The most famous boy in the world is a prisoner. He’s been charged with a crime he didn’t commit, a crime that could send him to prison for the rest of his life. Languishing within The Compound, the most secure juvenile facility in California, while the district attorney vows to make an example of him because of his celebrity status, Lance must endure the daily indignities of the incarcerated.
New Camelot is fractured without him. Ricky and Chris are bereft, living for the weekly phone call that becomes their only lifeline to the brother they so desperately love, while Arthur and Jenny feel the loss of their son with a sadness that can’t be quelled. And what about Michael, the highly volatile teen who helped write the proposition that will change California forever? Could he really be the monster he says he is? His hatred of Ricky is palpable, and his instability may well threaten the lives of everyone at New Camelot.
As the election looms closer, Proposition 51 takes on an even greater significance in light of the pending trial of the century. The more harshly fifteen-year-old Lance is treated within the broken justice system, the more he contemplates the wisdom of his idea that children need more adult rights. If The Child Voter Act becomes law, won’t it simply allow adults to throw more kids into prison with impunity?
Whichever way the voters decide, his greatest fear remains the same: will he ever again be with the people he loves?
The Knight Cycle Continues…
While working hard to secure children’s rights, with the choice before state voters to either always treat kids 14 and up as adults or always as children, Lance finds himself becoming an unwitting poster child for the criminal justice system. Once again Bowler casts a frank eye at the unpleasant side of what reality is like for too many of today’s youth and makes us look it square in the face. Lance’s experience shows the good with the bad, making for a balanced look that challenges the reader to consider how things can be improved, benefitting society at large as well as the individual.
Lance continues with his struggle for identity and the situation he finds himself in doesn’t help matters. It does however give him a lot of time to think. What makes a person a monster? Does a person doing something horrible make them irredeemable? And what about doing one thing to redress one wrong, while unintentionally opening the door for more possible abuse? Lance’s very incarceration is thanks to such an occurrence, from laws designed to keep dangerously violent offenders off the streets trickling down to children who only MAY have committed a violent crime. It’s a study in the very nature of checks and balances and the need to look at the individual and the facts before to rushing to judgements, whether personal or legal. It’s also a good hard look at the nature of love and of self acceptance. Kimi deems it another must read for both youths and adults.