Thursday, 2 June 2016

My Name is Leon by Kit De Waal

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Expected publication: June 2nd 2016 by Penguin
With thanks to Net Galley and Penguin for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.


"A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you'd least expect to find one.

Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers. Since Jake is white and Leon is not.

As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile - like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum.

Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a heart-breaking story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how - just when we least expect it - we manage to find our way home."

My Review

Told through the eyes of Leon, this is a poignant and moving story of a child struggling to understand why his mother can no longer look after him and why one brother may be wanted and the other not.

This book made me cry at certain moments as Leon's desperation and love for his brother shines through. I thought it was well-written when showing Leon's feelings of confusion and loss and how he views the adults around him.

I liked Leon's relationship with Maureen and with Tufty, although I found it strange that some of the adults didn't think to ask Leon more questions in certain situations.

This is an enjoyable book, set against an interesting time in England. I would give this 3 out of 5.

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