When Ty witnesses a stabbing, his own life is in danger from the criminals he's named, and he and his mum have to go into police protection. Ty has a new name, a new look and a cool new image - life as Joe is good, especially when he gets talent spotted as a potential athletics star, special training from an attractive local celebrity and a lot of female attention. But his mum can't cope with her new life, and the gangsters will stop at nothing to flush them from hiding. Joe's cracking under extreme pressure, and then he meets a girl with dark secrets of her own. This wonderfully gripping and intelligent novel depicts Ty/Joe's confused sense of identity in a moving and funny story that teenage boys and girls will identify with - a remarkable debut from a great new writing talent.
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
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
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).
School is the only place where I feel calm. Everywhere
else I'm looking out for exploding shops and heavies
bursting from the shadows. It's completely exhausting
because nothing actually ever happens, so I'm wasting
tons of energy watching and worrying.
But once I go through the school gates I feel better.
No one can find me here. I'm camouflaged among
hundreds of other kids all dressed the same. It's not
like London where everyone looks different. In the
playground, pretty much everyone is the same colour,
has the same sort of look. I never even knew you could
be this invisible.
My invisibility doesn't hold up in the classroom
though. My class is full of babies. The boy who sits
on my left - Max - is about seven inches smaller than
me, and his voice is as high as James Blunt's. The girl
in front of me - Claire - is even smaller. She looks like
an eight-year-old who's borrowed a uniform five sizes
too big for her.
I'd been quite interested in the idea of sharing
a classroom with girls. But even the ones who look
thirteen seem incredibly young. There're only one or two
who make a real effort with make up and stuff.
Among this lot I really stick out. I'm the tallest.
I sometimes look like I might need to shave. I know
everything - it's so helpful that St Saviour's was
unbelievably strict and made us work so hard. Redoing
year eight is a breeze. A boring one.
Today I'm dozing in English class, thinking about
a picture I once saw in a magazine of a woman member
of a tribe somewhere in Indonesia. Her left hand had
only two fingers; the rest had been hacked off, one finger
for every family member she'd lost. It was her tribe's way
of remembering the dead. I can't see it catching on in
England, but right now I think it's got possibilities.
People would know something about you right from the
start, without asking questions. So you never forget,
and you carry the truth on your body.
Some losses don't really deserve a whole finger
though. When my dad left, I was only about two and he
just kind of faded out of my life. Now he's gone forever,
I suppose. He'd never find us even if he looked.
Maybe he's worth a little toe. What about losing a friend?
Binding: Paperback, 384 pages ISBN: 9781847803795 Format: 198mm x 129mm
BIC Code:YFB BISAC Code:JUV001000 Imprint: Frances Lincoln Children's Books