Almost True by Keren David

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Almost True by Keren David

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: A brilliant climax to the story Keren David started so successfully in When I Was Joe makes this a red hot recommendation for all fans of the superb original. If you haven't read that one yet, buy them both at once - you won't be disappointed if you like

action-packed but character driven YA novels.

Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: September 2010
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
ISBN: 978-1847801012

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My usual warning when reviewing sequels, there's no way on earth I can avoid some spoilers for the breathtaking When I Was Joe so bear that in mind when reading.

After revealing to his mother and the police that he'd told girlfriend Claire his secret at the end of When I Was Joe, Ty has been moved to a new safe house. Except the house isn't that safe after all, as we find out in a brutal first few pages when the gang on his trail murder his mother's boyfriend in a case of mistaken identity. Losing confidence in witness protection, his aunt takes him away from his mother and gran to be looked after by an elderly couple who he doesn't recognise at first. But while everyone else is trying to keep Ty safe, he's willing to risk discovery to make sure Claire is alright and hasn't succumbed to her own problems. Can he get in touch with her? Will the gang track him down once more, or will he make it to court to testify? And who are the couple he's staying with?

David answers all the above questions superbly well, tying up loose ends from the first book and adding in so much about Ty's background that it's well worth going back to the original and re-reading with the added knowledge gained from this novel. What's most impressive, though, is it never feels like that's what she's doing. She gradually awakens us to Ty's past while never losing focus on telling the story of his present. And as we read, we realise that the lies in his past date back to far before the stabbing which seemed to be the cause of all his problems...

I wasn't sure David could live up to a truly breathtaking debut with the first book of this pair but needn't have worried. This is again storytelling of the highest quality and is thought-provoking as well as exciting. I loved the gradual revelations and the realistic way in which Ty dealt with them, and thought that the mixture of some really complex new characters and the return of some of my favourites from the first book was fantastic.

If there's one criticism I'd make I was slightly underwhelmed by the ending - hard to say without giving much away but I'd expected something slightly different. Nevertheless this is still an extremely easy recommendation to make and I'm really looking forward to reading more from Keren David in the future.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: For another YA book which is simultaneously exciting and thought-provoking, I found Savita Kalhan's The Long Weekend to be amazing.

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Buy Almost True by Keren David at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Almost True by Keren David at


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