A complicated childhood

A heart-wrenching exquisite book that is both the story of a complicated childhood and the social context of the 80s, particularly the racial tensions.

This is a lovely story about a nine year old boy called Leon and the challenges he and his newborn brother face when his mother cannot look after them. Told through the eyes of Leon, this story is powerful, emotional yet simply told – it would be accessible to a early teenage audience — in a similar vein to “Wonder”. Much of it is about acceptance, making the best of what we have and overcoming prejudices, a powerful story, with a narrative ease that belies its depth. 

I think this book will be very big in 2016. It’s not due to be published until June so I expect it will build momentum … 

An outstanding debut from Kit de Waal. I wish her much success and look forward to her next book.

MetLine Rating: 4.5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ highly recommended

About this Book

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 Name is Leon is written by Kit de Waal and is published by Penguin Random House on 2nd June 2016. It is available for preorder from Amazon UK

I received an advance review copy from Penguin Random House via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. 


Author: metlinereader

IΒ am obsessed with books. Β In fact, I'd rather be reading than doing anything else. Β  I enjoy trying out new books and new authors; I do like to "mix and match" genres. Β I often have access to books before they are published and would welcome the opportunity to review most books... just not horror or sci-fi, please :)