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Property of the State: Book 1 of The Legend of Joey

Review

Property of the State: Book 1 of The Legend of Joey

Bill Cameron’s novel, PROPERTY OF THE STATE, follows Joey Getchie, a 16-year-old runaway who doesn’t trust anyone --- and has never been given any reason to. A foster child since a young age, Joey goes through life knowing the odds are stacked against him and feeling as though he is going at it alone. Teachers, counselors, foster parents, classmates and the state of Oregon are all seen as obstacles that stand in his way from escaping the system and breaking free on his own. Joey develops a plan to graduate high school early and leave his solitary, neglected childhood behind him, but the modern-day Oliver Twist’s life becomes complicated by circumstances he could never have imagined. He deals with the stressors inherent with teenage life, like infatuation with a cute classmate and late homework assignments, but he also stumbles into a tangled web of deception and crime that he can’t escape from --- arson, duffle bags full of cash, guns and double lives. Seeking to free himself from implications of murder and having no one he can trust, Joey does he has always done: he runs.

"Always entertaining and constantly filled with suspense, PROPERTY OF THE STATE will captivate its young audience."   

In PROPERTY OF THE STATE, Bill Cameron neatly ties together a fast-moving, intricate plot that continues to accelerate from the first page to the last. Cameron successfully writes in the cuss-filled, computer slang-influenced language of the twenty-first century’s youth to make the novel accessible and real to today’s young readers without sacrificing the richness of the dialogue. Joey’s angst is palpable in every chapter --- the reader can feel his palms break into a sweat and his cheeks redden whenever he encounters his crush, Trisha, and can sense the knot forming in his stomach when he gets called into the principal’s office.

Any teen or young adult can find a bit of him- or herself in Joey. He suffers the same pains and anxieties that everyone deals with in high school, only more acutely and closely examined under Cameron’s microscope. Joey begins the novel feeling alone in his state-mandated foster life and doesn’t believe anyone can understand what he is going through. As his journey progresses, he finds that everyone in his life is dealing with their own personal struggles and many of those tribulations are not too different from his own. Even across different social classes, races and ages, Joey begins to find commonality between people where he once only saw barriers. This is a valuable lesson for any young person --- even when things at school or at home make you feel like you’re all alone and no one gets you, trust that there are people out there who understand and can be there for you if you reach out. Joey learns that no matter how fast he runs, he always runs into more problems when he tries to go it alone.

PROPERTY OF THE STATE, the first book in The Legend of Joey series, is a valuable read for any teen. Always entertaining and constantly filled with suspense, PROPERTY OF THE STATE will captivate its young audience. As they join Joey in his high school odyssey, readers will sympathize every time he agonizes over simple social interactions and widen their eyes when unthinkable danger befalls him. Cameron weaves together an artfully-crafted plot and makes PROPERTY OF THE STATE a lens young readers can use to better see and understand their own adolescent ordeals.

Reviewed by Rob Bentlyewski on June 7, 2016

Property of the State: Book 1 of The Legend of Joey
(The Legend of Joey #1)
by Bill Cameron

  • Publication Date: June 7, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult 13+
  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: The Poisoned Pencil
  • ISBN-10: 1929345224
  • ISBN-13: 9781929345229