Sunday, 22 August 2010


This isn't the first time that someone's tried to silence me forever.
It's just the first time that someone else has died instead.

Ruthless killers are hunting Ty. The police move him and his mum to a quiet seaside town.  But a horrific attack and a bullet meant for Ty prove that he's not safe yet.

On the road again, Ty's in hiding with complete strangers... who seem to know a lot about him.  Meanwhile he's desperate to see his girlfriend Claire, and terrified that she may betray him.

Ty can't trust his own judgment, and he's making dangerous decisions that could deliver him straight to the gangsters. 


ALMOST TRUE ~ a tall tales & short stories review 

ALMOST TRUE is the highly-anticipated sequel to When I Was Joe and it's up and running with its first, powerful sentence - 'They come to kill me early in the morning.'

We join Ty, still in witness protection, and assuming his new identity of Jake.  Within the opening two pages we are thrown into the story with a shocking murder and a real sense of Ty's struggle to know who he is and where he belongs...

'For a bit I even forget that I'm supposed to be Jake and I can run myself back into my last identity, which was Joe, cool popular Joe.  I miss Joe.  It's good that I can be him when I run.  I never want to be Ty again, my real name, the basic me, but I still dream of being Joe.'

For this reader, the above extract sums up the over-arcing theme of the book; Ty's struggle to fit in, to deal with what's happened in his past, to feel part of a family he'd forgotten.  In, When I Was Joe, Ty seemed to be a boy in (almost) control, a boy who'd adopted his new persona and revelled in it.  Joe gave him courage and a mask to hide behind but in Almost True the mask he tries to wear is breaking down.  He is a teenage boy, lost and alone, surrounded by secrets and lies, threatened by enemies both real and imaginary.  He is vulnerable and brave,sensible and foolhardy, a boy on the edge.

In When I Was Joe it felt like Ty was on an adventure, as if the reality of his situation hadn't totally hit home, but in Almost True reality is truly catching up with him but Ty can't always distinguish between what's real and what isn't.  He's paranoid, scared and we witness his break down first-hand as Keren David's first-person narrative gets us inside Ty's head and provides a dynamic thrust to the story-telling.  I love Keren David's writing style, it's taut and natural and, as with When I Was Joe, the reader believes they are in the head of a teenage boy - a deceptively difficult thing to achieve with aplomb.

ALMOST TRUE is a must read for any teen and older readers.  A powerful, enthralling story that tackles topical subjects of knife crime, gang violence and identity.  And if you haven't read When I Was Joe I urge you to buy both books and read them in order, you certainly won't be disappointed.


It’s one thing watching someone get killed. It’s quite another talking about it.

But Ty does talk about it. He names some ruthless people and a petrol-bomb attack forces him and his mum into hiding under police protection.

Shy loser Ty gets a new name, a new look and a cool new image. Life as Joe is good. But the gangsters will stop at nothing to silence him. And then he meets a girl with a dangerous secret of her own.


When I was Joe ~ a tall tales & short stories review
(Taken from Keren David's interview on tall tales & short stories)

I was fortunate to be given the chance to read a pre-publication copy of When I Was Joe and I certainly wasn't disappointed.

Written in a first-person narrative, the story unfolds at a page-turning pace. The prose is taut and uncluttered which adds to the appeal and I really believed I was hearing a teenage boy's thoughts and speech. I believe this to be an essential quality when reading a contemporary novel such as this, especially considering some of the themes it explores. I believe it could help encourage a usually reluctant reader to pick up this book and enjoy the experience of reading a novel.

Having mentioned the apparent simplicity of the writing, which in itself is a very difficult thing to achieve and the author should be applauded, the novel itself covers many issues relevant to contemporary society.

This is definitely a multi-layered novel, emphasised by the intriguing character of Ty. During our teenage years we are developing into individuals, trying to break free of parental constraints. Ty is given the opportunity to recreate himself in a different guise, quite literally, and it makes for interesting reading. What would any of us do if we're given the opportunity to reinvent ourselves? Ty is a teenager given just that chance. He makes good and bad choices, he pushes boundaries, he experiments. It doesn't always make him likeable but certainly complex.

There are hints and suggestions of things not being quite what they seem which really drew this reader in and made her turn the pages in need to know the answers. Always a wonderful thing to pick up a book and not want to put it down until you know the full story.


1 comment:

Candy Gourlay said...

it's a cracker! everyone should read it!

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