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Monday, November 2, 2015

YA Review: Almost True

Almost True by Keren David

Published: This edition published March 13th, 2012 by Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Genre: YA Thriller
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 437 plus acknowledgements and such in my copy
Part of a series? Yes, it's book 2 of the "When I Was Joe" series, and there's one more that follows. Read my review of When I was Joe here.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Ruthless killers are still hunting Ty. 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 yet.

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 danger decisions that could deliver him straight to the gangsters.

Review: I end up feeling about the same way about this one as I did with When I Was Joe. There was a lot I liked, but the way women and girls were treated in it really bothered me at times. And again, there were female characters I liked, but it really rubbed me the wrong way when others were treated so badly, with such contempt, even. I have such a hard time recommending it because of that, even though I think a lot of people would like it.

Plot Talk: This one opens with a lot more action, and I think that stays true throughout the book. Ty (previously known as Joe, but he identifies as Ty much more now, so I will refer to him as that now to respect his wishes about his chosen name) is in a lot more immediate danger than in the first book, and more stuff happens, basically. The plot in this one definitely kept my attention better.

Characters: Ty has grown a lot since the first book. He's still not even fifteen, so he still does make bad decisions, and in this book he is pretty obviously suffering from some PTSD, which is addressed explicitly in the book (and I really enjoyed seeing that!). In addition to the "life in danger" plot, he also ends up finding out more about his family and how things he thought were true actually weren't.

I liked the new characters introduced (especially Archie) for the most part. One of my biggest pet peeves, though, was how almost nobody in the book actually took it seriously that Ty's life was in danger. They legit nearly got him killed because they didn't want to believe he was in danger. It's bad enough when he didn't, because, hey, fifteen, but basically every adult in his life?? Frustrating!

I also liked learning about the characters we already knew, and finding out secrets and what things I had suspected were true being true.

PG-13 stuff: Violence, cursing, self-harm, eating disorders, some talk of sex although nothing on-screen besides some kissing, child abuse. I can't think of anything else right now because it's morning and I don't like mornings.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: Again, girl bashing. It's better in this one, and there are more female characters who are positive. FAR less slut-shaming, but I think the biggest one that really bothered me was the apparent need to bash girls who like Twilight, and imply that liking a popular book series made their entire personality change, and they only got better when they stopped liking it so much. It's just so... "you're not like other girls". Girls don't need to read that about themselves, and boys don't need to read that about girls.

Cover comments: Again, I like this cover. I like how it matches the first one. They look really cool next to each other. Different, but similar enough to match. It suits the book, again.

Conclusion: I would give these books a much higher rating if it weren't for the girl-bashing. I'm not comfortable, really, recommending them to a young audience because of that. We don't need more hatred of teenaged girls out in the world. And I think it bothers me more in a second book because you have more experience as a writer. So I end on a conflicted note, in that I really did enjoy this book, and I really want the third one, but I have a hard time thinking about putting them in the hands of a teenaged girl, especially. I think this one again can only get three roses from me, because of the misogyny.

Other notes:

- Seriously, not a single library in SASKATCHEWAN has the third book, Another Life, and it's narrated by Archie and I really want it. I really hate leaving a series unfinished like this. WHY, WORLD, WHY?

Peace and cookies,