Published by: Frances Lincoln.
Released: 2nd September 2010.
Rating: 5/5 (Although as I said for When I Was Joe, a 10/5 would be more appropriate for this!!).
Official synopsis: "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."
If you have read my review of When I Was Joe by Keren (which can be found here), you'll know that I love Ty and his story and was excruciatingly excited for this book. And I'll tell you something, it doesn't disappoint for a single second!
Right from the beginning, Almost True hurtles along at break-neck speed. Ty is still on the run. But for now, he thinks he is safe. Until someone dies. A cast of mistaken identity. They've found him, and now he has to run again. But this time, things are different. His family no longer trust the police - and believe that there has been a leak of information, how else could they have found him in a small seaside town miles and miles away from London? They take things into their own hands and Ty is sent to live with complete strangers. Who soon turn out not to be so strange at all...
This book is certainly epic. So many events take place in this short period of Ty's life. He certainly has his fair share of anger - something I myself can relate to at his age (although I didn't launch myself at people...). I felt that this time, even more so than in When I Was Joe, he was more relate-able. I knew some of the things he was saying and feeling, and I felt for him where I haven't experienced things he has.
One thing I will say about both these books is that they are very thought provoking. There are questions raised that need to be thought about seriously in the real world. Knife crime. The consequences. And these books highlight this issue brilliantly. It shows that even people who are innocent - and have no intention to use a knife, despite holding one for whatever reason - can be drawn in to the danger and decay of knife crime. I'm lucky where I live that knife crime isn't really an every day thing. I think there have been only a handful of stabbings since I was born in the early 90's. But reading these books only makes me wonder how youngsters in the big cities feel as they go about their lives, where stabbings become a regular occurrence.
The writing is top notch. It's easy to get into, and from the first word, you know that it is a fourteen year old boy narrating. Keren David has got the narrative down to a tee. It's perfect, a feat which many would struggle with, so I have to commend Keren for this!
Something I really enjoyed about this book was all the little hints that showed universal appeal. Twilight, music references, a reference to manga phenomenon and film-adapted Death Note. All sorts that just made you believe you were reading the story of a fourteen year old boy, told by a fourteen year old boy.
Almost True is written with consummate skill. It's fast paced, hugely enjoyable and slightly addictive - I would not leave my room until I had finished! It ends Ty's story brilliant, or is it the end? I cannot thank Keren enough for another amazing reading experience. And I look forward to reading more from her in the future. If you haven't read When I Was Joe, then you need to get that seen to right away. You won't regret it, and then you can read this beauty of a book!
My thanks to Frances Lincoln for my copy! And to Keren for signing it!