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. (Synopsis from Goodreads)
The very nature of the first novel in this trilogy, When I Was Joe, made it imperative that I started Almost True almost immediately after finishing it... and also the fact that the opening chapter of this book that was on the end acted like the teaser to end all teasers.
My reaction went something like this:
Oh, right. OK. So that's the complete opposite of a happy ending then
*drops everything else immediately and starts sequel*
This is such a genius start to a follow up. Just complete trashes any preconceptions I might have had about Ty's new life and opens up so many new dramatic doors, I was practically dribbling with excitement. If you've read my review of When I Was Joe, then you might have picked up on the fact that I considered that book rather swift in the pace department. Well, compared to Almost True, the first book could well be the young adult fiction equivalent of a toddler dragging it's heels. Let's just say a lot happens. In the same way I may have eaten a lot of Matchmakers over the Christmas period. But again, it's brilliantly done and suited the nature of the story and Ty's character perfectly. Just like eating lots of Matchmakers suits my character perfectly.
And so many twists and turns that I didn't see coming (although I don't see many of these sorts of things coming as a general rule). I don't want to ruin anything, but let's just say if you had any niggles about unanswered questions in the first book, you shall be niggle-free (almost) by the end of this one.
We've still got the ongoing drama of Ty's witness protection troubles, but now there is the added element of his own family secrets that come to the fore. I have to admit, I was far more intrigued by the latter throughout most of this book and the tension over Ty's recent criminal shenanigans tended to be overshadowed a bit. But his family secrets more than made up for this, culminating in some desperately heart-breaking revelations and much shedding of tears by this reader.
But the best thing about this book, and this series so far, I think, is Ty himself. He's so brilliantly flawed and so engaging because of this. And even though the situation he finds himself in isn't one that is going to be experienced by most teenagers, he decisions and thought processes always feel genuine and I think he might just be one of the most realistic protagonists I've ever encountered in YA.