Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

When I Was Joe by Keren David

When I Was Joe

by Keren David

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11610104,032 (3.93)2
  1. 00
    Fakie by Tony Varrato (JRlibrary)
    JRlibrary: Both books involve boys placed in a witness relocation program. Also try Zach's Lie (book one) and Jack's Run (book two by Roland Smith.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Teenage novel. It ended very abruptly, so if you're interested in the outcome it would seem that you have to read the next book. ( )
  .cris | May 31, 2016 |
I really liked the style of writing in this book which is warm and funny. Although the story deals with the tricky subject of a boy and his mother who are taken into witness protection following a knife crime incident, the first-person narrator has a wry sense of humour which lightens what could otherwise be a grim read. The only reason I didn't give it four stars was because I got a teeny bit bored by all the school stuff and the athletics training. But I'm sure a teenager would really relate to some of the everyday situations in this book. ( )
  MargaritaMorris | Oct 16, 2014 |
So many kids' books contemplate what would happen if we really could change our lives. What if I'm secretly a princess or a fairy queen, what if I could be an astronaut or an adventurer? What if I could be the most popular kid in school?

WHEN I WAS JOE by Keren David takes this common premise and twists it to create a thriller of a teen novel: a child's dream and nightmare rolled into one. Ty goes into the witness protection program to become Joe. He gets a new look, money for stylish clothes, even colored contacts. He's pushed back a grade at his cushy school, so he's head of the class, tall, muscular, and the boy every girl wants. Except he still carries a knife, sees the blood over and over again in his mind, and quickly discovers "the gangsters will stop at nothing to silence him."

Is your heart racing yet? Mine sure was!

Every chapter of WHEN I WAS JOE ends on a cliffhanger, so I tore my way through the book, stopping only to check how many pages I had left (thankfully JOE's over 300! Thankfully there's a sequel coming out this year!).

Besides its killer premise, Keren populates her novel with remarkably real people. Ty/Joe is a typical 14-year-old boy: sexually charged, making dumb mistakes, utterly focused on his image above everything else. Yet the reader can also see into his heart and feel his fear. I laughed my ass off and cheered for Ty the whole way through. The characters who surround Ty are equally well-developed: his poor Mum goes through her own devastating transformation in the witness protection program, his coach is a driven athlete competing for a spot in the paralympics, her younger sister, shy, hidden Claire, is hiding a dangerous secret of her own. I even loved Ashley, the mean girl Joe initially falls for--how true to real life she was!

And I loved Keren's East London setting. At the beginning of the novel, Ty and his mum live above a newsagent who shares man-to-man advice with him and teaches him Urdu. He learns Turkish from the nearby kebab shop, Polish from a hotel worker. Keren perfectly captures the thrill of a multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic neighborhood. And her characters reflect this as well. It never felt like a set of boxes to be ticked (Indian, check, wheelchair-user, check), only real life. If only more authors would celebrate diversity like this. ( )
  annemlanderson | Mar 31, 2013 |
Tyler witnesses something that makes some people want him dead, so he and his mother have to enter a witness protection program and get relocated. He gets a new identity and a new name, as does his mother, and he starts at a new school, one grade younger than his previous school. He gets pretty attached to life as Joe; he gets his first serious girlfriend, Ashley, and later, his first friend, Claire. But Joe has a big secret, and so does Claire. How long can those secrets stay hidden? I liked Jack's Run, and Jack's Lie by Roland Smith a LOT better than this book, so if you can only read one, check out the first one by Roland Smith. ( )
  JRlibrary | Jul 5, 2011 |
Ty witnesses a murder in the park by his home. Next thing he knows, he and his mother are whisked into the witness protection program, and told to lie low. He gets a new name in a new place. Joe is cooler than Ty ever was. Ty likes being Joe. But the gangsters keep threatening his family and trying to track him down. ( )
  lilibrarian | May 19, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

After Ty and his mother are placed in a witness protection program because he can identify his friend's murderers, he finds himself adjusting, but when his grandmother is hurt in a deliberate attack designed to get him to return to London, he knows he must make a choice.… (more)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
13 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.93)
2 2
3 5
3.5 2
4 12
4.5 2
5 7

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 118,652,304 books! | Top bar: Always visible