Sunday, 2 May 2010
Almost True by Keren David * * * * *
Almost True is the sequel to Keren David's debut novel When I Was Joe but oddly I haven't read that. I was trying to get hold of a copy when Almost True arrived on my doorstep - a prize from the online book launch party thrown at Nayusreadingcorner for When I Was Joe, when the actual one had to be cancelled due to snow. So now I was faced with a dilemma - wait an unknown time for the postman to deliver Joe or read the sequel first. I was going to wait, which is after all the sensible thing to do, BUT I idly picked up Almost True, quickly skimmed the first few pages and decided I didn't want to wait but would read it straight away.
From that point on, the very first page, I was hooked.
Following a fatal stabbing, Ty and his family have been given new identities by the police, but this does not mean they are safe. Forced to move on, Ty is hidden with relatives he never knew he had but, torn between wanting to see his girlfriend and being terrified he's confided in her too much, he doesn't know who to trust and where to turn.
Almost True is an immensely enjoyable read - so gripping that I didn't want to put it down and sat up till 2am to finish it! I was pleased to find that it DID work as a stand-alone novel. There are enough references within it to sketch out the 'plot so far' but not enough to stop me from wanting to read "When I Was Joe" - after all there's a lot more to a novel than an outline of events and how they culminate.
Almost True is filled with believable characters, from 'wannabe cool' teenagers to middle-aged, middle class, with well-captured dialogue. The reader is carried along by events - action-packed, tense or funny - while the plot twists and turns -and really taken inside Ty's head as he tries to sort his friends from the villains, finding who to trust and ultimately discovering that he must come to terms with his past in order to have any future.
An exceptional read for teenagers and any adults who don't need to have psychos in their thrillers.