This Rebel Heart
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: April 5, 2022
About the Book
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.
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.
Wow. I have always loved historical fiction. It’s a genre that is most dear to my heart. In the past few years, historical fantasy has become popular, and it’s probably my most favorite genre now. Locke has taken a period in time that isn’t often written about, has made it beautiful, queer, and added fantastical elements for an absolutely delightful and captivating read.
Locke tells the story in alternating timelines between Azriel and Csilla. The voices come from two entirely different perspectives, and each brings a unique take to the turmoil in Hungary. The story was further enhanced with letters, newspaper snippets, and the like, telling of the time Hungary broke free.
The way Locke wrote about the colors disappearing for people broke my heart. There is a bit of magic at play here, but the true magic lies in Csilla’s strength and resilience, which resonates with so many people. This is a beautiful read, and I cannot recommend it enough. Thank you, Random House Children’s and TBR and Beyond Tours, for sending this along!
(A note here: I usually add 5 favorite quotes. As I was reviewing my highlights for this read, I realized that I highlighted 34 quotes. You can imagine how hard it was for me to narrow that list down, so I *might* have run a few over 5 quotes).
-“She’d been four when the colors began to leach out of Budapest, running like rainbow streams through all the streets toward the river.”
-“You cannot change the world, she reminded herself. You can only survive the one you’re in.”
-“One’s own safety was more important than someone else’s safety. She could see why a lie was more often valuable than the truth.”
-“… she wasn’t sure how to name what was gone.”
-“Change, for better or for worse, was the one constant in Csilla’s life. That had been true in all of the befores and all of the afters.”
-“Sometimes I want to feel very small in a very big world. It’s a reminder of how insignificant I am.”
-“… in the grand scheme of time, our mistakes are insignificant. But our victories are not. And that the most important thing is to be significant at the moment when your significance can benefit the greatest number of deserving people.”
-“Rome took more than a day to build. It’d take more than a day to burn down.”
Head on over to view the full tour schedule and be sure to check out the other stops on the tour.
Many thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours for including me in the blog tour for this special read.