Joe All Alone, by Joanna Nadin

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Books  |  Published 7th May 2015  |  Edition: Kindle, via Netgalley

Counting down the days one by one, Joe Holt shares his ‘adventures’ of the week or so he is home alone.

Joe All Alone

No parents. No rules. No problem? Erm, think again…

From looking at the cover, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a variant of a Macaulay Culkin film – looks fun, doesn’t it?

Well, appearances can be deceptive. Being left alone in a flat would seem like any child’s dream, wouldn’t it? You can do what you want, say what you want, and eat what you want – but what if you couldn’t? What if your primary carers cleared off on a Spanish holiday and left you with nothing but the following basic instructions?:

1. Don’t leave the flat in case people see you. (They’ll report it to the authorities.)
2. Don’t talk to anyone (Refer to no. 1).

Being left behind (abandoned) by his mother and Dean, her current boyfriend, didn’t seem so bad for a short while…

Each day of the story holds its own joy, or new problem to confront.  But little Joe Holt is just a thirteen year old from Peckham. That is until he meets Asha by accident.

Despite building quite a bond with this feisty girl over a short number of days, with her bubble gum and strong opinions, Joe doesn’t tell her the truth about him being alone at first.

When Joe’s folks fail to return home he’s forced to use his initiative to find a more permanent solution to his problems. But when you’ve been told you’re pretty useless and relentlessly start counting stuff under stress, it’s hard to believe you can achieve anything at all.

But never fear! It’s not all total bleakness. In between bullying, a nasty thug who’s watching the flat, and supplies running out, Joe’s quirkiness remains, together with his humour, optimism and a very special friendship.

Hope (if you can call it that) does raise its head, but in a totally unexpected way.  The ending wasn’t exactly what I’d have liked, but I suppose you don’t get everything in life, just like Joe Holt of Peckham.

Rating: 4/5

(My sincere thanks to the publisher for the advanced copy I received via Netgalley.)

You can follow the author on Twitter: @joannanadin | Publisher: @LBKidsUK



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