18 May 2010

When I was Joe

by Keren David

Francis Lincoln Children’s Books. Young Adult. Paperback rrp $16.95
Guest Reviewer Jo Burnell

Witnessing a stabbing murder at 14 years of age is hard enough, but what if your own life is threatened by what you see? What if you have to disappear to stay alive? Ty Lewis is moved to safety under the British Witness Protection program. His name, appearance and life have to change beyond recognition until further notice.

‘How do you lie about everything?’

These words touch more deeply on the truth than I ever expected.

Although Joe’s story starts off slowly and takes a while to gather momentum, it’s worth holding on for the ride. Life seems to hit one downhill rollercoaster after another when you’re with Joe, much like a runaway train. The crazy thing is that he finds a deeper happiness as Joe than he ever did as Ty, but can it last?

Themes surrounding knives surface in several forms, as do issues like ‘lust’ versus ‘love’, and the need to belong.

I was frustrated by the last page, but I guess that just means it’s worth waiting for the sequel.


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