Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 8 to 12
- Reading age: 12 to 18
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?
About the author
Michael Betcherman is an award-winning author and screenwriter. He is the author of the young adult mystery novels Breakaway and Face-off, both published by Penguin Canada. Breakaway was a finalist for the John Spray Mystery Award. Face-Off was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Mystery Award. Michael has numerous writing credits in both dramatic and documentary television. He is also the author/creator of The Daughters of Freya and Suzanne, two groundbreaking online novels that were highly praised by numerous publications, including the Globe and Mail and the UK Guardian. Michael lives in Toronto, Ontario, with his wife, Claudette Jaiko.
- Commended, Forest of Reading Light Reads Great Stories
- Short-listed, SYCRA Snow Willow
- Commended, Bank Street College of Education Best Books
- Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens
“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.”
Witness to Innocence
“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.”
Must Read Lit: K thru YA
"A gripping, multi-dimensional work, deserving of a place in senior high school library fiction collections."
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“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.”
“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.”
“Thought-provoking...Matt's halting steps toward self-acceptance are believable...His overview of wrongful conviction...may compel readers to seek further information.”