Home > Science Fiction > When I was Joe by Keren David

When I was Joe by Keren David

When I was Joe by Keren David. Pub. Francis Lincoln Children’s Books, 2010.

Just before Ty turns fourteen he witnesses the murder by stabbing, of a black boy, involving his life long friend Aaron, and two associates who have connections with the criminal world of East London. Ty lives in a hard world in which carrying a knife is considered part of the school uniform.

Ty is prepared to testify against those that did the murder so they petrol bomb his home forcing him and his mother Nicky to go under the witness protection scheme. They move out of London, change names and appearance and try to adapt to a new life. Ty becomes Joe and adopts a different persona in which he is confident, becomes fit, mixes with girls, and he generally likes the person he has become.

Then things change again after his Gran is brutally beaten in his old neck of the woods. Will Ty aka Joe and his mother adapt again? Do they want to? What will happen to the new life and relationships that they have made? Will Ty testify?

Well you find out some of the answers but not all. This book has a sequel called Almost True which hopefully will be out this year and I for one will be looking forward to reading it. So will you I think.

A very readible novel which looks at teenage culture, problems and relationships within the context of this murder. A powerful look at the  deteriorating  world for young people particularly at school, in big cities. A topic that many British writers of young adult fiction explore. Read The Knife that killed me by Anthony McGowan and see what I mean.

This is compulsive reading and  there is hope. Ty aka Joe aka Jake has a social conscience, is doing the right thing under extreme pressure and meets some caring people along the way.

Has a cover that will appeal to boys in particular, they will certainly pick it up, but there are some interesting girl characters in this book as well, so it has something for everybody.

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