Valentine Joe by Rebecca Stevens
Have you ever stopped reading a book and it took you a minute or two to realise that you’re actually at home and not living between the pages? That’s exactly what Valentine Joe did for me.
I opened the book, and a few chapters in, I was thinking, ‘Really?’ The idea of it seemed absurd and downright weird to be honest. But as I continued reading, I fell in love with the book.
The whole reading process only took about two hours in total, so if you don’t think you have enough time, RE-THINK. YOU DO.
Now that that is over, maybe I can tell you why you should read it.
Ever wondered about those young men in the trenches? The ones who had who had lost their friends? The ones who had no desire to go home?
Valentine Joe was one of those.
A real boy, who died at age 15. His grave can be found at Essex Farm in Ypres. Stevens takes Joe’s name on a grave and turns it into a real-life, heart-felt story.
Rose, aged only fourteen, lost her dad a year ago. She goes to Ypres with her Grandad, who wants to pay his respects to his Uncle George. She visits the graveyard, and the name of one boy stands with her: Valentine Joe. That night, Rose hears marching, and when she looks out of her window, she sees a young soldier…
In a scattered way (you’ll understand what I mean when you read it), Valentine Joe tells a beautiful love story of two youngsters split by years. It changes the way you think about time, even just for a moment or two, and its tragic tale made me well up with tears at the end. Something I seem to be doing a lot recently (I blame it on the hormones), but I was forced to actually wipe my eyes as I was temporarily blinded.
The book may make you angry, but it’ll also tug at your heart-strings.
And if I haven’t said enough already, there’s a time-travelling dog who is just absolutely adorable.
You’ll also love the ending.
What are you waiting for? Go and read it!
Not your ‘normal’ book review, but I hope I’ve encouraged you to find this unique novella – especially given the year we’re in now. Try it.