Book Review UKYA

REVIEW: Leopold Blue by Rosie Rowell

You may know by now that I’ll read practically anything Hot Key Books publish. So when Leopold Blue was offered to me to review, I jumped at the chance. Once again, I wasn’t let down. They really are a miracle publisher.

We all know how confusing it can be growing up, and Leopold Blue is a story all about discovery. One of the most striking things about the novel is its beautiful writing and voice. The protagonist, Meg, doesn’t have any friends due to the fact that her mother educates farm workers about AIDS. Set in 1990’s South Africa, the racial and political turmoil in the country during this time is informative without seeming too ‘know it all’ and there’s so much to take out of this book, especially historical information.

As a teenager myself, I know the feelings of wanting to fit in and find friends. When Meg meets Xanthe, the new girl who befriends Meg, we see the changes Meg makes to herself to try to fit in. I loved how authentic Meg’s voice was. There wasn’t a moment when I didn’t believe in the words coming out of her mouth.

Because it is set in such an important part in South Africa’s history, I felt, throughout reading, as if I was witnessing such significance. Even if you’re not familiar with the time, if you’re a younger reader like myself, all questions are answered immediately.

An addition I liked was the footnotes, explaining the language and cultural terms. I know I can sometimes find it tricky to understand such differences between cultures in some books, so it was nice to have an explanation and it also offered a very nice insight. I really enjoy learning about different cultures and I felt like it helped me connect to the story even more.

I feel as if there wasn’t a lot going on in terms of a strong plot because Leopold Blue is very character driven. Understand that I do not mean this in a bad way at all. Sometimes a good character driven novel is just what you need. With high fantasy and dystopia novels so big at the moment, a change is so, so good.

I really enjoyed Leopold Blue. It was a refreshing read and one I will definitely be recommending. You all must read it!

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  • Reply
    Chrissi Reads
    31 January, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Brilliant review Lucy! It sounds really good!

  • Reply
    31 January, 2014 at 10:54 am

    I really liked Leopold Blue too, and it was great reading a YA novel set in South Africa. I love reading books set in other countries and this was particularly interesting in its setting and history. Lovely review!
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  • Reply
    Georgia Walters
    31 January, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    I completely agree with this- great review Lucy!:) Hot Key Books are one of my favourite publishers, they publish such awesomeness. Leopold Blue wasn’t an exception!;) It is definitely a character-driven novel, I wasn’t really expecting the outcomes but I did love it! I’m glad you did too.
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  • Reply
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain
    31 January, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Meg sounds like a character I could really relate to. I know how hard it can be to make friends so I’m glad that this book captures that. Also it looks like it also does a good job of establishing the South African setting. Glad you enjoyed this one, Lucy, great review! <33
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