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?
Synopsis from Goodreads
Thank you Orca Book Publishers and NetGalley for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Wow, did this book capture my interest immediately! I was so excited to receive a copy of The Justice Project, a fictional story about something that is actually happening in our society. Inspired by real people and events, I flew through this story and anxiously waited to find out what would happen to the people Matt and the Justice Project team are trying to help.
Loved the Idea Behind This
One of the strongest reasons I'm excited to recommend this book is because of it's premise. There are many organizations that are working to free people who were wrongly convicted of crimes (including Kim Kardashian, who I think is incredibly cool for putting her money and time to helping those who don't have other options) and I loved that The Justice Project reminds readers of how many people are put unfairly behind bars. The novel takes real people and creates a fictionalized story of their lives as examples of the people who are trying to help others, and the innocent people who are being helped. I thought it was brilliantly done.
Matt was frustrating to connect to at the beginning of the novel, but his character development was wonderful! It was so great seeing him connect to Ray, Sonia and the others and actually find something else to ignite his passion beyond football. He, like so many teens, found something that he was good at and didn't understand how to adjust to a world where that "thing" wasn't doable anymore. Sonia is passionate and I loved seeing it; this is a politically active and socially aware girl who isn't afraid to go after what she wants. It was really great to have a female character that has no shame in going after what she wants!
Matt has a pretty intense journey over the course of the novel, beginning with the loss of his football career and moving into solving Ray's case. There are elements of mystery wrapped up in the very real truth that so much of the justice system is broken and innocent people can pay the price of it. Reading about the number of innocent people who have served decades of their life in jail, or are on death row, was heartbreaking. Likewise, Matt and Sonia's efforts to find clues to exonerate Ray bring them to dangerous places, but their willingness to do so to save someone was lovely. While there are some unbelievable moments, overall I really enjoyed this story.
There are a lot of moments in this book that will force you to stop and realize just how broken the system is, but there are moments that will also give you hope. So much of this novel is based on true people and events, which is scary (because of how much time innocent people spent in jail) and also wonderful (because of the innocent people who get to leave jail). I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA Contemporary novels or books inspired by true events.
The Justice Project was released on October 1st and I highly recommend that you give it a read! Let me know what you think :)
FINAL RATING: 4.5/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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