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Secret Heart

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  291 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
The transformative power of imagination and beauty flows through this story of a boy who walks where others wouldn't dare to go, a boy with the heart of a tiger, an unlikely hero who knows that sometimes the most important things are the most mysterious.
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published October 8th 2002 by Delacorte Press (first published January 1st 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Anthony Burt
You know when you were a little kid and the world was full of wonder. Grasslands became forests. Cats became tigers. And so forth. Kind of an ethereal, interconnecting dream world. That's what David Almond has produced with this little book about Joe, a dreamer kid who meets a bunch of circus performers when they visit his town.

It's about growing up and deciding who you want to be, and about the existence of magic and bad people, as well as inspirational ones too.

I liked the story, but the kind
Kristen Darienzo
May 03, 2017 Kristen Darienzo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misc
Cool premise, but it didn't really speak to me. I couldn't really get into it.
Alysse Norton
Oct 30, 2015 Alysse Norton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A ninth grade boy named Joe Maloney feels out of place. He feels out of place because he sees and hears things other people can not. Everybody picks on him because of how strange he is. Other kids call him only Maloney lalala…. Then a circus come to Helmouth where Joe lives. He met a trapeze artist named Corinna and they became friends. After knowing Corinna a tiger comes for him.
“Joe’s mind is always somewhere else: on the weird creatures he sees in the distant sky, the songs he hears in the a
"He glides unfelt into their secret hearts"
'Absalom and Achitophel', by John Dryden

I really like this book, its style, its sense of imagination and scope, its strange characters, its beautiful descriptions plus the opening chapters were just magical.

My only point of complaint is that I expected more based on all the praises I had read for 'Secret Heart'... 1)This gripping book will enrich your soul and fire your imagination, 2) His best book yet and 3) Almond is a master novelist and this book
Breanna Gilmore
Dec 08, 2014 Breanna Gilmore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have recently read a book titled Secret Heart by David Almond. This book is very interesting for all of you readers that love adventure books and how it is solved. Well this is what this book is all about. The main character is named Joe Manoly and one day he thought of a great idea. “I really want to go on a adventure” Joe muttered. Joe thought of the idea a little bit longer when he finally figured out on where he wanted to go for the adventure.

I loved this book because of all of the choic
Jo Bennie
Feb 14, 2012 Jo Bennie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a
Young Joe Maloney does not fit. He stutters, is constantly bullied by the children of the bleak suburbanan town of Helmouth and cannot seem to stop truanting. Alone he wanders the wastelands around the nearby motorway, he sees things others do not and though his mother, raising him alone, his carney father gone before he was born, she worries for him.

Then one night he dreams of a tiger, Almond's description weaving its rank smell and the feel of its fur and awesome power thorough our minds. He w
I guess I didn't get it.

(view spoiler)
Sep 26, 2008 Samuel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars.

It had good character development and was interesting like all of David Almond's books, but I didn't feel it was as gripping as Clay or Heaven Eyes, or even Skellig. There were some parts that were a bit disturbing (like the part with the unicorns, which is sort of brushed off as if it wasn't abusive to those animals), and some other smaller things I can't quite pinpoint. The main character is certainly interesting, and I thought it was good that he and Corrina weren't paired up tog
Jun 10, 2008 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I should finish my second reading of this amazing book today.

David Almond is one of my favorite authors, and this is one of--if not the top of my list--my favorite novels of his. The emotional tone is simply astounding. And he shows how beautiful writing can be, even without sentence variety. He starts so many sentences with "Noun verb blah blah blah." Normally, this writing style gets old, but in Almond's hands it's nothing short of gorgeous. If you read only one of his books, most should proba
Linda Lipko
Sep 01, 2009 Linda Lipko rated it liked it
Yet another notable book by David Almond.
Joe Malone is more backward and different than the scruffy, motely crew existing in Helmouth, a teeny village at the city's tiny edge. He struggles with words; he struggles with school; he struggles with surviving the cruel taunts of the town ruffians.

Blending fantasy with reality, Almond weaves a magical tale as we journey with Joe who is drawn to a rag tag circus group that parks its rusty, tattered carts and tent on the fringe of town. Both the circus
Lydiali Vega
Mar 27, 2008 Lydiali Vega rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: experienced readers
This book was very interesting, it was about a inocent boy with mental, and verbal problems and many questions about life. His inocence is shown when a circus comes to town and he is drawn to it, but everyone else is on strike because they want the circus to leave and let the animals out. Joe learns that in a cruel world there are people that understand. He gets this weird dream about a tiger visiting him in his room. The answers to his questions are with the people in the circus. he meets this ...more
Apr 18, 2012 Kari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-teen
David Almond's writing is simply mesmerizing. He doesn't waste words and drown the story in exhaustive description. He uses words sparingly but lovingly. The images are vivid and from the first line you are deep within the story, surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells he conjures. 'Secret Heart' is a beautiful story of finding courage and friendship, belonging and finding your place within the world. He mixes fantasy and reality seamlessly in all his books and this no exception. Almond is a ...more
Dec 28, 2011 Den rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, 2012
I couldn't wait to finish this book - didn't get into it at all and didn't feel anything for any of the characters.
The main character a lad called Joe lives most of his life inside his own head as in the real life he stammers and not very clever and hasn't many friends. He thinks he catches glimpses of creatures (just out of his eye sight) and feels like he is in another skin at times. A circus comes to town and a tiger who used to work there left his spirit in the circus tent. This winds itsel
Jan 10, 2010 Izzles25 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. The fantasy element coupled with the saddness of the main character and all he meets can be felt.
The imagery written into the story is fantastic elegant and extremely gripping. David Almond often shows as I've said the melancholy side to each story and within this one the plight of the circus and the inner soul of a young boy.
Absolutely brilliant. I often had to have tissues handy because some parts are pretty emotional awesome stuff though!
Pyrate Queen
Set in England, this paranormal story about Joe Maloney and a circus tiger tests the limits of one's mind. Joe and his mom are struggling to survive- her to make ends meet and Joe to survive his adolescence. When a circus comes to town, Joe is drawn to the odd characters especially Corinna, Nanny and Hackenschmidt, who eventually play a role in Joe's transformation from child to man.
Apr 24, 2007 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with a little imagination
A story which is almost too painfully powerful to read, yet simply written. It's as though we are being made privvy to the secret heart of the writer himself.

A tale of outsiders and "freaks" who need to find a place where they belong, to be taken home. The spirit of a beautiful, but terrible tiger haunts and leads them on.
Jul 08, 2009 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alright, alright, so I listened to it as an audiobook, but it was still pretty good. The narrator was very attuned to getting the different voices. The story was a bit strange, and nonchalantly macabre, but it was a wonderfully positive look at circus folk. The stuttering hero with a heart of kindness makes the ending magic stronger.
Amaya Jackson
Jul 24, 2011 Amaya Jackson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't boriing at all. I felt bad for Joey because he was always picked on and was called "gyppo scum!". This book is one of my favorites. The details in the book were amazing. It really gave showed me what Joe and his friends were seeing when they went to the circus and the end is so sad. I recommend this book.
Neill Smith
Aug 09, 2011 Neill Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joe Maloney feels life more deeply than other people – he is tied in to spiritual patterns of the world in ways his peers and neighbors don’t comprehend. When a circus comes to town Joe meets a group of people who understand and require his talents and Joe comes to understand his dreams.
Katherine Wade
What a truly amazing, beautiful book! Books like this are the stuff that dreams are made of.
Dark, mysterious and haunting... David Almond takes us to a place where even our most weirdest, darkest fantastical thoughts can become reality. I can't wait to read some more of his work!
Feb 14, 2008 C-Payne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like to read
I liked this book alot. It is about a kid who can't reall read or talk very well. His mom wants him to be a man, but his friends what him to kill. But he wants to think about weird cretures. Everyone laughs a him.A tiger comes and his world is never the same again.
Tara Rosselet
It is a great book, i loved it. In the beginning i thought it was boring and so awful that i might put it down and give it back to the library. Then i started to understand it and looked more and more forward to the ending. I advise you to read it if you like books.
Jun 16, 2009 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Another strange and mysterious novel by David Almond. This is definitely a book that fits within his style. The novel is well-written, the characters well-developed. The setting is new and intriguing."
Sep 10, 2015 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Could not get into book.
Feb 17, 2009 Sally rated it it was amazing
I didnt quite like this as much as the others by Almond. I think it is because I am not a big fan of books about animals.

Still I loved the way that it had been written defo a book to read.
Julie Jones
May 29, 2014 Julie Jones rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Awful Book. Very happy to finish it.
Jul 06, 2011 Thia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
strange circus people
Feb 08, 2013 Emily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No idea what this book means
Nov 06, 2012 Wendacious rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty interesting book I read. I enjoyed it. Reading through this book, I had a great image about the scenes and characters of how David Almond described them.
I enjoyed all the magic, but was very sad. Circuses should never end!
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David Almond is a British children's writer who has penned several novels, each one to critical acclaim. He was born and raised in Felling and Newcastle in post-industrial North East England and educated at the University of East Anglia. When he was young, he found his love of writing when some short stories of his were published in a local magazine. He started out as an author of adult fiction be ...more
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