Book Review: This Rebel Heart

Posted May 21, 2022 by geograph in fantasy, historical, jewish, queer, review, YA / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: This Rebel HeartThis Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke
Published by Random House Children's Books on April 5, 2022
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Historical / Europe, Young Adult Fiction / LGBTQ, Young Adult Fiction / Religious / Jewish
Pages: 448
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Netgalley

A tumultuous tale of the student-led 1956 Hungarian revolution—and an all too timely look at the impact of Communism and the USSR in Eastern Europe—set in a fabulist, colorless post-WWII Budapest from Sydney Taylor Honor winner Katherine Locke.

“A haunting, beautiful read that centers queer Jewish characters.” —BuzzFeed

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.

With queer representation, fabulist elements, and a pivotal but little-known historical moment, This Rebel Heart is Katherine Locke's tour de force.

Once Again, I Do Not Read Historical Fantasy Usually but also I literally picked this one up for the cover because it’s a REALLY NICE cover. Look at it! This is set after World War 2 and it is about a Holocaust survivor, Csilla, and magic, and Jewish folklore, and the Hungarian uprising, and magical realism that is also fantasy. And I think it’s really good, actually? Very sad in parts and very intense and very slow at the beginning. Also, polyamory!

Five stars.

Bookshop link here.


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