When I was Joe by Keren David

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  364

RAC:  Yes

Ty witnesses an attack in a park and decides to go to the police to explain what he saw.  He has no idea that by doing this he is placing his family and himself in terrible danger.  When he is allowed to go back to his apartment to pick up a few things the building he lives in is bombed.  Ty and his mom are sent into witness protection and Ty becomes Joe.  Joe’s life is a lot better than Ty’s and Ty starts to realize how much he hated his life before with the gang violence, bullies, and academic pressure from his mom.  As Joe starts to succeed, make friends, and even join sports teams he constantly fears that someone will find out who he is and turn him over to those who want to hurt him.  Plus, he is not telling the whole truth about what happened that fateful night in the park.  Can he forget his old life and become Joe forever?  Will he and his family be safe?  Will the truth ever come out?

This story is interesting in many ways and really encourages the reader to think about what it would mean to have to leave everything behind and become a new person.  It also realistically portrays how such a change can affect a family dynamic.  Ty’s story is realistic and you see many sides to him.  The story drags a bit near the end and readers will be frustrated to see his story does not come to a conclusion, but anyone who likes action and suspense will enjoy this title.  Recommended for teenage boys especially.

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