia

The Trial by Jen Bryant is set in a New Jersey town in 1932. It follows 12 year old Katie Leigh Flynn through a short period in her life where she makes the transition from a young small town girl into an amateur journalist. All her life she has dreamed of travelling the globe as a famous journo. She collects postcards and clippings from magazines and newspapers of distant places to satisfy her curiosity. She is also particularly interested in the Lindbergh baby’s disappearance and is delighted to hear that the trial will be held in her own town where “nothing ever happens”. Her good fortune continues when her journalist uncle breaks his arm and asks her to join him at the courthouse to take notes of the trial for him. Katie jumps for joy at the chance.

The trial brings havoc to a normally quite town. Katie Gathers her supplies and joins her uncle for the six week trial.

I really enjoyed reading this book and learning of how the Lindbergh trial affected both the town and Katie Flynn. Following her as her world changes so rapidly made for a really good read. I would recommend this book for young adult readers and give The Trial by Jen Bryant 3  stars.

Thomas, Year 8, Canberra, Australia

The Trial is written by Jen Bryant is about the kidnapping of a little baby just 20 months. One stormy night as the wind howled, American aviator Charles Lindbergh's baby, is taken from its crib while it was sleeping. Bruno Richard Hauptman is accused of stealing the baby and put in jail. There is a trial to see if that Bruno Richard Hauptman is guilty or innocent.  If he was guilty he would be electrified in the electric chair if he wasn’t guilty he would be free. People say that a gang of people did it others say they saw him do it. What is the truth?

I enjoyed the book because it has really descriptive words. You could imagine a picture in your head while you were reading even though it had no pictures. I think the genre of this book is mystery as it is about the how a baby goes missing. The book is really good; it tells you what is really happening at the start so you kind of know what the book is about then it goes into the detail. The book is aimed at readers 10 years and over because you have to carefully read it and not skip any parts to understand what is happening in the book. I give this book an overall rating of 7/10.

Khalil, Year 5, Canberra, Australia

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