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When I Was Joe Paperback – 7 Jan 2010

46 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books; Reprint edition (7 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847801005
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847801005
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 356,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Growing up in a small town in Hertfordshire, Keren David had two ambitions: to write a book and to live in London. Several decades on, she has finally achieved both. She was distracted by journalism, starting out at 18 as a messenger girl, then working as a reporter, news editor, features editor and feature writer for national newspapers and magazines. She has lived in Glasgow and Amsterdam, where in eight years she learned enough Dutch to order coffee and buy fruit and vegetables. She is now back in London and lives with her husband, two children and their insatiably hungry guinea pigs.
Keren wrote her first novel When I Was Joe as a project for a course in writing for Children at City University. Starting the course to publishing the novel took exactly two years.
Keren blogs at www.wheniwasjoe.blogspot.com

Product Description

Review

Wow. I'm just in a sort of daze at the moment, because I have just finished one of the best books I have ever read. Honestly, I have had one of the most outstanding reading experiences ever. When I Was Joe is amazing!

(Booked Up! blog )

'Beautifully written. ... A gripping read.'

(The Library Mouse )

Selected in Top Ten Favourite UK Young Adult Fiction - 'David’s taut style, fast paced plot, and believable characterisation make these books completely impossible to put down. She’s created a male narrator who is really easy to like and who has a truly compelling story.'

(UKYA blog )

About the Author

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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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By N. Schmidt on 28 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
When I Was Joe is one of the most "unputdownable" novels I have ever read. It is a vivid and gripping story written by an author unafraid to tackle the grittiest of subjects. 14 year old Ty/Joe, the principle character of the book, is in the witness protection programme having witnessed and given evidence on an incident of knife crime. His world has spun out of control and as he tries to hold on to some vague semblance of "normal" and his own identity, events and his decisions seem intent on leading him down a dangerous path of destruction.
In Joe, author Keren David had created a powerful and poignant character with a voice which is both strong and full of integrity and credibility. She writes with clarity and tremendous honesty and has a produced a gritty, well-crafted and fearless story which tackles powerful themes.
When I Was Joe is a truly remarkable debut novel and it will spin you along by the seat of your pants, leaving you breathless by the time you reach the end. I can't wait for the sequel, Almost True, to hit the shelves.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By DickyJim on 12 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
After finishing the CHERUB stories by Robert Muchamore i was at a loss for what to read. I found this book in the "Recommended for you section".

I could not put it down! the main thread of the story runs all the way to the end dropping hints but never giving to much away. The story makes you question whether Ty/Joe has any responsibility with the major event. I was wrapped in the plot that is intense and original.

To counter any negative reviews: the writer usually bases the age of their prime character on their intended audience so that they can relate to the character and thus the story. The main character is 14 nearly 15 an so this book is intended for young adults and i would even recommend it for adults as well.

I've just started the sequel "Almost True" and its as good if not better!! I think Keren David is going to be an author to look out for in the future.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. L. E. Edwards on 24 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
My mum picked out this book for me when we were shopping for holiday reads and at first I wasn't too sure. I read the book and it sounded like the sort of books I read. When I got home I decided to read a few pages before the holiday just to see what it was like, I couldn't put it down. I had read about 100 pages instead of the few I thought I would read!

Basically this book is about a boy named Joe who witnesses a crime. He has to go into a witness protection program because there are people who want to 'hurt him' for telling the police. He then moves away and changes his appearance, name, personality... everything. His is now called Ty. He turns into a sporty dude and gains attention from the most popular girl at his new school. However he has problems with other boys in school and gets a bit... bullied. Ty then has move troubles in his life which make the book amazing. Things that you wouldn't expect to happen, happen. So many things in this book make it what it is.

I would highly recommend this book to anybody!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. B. S. Kemp on 26 July 2011
Format: Paperback
Ty's voice, expertly created, draws you into this book and doesn't let you go. The central voice of Ty is definitely a key strength of this book. He narrates the story, gradually sharing more of what happened 'that day', and regularly revealing his feelings (albeit not always deliberately). He is a wholly sympathetic character and you are desperate for things to go well for him, but at the same time he is a realistically drawn teenager. This means his choices aren't always the best ones, and there are some wonderful moments where he clearly doesn't grasp the subtleties of what is going on around him. A sentence that sums up the delightful 'teenageness' of him for me is:
'Yeah,' I say and she says, 'You know, Ty, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger,' which is pretty amazing because I would have thought that Maureen'd be way too old to have even heard of Kanye West.

The story is pacey; helped by starting after the incident that ruptures Ty's world, which means the truth of what he saw is delivered in a tantalising trickle throughout the novel. And there are fantastic twists. At one point, I did such a sharp intake of breath that the woman next to me on the train was laughing at me!

At the same time as dealing with this big central incident that drives the story, the bulk of the novel is ultimately about fitting in and being accepted. Ty's life is complicated by having to move to a new area and live as someone else. This gives David lots of scope to explore 'normal' teen stuff like negotiating friendships and romantic/sexual feelings, together with all that angst about who or what is 'cool'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Adam Stewart on 9 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
I have always had a terrible habit with books. I will read one chapter of a book and if i don't like it, it is put out of sight on my tallest shelf never to be seen again. With 'When I was Joe' i read one page and had to read the next, read another page and had to see what happened on the next.. Before i realized it, i was over a hundred pages in and clinging onto the book as if my life depended on it. So my advice and challenge to anybody wondering whether or not to give 'When I was Joe' a go, read the first chapter and see if you can put it down.
Reading this novel will take you on a journey where you will meet characters who you will connect with and understand, all of whom felt very familiar to me. From start to finish, the novel was impossible to put down. I found myself taking it places with me as if it were my baby. Give it a chance and see for yourselves.
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