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The Justice Project

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  119 ratings  ·  42 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Orca Book Publishers
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  119 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

Many thanks to Orca Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Goodbye Days blended with highschool football and true crime podcasts. A nice, emotional book with a great ending! I recommend this for fans of Jeff Zenter, Sarah Henning, or Courtney Stevens!

Happy reading!

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PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of THE JUSTICE PROJECT by Michael Betcherman in exchange for my honest review.***

Former high school football quarterback Matt and class valedictorian Sonya intern at an THE JUSTICE PROJECT an organization that investigates and wrongful convictions. They soon believe a man serving time for killing his parents is actually innocent. Since the case didn’t meet agency requirements, Matt and Sonya investigate on their free time hoping to fin
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing ! I could relate to the main character a lot because a “freak accident “ (although mine a lot more Minor than his has left me disabled and with a life or chronic pain . I too have had to give things up I love . I can still play the violin on occasion but not like before . This book is also powerful! Really highlights about wrongful conviction. Have already recommended this book to several people . Read this for the book club I’m in (basically adults who read young adults) f ...more
Kara Babcock
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Sometimes the best I can summon up for a book is “competent.” That’s where I’m at with The Justice Project by Michael Betcherman. This young adult/new adult book is an interesting mix of thriller/mystery, but the tone and pacing and characterization leaves me a little confused about who the audience is and which themes Betcherman wants to emphasize.

Matt is finishing up high school, but his dreams of playing college football are over. Instead of leading his team to another championship he’s releg
Joanna Bennett
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a very quick read but one that brings a topic that isn’t discussed much to light. There are inmates who have been wrongly accused and this story sheds more light on the matter, including the death penalty.

I remember hearing about a website that talked about people who were wrongly accused for crimes and so this book sparked my interest. The plot is based around a high school football player, Matt, who can’t play anymore do to an accident. He finds himself working for a couple who t
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is a 6/5 due to its mention of the show Friday Night Lights which is forever a favourite of mine, which immediately had me hooked. Then combine that with the fact that it's about fighting to get those who have wrongfully convicted out of jail using cases based on real-life ones that took place in America from the 80s to 2000s, as well young people who are just casually changing the world and I'm sold!

I also loved and was amazed at the creative technique of combining a sports injury s
4-4.5 stars

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book, but it absolutely grabbed my attention, especially once the main character stopped feeling so sorry for himself. Instead, he learns that there are more important things in life than football when he works with a fellow classmate to clear the name of a man who was wrongly convicted of his parents' murder. The author did a good job keeping you guessing all the way to the end, even after you knew who the guilty person was--the questi
Strong mystery, flawed main character needing a purpose, authentic friendships depicted.

Really enjoyed it.
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
* Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced digital copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

The Justice Project is a great book that mixes dealing with an injury with the injustice of innocent people being put in jail for life with a mystery. While it starts slowly, the pace picks up quickly and is a completely satisfying read.

Matt Barnes is the football hero in a football town. Everyone knows him and reveres him. When an accident leaves him injured and the college scholarships disappear, Matt
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it

Full review here:

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 a
TM Ghent
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of THE JUSTICE PROJECT by Michael Betcherman in exchange for my honest review.***

The Justice Project follows a senior high-school student, Matt Barnes, whose dreams about being a college football star ripped away from him following a snowboarding accident. Matt, now depressed, must find out how to go through this new life with a different stride. He gets pulled into interning for the Justice Project. Matt and his fellow intern (as well
Courtney Lavallee
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn't sure how I would enjoy this book, I find that contemporary isn't my thing. However, this book isn't contemporary like I least not, in my opinion, it is a mystery.

A damn good mystery at that, I read this book in one sitting and enjoyed every minute of it. This book kept me interested, enthralled, and invested in the storylines.

The characters were also amazing, I initia
Taylor (taylorcatherinemareads)
** Thank you Netgallery and the publisher for providing me with an E-arc in exchange for an honest review. **

The Justice Project was the perfect book to read while I was in the mood to read crime. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always in the mood for crime i.e. watch the ID channel whenever I can but it’s different from actually reading a crime book that’s not just a half an hour long and narrated by an intimidating voice. As a criminology major, this book really spoke to me because a lot of issues the
Susan Ballard
Thank you to @netgalley and @orcabook for this ARC for review.

This is one of those unique YA books in that it isn’t centered around angsty love relationships. It discusses the topics of the death penalty, as well as, wrongful conviction and incarceration of the innocent. The book presents the story like an unsolved mystery, and the pieces need to be put together to help free a man who may be innocent. What I really enjoyed was that the story showed how people can have differing opinions on issu
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
First, thank you to NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

I was absorbed in this book from the beginning. While I felt there were a few elements that could have been fleshed out - Matt’s acceptance of the effects of his injury could have been worked in a little more, for example - I enjoyed how the way Ray’s case unfolded progressed. There is room for a little bit of fluff writing, since this book is a little shorter than I expected, but Betcherman keeps his writing pretty tig
Rachel Foley
“Matt knew that in the grand scheme of things, his situation wasn’t a tragedy... But knowing that others were worse off than him was no consolation.”

I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

This book was okay. It was by no means a bad book, but it wasn’t the best either.

The book follows teen football player Matt Barnes. He has a life-altering injury that keeps him from playing football. With his scholarship and plans gone, Matt volunteers for an organization called
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, owned
This book is unlike any YA book I've read before. The main protagonist is Matt, a very popular football player who tragically had a career-ending injury. Sonya, his classmate and nemesis turned friend is also one of the strong characters in this story. Matt and Sonya reluctantly had to becone partners in a school-related task, and that is to help out at the Justice Project. The Justice Project is an organization that aims to free wrongfully-accused inmates. Matt and Sonya are assigned to a cold ...more
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
** I received a copy of The Justice Project as a courtesy of the publisher. This has not affected my rating or review of the novel. **

[3.5, rounded down]

So when I started reading this book I was expecting it to be solid 3 stars. The book is about average, and some parts of the plot are too fast in my opinion. It has charm to it though, if that makes sense? I became invested in the case, no matter if some of the points were rushed or not, and I was happy with the ending. It’s an easy book and cov
Jennifer Shanahan
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-giveaways
I really liked this book. Matt, a high school senior who was injured in a snowboarding accident has had a negative look on life ever since he was hurt. He was the state champ quarterback earlier in the year and is now having a hard time dealing with his permanent injury. He is taking a law class and when a speaker comes in who had been imprisoned for 20 years for a crime he didn't commit and then freed, Matt is intrigued. He ends up working at the speaker's law office where they investigate case ...more
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
First of all, thank you to Orca Books and NetGalley for gifting me this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

The premise of this book was very exciting and is part of a bigger trend of books on wrongful incarceration. It's fantastic that more light is being shed on this issue and the inclusion of real life cases within the storyline was a powerful addition. Matt and Sonya, the two main characters, are familiar and very likable. The reader has no problem backing them. Betcherman does a good job
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
(3.5) The Justice Project is an enjoyable read. The premise revolves around the idea of the innocence project.

However, I felt as though the characters were very generic and although we knew a few key facts about them there personalities seemed underdeveloped. I believe focusing the Genre of this book would have really helped to make it more effective. Because it was a mystery, sports, romance, murder, prison etc. novel, I felt as though many aspects of the story were underdeveloped as well.

Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
I enjoyed this quick and easy read... Enjoyable characters, intriguing plotline, and just enough red herrings to make it interesting. Great social justice message about the death penalty and the horrifying number of innocents in prison and even on death row. The author's note shares two true stories of innocent men imprisoned for murder and links their stories to fictional characters in the book- really interesting tactic. This is a good one!

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my hone
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I really enjoyed reading The Justice Project! This was a well written novel focused on Matt, a former football player who has lost a bit of his identity due to a very serious injury. He finds himself involved in The Justice Project with fellow classmate, Sonya. The Justice Project works to help find justice for wrongful convictions. This was a great story about the justice system and written in a way that teenagers would have their interest grabbed. I really like that this wasn't driven by a rom ...more
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Matt Barnes is small town famous, the football quarterback who led his team to a state championship. Everything was golden until a post-season snowboarding injury which leaves him, less than he was before. As he works to recalibrate his goals, he finds a summer job as an intern at The Justice Project working to assist an innocent man in gaining is freedom. Michael Betcherman weaves together a realistic and fast-moving crime mystery with the identity work of the young man. Informative and enterta ...more
Jennifer M.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book reminded me of several of my favorite podcasts, and how just because someone is in prison or jail, in no way means they are guilty of a crime. I loved the way the author took two very real cases and presented them in a hard-to-swallow-but-it's-real way. Over 150 people since 1973 have been released from prison based on DNA evidence and I think this book (albeit fiction) plays a role in getting more people exonerated.

The Justice Project is sad, troubling, all way too close to home. But
Kara Berg
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've always been a fan of the movie Just Mercy and wrongfully convicted. T4hat being said I really enjoyed this book. I liked how it brought to light some of the problems with the justice system that a lot of people ignore. The plot and the characters are definitely unique and in the end you find out these were based off actual cases. This book is a little but a head of its time since now there are alot more books like this being written so for that I want to thank Michael Betcherman for getting ...more
Rachel Stansel
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
A good quick read. The combo of solving an old murder to prove the innocence of the man convicted and the struggle to move on after a life changing event played well together. I loved that what seemed set up to be the typical boy and girl hate each other and then find they are alike and fall in love wax tinted into something better, a friendship.

Full disclosure- I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Between 3.5- 4 because it took awhile to get into it, but about 1/3 of the way in it's a real page turner. Also, it is a meaningful young adult read as it is about much more than couples, football, and/or heading to university (although that is in the backdrop), but mostly focuses on social action, criminal justice reform, and making lemonade. A worthwhile read for all, but espically older teens as I feel like their targeted reading group often gets overlooked. ...more
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, er
Wholesome. An easy read that doesn't beat you about the head with the message. Matt is a well balanced character - believably a jock, depressed, but able to grow - and not too perfect. the thing I found hardest to believe was a high school with a law class! Solidly a mystery as well as a coming of age novel, it held my interest despite being aimed strongly at teenagers. ...more
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