When I Was Joe

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Joe has dark-hair and brown-eyes, he trains with the athletics squad and lots of the girls in his year fancy him.

But Joe's life is a lie. Joe's real name is Ty and he witnessed a boy being knifed. Once he talks to the police and names some names, ruthless, people are after him and he is rushed into a witness protection programme, where he and his mother adopt new identities.

But living a lie is hard for Joe, it's difficult to tell who his true friends are and he never escapes the fear of being hunted down.

Beautifully paced, this dark, powerful, shocking novel balances the taut suspense of a thriller with complex and delicately realised personal relationships and emotions. Not a comfortable read - but a striking one.

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