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Book DetailsISBN: 9781847801005
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Book Review: When I Was Joe by Keren David - Reviewed by Aik (23 Jun 2011)
I started reading this book without high hopes. It is not as popular as some other young adult novels. However, this book managed to give me a surprise. I never thought it would be so good. It shows us how crimes can change the lives of people, and how alarming the crime rates in specific parts of London are.
Ty, an average 14-year-old teenager, witnessed a terrifying murder, and he made a statement to the police. When his house underwent a petrol-bomb attack, he was put under the witness protection program. He was given a new identity, new birthday, new school and a new place to stay. Now, he is known as Joe. Life as Joe is unexpectedly good, and he wishes to remain that way. But with the gangsters tracking his whereabouts and preparing to silence him before the trial, can he stay as Joe forever?
Ty / Joe is a realistic character. He easily brings me into his mind, immersing me in his thoughts and feeling his fear. I can feel his guilty and pain of leaving his loved ones behind, unprotected. I can fathom his awkwardness of being in a new place, knowing not a soul and feeling lonely as ever. He cares about his mother, Nicki, but he's sometimes aggravated by her inert behaviour. Nicki seems to be having difficulties of acknowledging her new life. She is forlorn and miserable. Sometimes she feels like a teenager rather than a mother of one.
Joe's best friend is a girl named Claire. Mousey, shy, timid Claire. She is often overlooked, because she easily blends with the background. She wants to stay invisible, if possible. She, too, has a terrible secret. When Joe discovers her dark little secret, she warns him to keep it safe from others. Joe promises her, and tells her his secret in exchange.
Keren David has convinced me of her abilities and talent with her debut, When I Was Joe. This book is thrilling, action-packed and harrowing, finished with a suitable dose of humour. You will absolutely love it!
KEREN DAVID was brought up in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire and went to school in Hatfield. She left school at 18 and got a job as a messenger girl on a newspaper. She was freelancing as a reporter on the old Fleet Street by her mid-twenties and, after living and working in Scotland for two years, was appointed as a news editor on the Independent at the age of 27. She and her family then went to live in Amsterdam for eight years where she was editor in chief of a photo-journalism agency. On returning to the UK in 2007 she decided to attend a course on writing for children at the City University. When I Was Joe started out as a project for that course. She lives in London with her husband and two children. Her other titles for Frances Lincoln are Almost True, Another Life and Lia's Guide to Winning the Lottery (9781847801913).
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