Review: Almost True (When I Was Joe #2) – Keren David

Synopsis from Goodreads.
Ruthless killers are hunting Ty so 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.

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 judgement and he’s making dangerous decisions that could deliver him straight to the gangsters.

A thrilling sequel to When I Was Joe, shot through with drama and suspense.

I’m the baby of my family. I’d like to say I got away with everything but… well, I never did anything that I needed to get away with.
OK, I was a terror, but it’s pretty impossible to stay angry at someone with my freckles.

Being the youngest, I’ve obviously never experienced what it would be like to have a little brother or sister. I can imagine, of course. Infuriating. Squabbling continuously. Annoying. Saying stupid things. Always getting involved on your conversations. Making stupid decisions. Stealing your hair dye. But you love them unconditionally anyway.

This is why I’m officially adopting Ty as my little brother. This kid… urgh. I mentioned in my review for When I Was Joe that I wanted to throttle him. In this book? Take that and double it. I want to get into a proper scrap with him, hair pulling and scratching and rolling around on the floor kind of scrap. I wanted to pull the plug from his Playstation when he’d just finished a really hard bit in his game… before he’d had chance to save it.

I know, I’m twisted.

Before you think that I’m ranting about this book, I want to make something clear. I’ve read a lot of books where the main characters are infuriating. They make stupid decision. They’re horrible. They don’t face the consequences. And this is because the author doesn’t know what to do with their characters.

This isn’t what I’m saying about Ty.
He’s fifteen and he’s in possibly the most frightening situation a kid could be into. Of course he’s going to make mistakes and get himself into ridiculous situations. It wouldn’t be real if he didn’t.
Sure I wanted to slap Ty around the back of the head and try and knock some sense into his thick skull but this is pretty much why I love Ty as a character. He lives and he breathes and he exists. He makes his mistakes and he doesn’t always learn from them but he’s got such a good heart.
So even though I’d probably do what Claire did and kick him in the shin, I’d also protect him with my life. If you hurt him, I’d fight dirty. Or… um… well, you know… set Ty on you because he could probably do a better job than I could.

But hey, that’s what big sisters are for, right?
I think I’ll always have a soft spot for the damaged boys of YA. Ty definitely has some Mackee-avellian traits. He’s a bit of a Mackee in the Making. A Mini-Mackee, if you will.

This book was excellent. I loved When I Was Joe because it was different and because of the characters. I loved Almost True because it surprised me and because of the story. And of course the characters were there too, with a few very welcome additions. (ILY, PATRICK)
I don’t want to go too much into the actual story but finding out more about Ty and his past, the one he knew and the one he didn’t, was such a wonderful and unexpected surprise. Before I started reading this book, I had no clue where the story would go but I would never have guessed that it would go there. Perhaps it’s not as dangerous and gritty as the first book, but it was a lot more of in depth and made me think a lot more. Also, I really liked Archie. And Shrek 3 is pretty crap.

There are a lot of issues that are covered in this book and, again, I don’t want to talk about them specifically because it would pretty much ruin it. But I loved how Ms David handled these issues with tact and subtlety because without this, it could have turned into one big mess of ridiculous angst. I think if you’re going to deal with a lot of uncomfortable ideas you should use them sparingly so the reader can reach their own conclusions and put things together. There is nothing worse than an author telling you you should be feeling sad at this bit. Luckily, it seems Ms David and I are on the same wavelength on this idea.
My favourite of these storylines, and this will mean nothing to you if you’ve not read this, was Nicki’s. So sad.

I missed a few things that I loved in When I Was Joe, however. I missed Ty’s running because I adored that aspect of the first book. But mostly I missed Claire. Sure she features in this book but I wanted more because I love what Ty is like when he’s with her. And I love what she’s like when she’s with him. I think there were some aspects of her side of the story that were kind of brushed over a little bit and some of the explanations surrounding her were, I don’t know… not focussed on as much as I’d have liked them to be. But I understand that this book wasn’t about that side of things but still… I really like Claire.
One more thing before I urge you to read When I Was Joe and then this one, I loooooved the ending to this one. Nothing is neat and there are a lot of questions that aren’t answered because there are some questions that can’t be answered. Not if you want a true-to-life contemporary story. I’m so glad that Ms David chose to end things realistically and had all her characters face up to the consequences of their actions and mistakes. And that’s all I’m saying about that.

OK, I’m done.

Go read now.

7 thoughts on “Review: Almost True (When I Was Joe #2) – Keren David

  1. Mini-Mackee – cutest term, ever!

    Also, freckled girls unite!

    So, I haven’t heard anything about this book until now but it’s refreshing to know that a character can be annoying but still be part of a book that you really, really like.

    Also, yes, younger siblings can be v.v.annoying :/

    • Yes! Freckles are the best. :)

      Thanks Mandee, it’s good to read about a character who is realistic (flaws ‘n’ all) but who doesn’t make you want to lob your Kindle across the room. Hope you get to read it soon!

  2. You’d have to be a really evil person to even consider pulling someone’s Playstation cord out when they hadn’t gotten to save. You are quite the devil, eh? Like the other two, I cracked up and totally loved your comparison to Tom. And once again, I am happy you’re making your way through more UK YA.

  3. Pingback: On Writing: Keren David on British Contemporary « weartheoldcoat

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