Reader Reviewed Valentine Joe by Rebecca Stevens

Valentine Joe

Written by Rebecca Stevens

11+ readers   Debuts of the Month   9+ readers   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

One of our Books of the Year 2014 - May 2014 Debut of the Month Bringing the past alive through a timeslip is an excellent way of getting under the skin of the very young soldiers serving at the front in the First World War. On a trip to Ypres with her grandfather, Rose is deeply moved by the grave of a fifteen year old soldier, Valentine Joe. That night, she finds herself suddenly back in the days of the war. When she meets the young soldiers she is determined to try to change their destiny. But can she? A thought-provoking, original and deeply moving story which brings the war vividly to life.

A Piece of Passion from Barry Cunningham, Publisher, Chicken House Can we ever imagine life for ordinary ‘Joes’ in the chaos and confusion of the First World War trenches? Well, here in this moving, heartbreaking and warm story Rebecca Stevens does just that – she takes a modern young girl back to meet a boy soldier and his dog. They learn a lot together – but more importantly they help each other come to terms with what’s happening in both their worlds, when death becomes part of everyday life. Sorry, I couldn’t help crying. IT MUST NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading4kids expert opinion some of our Kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. When Rose goes to Ypres to visit the grave of her great-uncle who died in the First World War, she sees the grave of a 15-year-old boy called Valentine Joe. That night strange things happen, and she finds herself in the past with Joe. But can she save him? This superb time-shift novel is also a sensitive study of grief. (Ages 9–12)
~ Andrea Rayner

Reader Reviews

  • Elizabeth Moffat, age 10 - 'I think this book is stunning and I was really intrigued to read on each night when I was reading it in bed.' Read full review >
  • Sam Harper, age 10 - 'This is a fantastic story. It made me stop and think about the lives of young soldiers in the First World War and I learnt a lot. A brilliantly written, thought provoking book.' Read full review >
  • Jodi Coffman, age 12 - 'This is a magical book.  Quite mysterious at first but the plot soon comes to light.  Rose is a loving likeable character who I wanted to get to know better and her adventures with Joe are captivating.' Read full review >
  • Traviss Chaytors, age 10 - 'Brilliant book from start to finish, I could not put it down!I would recommend this book to anybody who loves war and emotion as this almost made me cry at the end!' Read full review >
  • Jack Wilson, age 11 - 'Spectacularly written and immersing to all ages and all interests.' Read full review >
  • Daisy Ingram, age 12 - 'I didn't really like this book...It was a good idea, and I'm sure other people would enjoy it, but it just wasn't for me.' Read full review >
  • James Lawrence Griffith, age 10 - 'This war story would suit all history lovers with an interest of the life of a soldier in World War One.' Read full review >
  • Nicola Laverty, Adult - 'would also recommend it to adults.  A really enjoyable read!' Read full review >
  • Annie Graham, age 11 - 'The book is a lovely mysterious tale and it is really good.  I would recommend it to people who love an adventure.' Read full review >
  • Aimee Sweet, age 13 - 'This book really is entrancing, and so vivid...I love all of the characters, and especially the twist at the end that made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. I am actually quite speechless by it.' Read full review >
  • Charlotte Rosevear, age 10 - 'WOW!!! ... I could not put the book down! This story is a very well written and was loved by all the family.' Read full review >
  • Tricia Clement - 'A book for all ages to enjoy.' Read full review >
  • Alexander Boxall, age 11 - 'I greatly enjoyed the way the writer carried me on the journey with the characters, Grandad, Rose, Joe and Tommy (the dog!).' Read full review >
  • Liam Pickering, age 11 - 'I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was an emotional journey into the past and an insight into what life was like for real people in an all too real situation.' Read full review >


Valentine Joe by Rebecca Stevens

Inspired by the real life story of Valentine Joe Strudwick, one of the youngest Tommies to die on the Western Front of World War One and whose grave is one of the most visited.

Rose's granddad takes her on a trip to Ypres, Belgium to visit the graves of those who died in the Great War. It's the day before Valentine's, but Rose can sense the shattered old city beneath the chocolate-box new. And it seems that it can sense her too. When she goes up to her room that night, she hears the sound of marching feet and glimpses from her window a young soldier on his way to the front line.

About Valentine Joe Strudwick: Little is known about Valentine Joe Strudwick, who was born on 14th february 1900, He joined up at the age of 14 and served for a year in the war. He survived being gassed but was later killed by a shell on 14th January 1916 - just one month before his 16th birthday.

The author's own family story was her inspiration. Her grandfather Freddie,was a headstrong London boy, who ran away at 15 to join the Scottish Regiment, the Seaforth Highlanders. The collection of letters he sent from the front line remain in the author's possession now and have been essential in imagining the life of a teenage soldier on the front line.

About the Author

Rebecca Stevens

Rebecca Stevens has always been highly creative. She has worked as an actor, a standup comedian and a script writer for children’s television, writing for shows such as Mr Bean and Postman Pat. Valentine Joe is her first solo book project.

Rebecca lives in Brighton with her family.

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Book Info


160 pages


Rebecca Stevens
More books by Rebecca Stevens


Chicken House Ltd

Publication date

1st May 2014




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