- Reading level: Young Adult
- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (April 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1847801005
- ISBN-13: 978-1847801005
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!
Note: This book has some kissing scenes - nothing serious. Recommended to teenagers and adults alike.
I'd like to thank Becky from The Bookette for sending me a paperback copy of When I was Joe! I won this book on her blog.