This Rebel Heart by Katharine Locke

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: This Rebel Heart

Author: Katherine Locke

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5

Diversity: Jewish MC and characters, Gay characters, Queer characters, Poly romance

Recommended For…: young adult readers, historical fiction, fantasy, LGBT, magical realism

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Genre: YA Historical Fiction Fantasy

Age Relevance: 15+ (Parental Death, War, The Holocaust, Death, Violence, Gore, Grief, PTSD, Romance, Genocide, Nazism, Sexual harassment, Antisemitism, Suicide, Homophobia, Murder)

Explanation of Above: The book deals with the aftermath of WW2 and mentions it, Nazism, and the Holocaust a lot. There is also death, murder, violence, and gore shown in this book as Hungary is being controlled by Soviet police. Parental death and grief are also mentioned a lot throughout the book, as well as PTSD and genocide. There is a lot of antisemitism and homophobia in the book as well. The book also has a mention of sexual harassment and suicide. There is also some romance in this book.

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 304

Synopsis: In the middle of Budapest, there is a river. Csilla knows the river is magic. During WWII, the river kept her family safe when they needed it most–safe from the Holocaust. But that was before the Communists seized power. Before her parents were murdered by the Soviet police. Before Csilla knew things about her father’s legacy that she wishes she could forget.

Now Csilla keeps her head down, planning her escape from this country that has never loved her the way she loves it. But her carefully laid plans fall to pieces when her parents are unexpectedly, publicly exonerated. As the protests in other countries spur talk of a larger revolution in Hungary, Csilla must decide if she believes in the promise and magic of her deeply flawed country enough to risk her life to help save it, or if she should let it burn to the ground.

Review: For the most part I loved this book. The book was beautifully written and details a lot of history that is mostly not discussed. The book had a great premise and an interesting twist. There is great poly representation and I enjoyed seeing LGBT characters in a historical fiction fantasy novel, which is not seen in most books like this. The characters are well developed and the world building was gorgeous. The book also had a moment in it where the intensity of The Holocaust just hit me like a ton of bricks. There is a list of names shared in the book of lost family members to this one character and it spans a page and a half. It was absolutely heartbreaking and it’s a good reminder that those people lost weren’t just data points, they were people. There’s also a quote that sums it up well: “The air I breathe is made from the ashes of my people that you burned.”

However, there were a few issues I had with the book. The book uses a lot of flowery language which was hard on me to follow at some points. The book was an unexpected fantasy for me, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I also think that the book would have been a bit better if some of the historical terms were better explained, but I’m speaking from an ignorant POV as I’ve not studied this point in history.

Verdict: It was so good!

Book Info:

This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke

Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction

Publishing Date: April 5, 2022

Synopsis:

A tale set amid the 1956 Hungarian revolution in post-WWII Communist Budapest.

In the middle of Budapest, there is a river. Csilla knows the river is magic. During WWII, the river kept her family safe when they needed it most–safe from the Holocaust. But that was before the Communists seized power. Before her parents were murdered by the Soviet police. Before Csilla knew things about her father’s legacy that she wishes she could forget.

Now Csilla keeps her head down, planning her escape from this country that has never loved her the way she loves it. But her carefully laid plans fall to pieces when her parents are unexpectedly, publicly exonerated. As the protests in other countries spur talk of a larger revolution in Hungary, Csilla must decide if she believes in the promise and magic of her deeply flawed country enough to risk her life to help save it, or if she should let it burn to the ground.

Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54886974-this-rebel-heart

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0593381246/ref=x_gr_w_bb_sin?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_sin_ca-20&linkCode=as2&camp=15121&creative=330641

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/this-rebel-heart-katherine-locke/1139798124?ean=9780593381243

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/This-Rebel-Heart-Katherine-Locke/9780593381243?ref=grid-view&qid=1643567494295&sr=1-5

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/this-rebel-heart/9780593381243-item.html?ikwid=this+rebel+heart&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0#algoliaQueryId=e92f3620a6d3f59686a3b5068d71a02e

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780593381243

About the Author:

Katherine Locke (they/them) lives and writes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with their feline overlords and their addiction to chai lattes. They are the author of The Girl with the Red Balloon, a 2018 Sydney Taylor Honor Book and 2018 Carolyn W. Field Honor Book, as well as The Spy with the Red Balloon, and the forthcoming This Rebel Heart (April 2022). They are the co-editor and contributor to This is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them and Us, which had three starred reviews and made Kirkus Review’s Best Middle Grade of 2021 list, as well as It’s A Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes and Other Jewish Stories. They also contributed to Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens and Out Now: Queer We Go Again. They are the author of picture books Bedtime for Superheroes, What Are Your Words? A Book About Pronouns, and the forthcoming Being Friends with Dragons (February 2022)They can be found online at KatherineLockeBooks.com and @bibliogato on Twitter and Instagram.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.katherinelockebooks.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bibliogato

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bibliogato/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8430243.Katherine_Locke

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katherinelockebooks

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