Review: My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal

My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal (uncorrected proof copy)

Title: My Name is Leon
Author: Kit de Waal
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Publisher
Publisher:  Viking (2nd June 2016)

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 take Jake away and give him to strangers. Because 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 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 Britain in the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a 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 somehow manage to find our way home.

Rating: **** (4 stars)

MY NAME IS LEON is the debut novel by Kit de Waal. It tells the story of nine-year-old Leon, in early eighties Britain who ends up living with Maureen when his mum can’t cope after the birth of his baby brother Jake. The story focuses on Leon’s story as he struggles to cope with the changes in his life.

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