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Fiction Ages 12+
Pages: 256
Themes: mystery, teen fiction, the justice system
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 01/Oct/2019
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High-school football star Matt Barnes was on the top of the world until a freak snowboarding accident ended his promising sports career and left him with a permanent limp. As he struggles to accept his changed body, Matt becomes depressed and isolated. Instead of college football camp, he faces a summer job at the local golf club. Then by chance Matt lands an internship at the Justice Project, an organization that defends the wrongly convicted. The other intern is his high-school nemesis, Sonya Livingstone, a quick-witted social activist with little time for jock culture. The two slowly develop a friendship as they investigate the case of Ray Richardson, who was convicted of murdering his parents twenty-one years ago. Matt and Sonya are soon convinced that Ray is innocent—but how will they prove it? Unraveling the cold case takes them on a journey filled with twists, turns, deception and danger. It will take dedication, perseverance and courage to unmask the real murderer. Can those same qualities help Matt move on to a life not defined by football?

CM: Canadian Review of Materials
"A gripping, multi-dimensional work, deserving of a place in senior high school library fiction collections."
Kirkus Reviews
“Thought-provoking...Matt's halting steps toward self-acceptance are believable...His overview of wrongful conviction...may compel readers to seek further information.”
“Issues are successfully blended into a well-rounded novel that, in tandem with interesting characters and a thrilling murder mystery, will grip readers’ attention until the very end.”
Witness to Innocence
“Explores the subject of wrongful convictions in a way for younger audiences to understand. A great way to teach young people about issues in our criminal justice system and how to become part of the solution.”
Resource Links
“Strong in both dialogue and plotting. Sonya and Matt are interesting teens, at pivotal points in their lives. This book will check the boxes for many different readers.”
Must Read Lit: K thru YA
“Will hold the reader’s attention from beginning to end…Convincingly tells a story about injustice, human compassion and a determined search for the truth.”


Bank Street College of Education Best Books  | 2020 | Commended
SYCRA Snow Willow  | 2020 | Short-listed
CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens  | 2020 | Commended
Forest of Reading Light Reads Great Stories  | 2021 | Commended

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