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My Name is Leon

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  7,872 ratings  ·  998 reviews
It's 1981, a year of riots and royal weddings. The Dukes of Hazzard is on TV and Curly Wurlys are in the shops. And trying to find a place in it all is young Leon.

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, a belly like Father Christmas, and mutters swearwords under her breath when she t
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 6th 2016 by Viking (first published June 2nd 2016)
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Kate Creed I don't think there is any really strong offensive material in here, its a quick read. There are some very sad elements to it but a growing problem he…moreI don't think there is any really strong offensive material in here, its a quick read. There are some very sad elements to it but a growing problem here in the UK of children from difficult background whose parents are in this particular case unable to look after there children. It.s very insightful of the author and her experiences really do provide a telling tale of how it really is.

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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,872 ratings  ·  998 reviews

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Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a heartbreaking story told from the perspective of a young child, Leon, and his experience of his family falling apart, social services and foster care in London. It begins with Carol, Leon's mother, giving birth to baby Jake. Leon is captivated and enthralled by Jake.

Leon is a bright, intelligent and mature child who finds himself taking care of Carol and Jake by himself. Carol is unwell and experiencing mental health issues. Leon's bond with Jake is incredibly strong, he is acutely obs
Elyse  Walters
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This book could not have landed in my hands at a better time. I have a young friend who is 13 years old. She lives on the other side of the world from me. For privacy purposes...I'm not going to mention her name....( but she will know)....
I dedicate this review to her! My young friend has had a challenging life but is soooo
inspiring of a young words are the right words to express how exceptional she is.

I read "My Name is Leon", on the edge of tears much of the time.
I must find a way
Dec 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, uk
Was a sad read.
Thought more was going to come of the end.
Loved the characters.
Heartbreaking at times.
Angela M
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I was hooked again ! Another book where the narrative is from a child's perspective and I couldn't resist the opportunity to get an advance copy. Leon, though is a little different from the precocious narrators I've fallen in love with who are sometimes wiser than the adults . This one is about a kid who really isn't quite sure what's happening around him and it's just so sad watching him try to make sense of it all. He may not understand but Leon is smart enough to try and take care of his baby
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

An uplifting and poignant read. My name is Leon is a story told by a nine year old boy called Leon and while I am not a fan of child narrators the book was engaging and a worthwhile read.

A short debut novel that I felt had a YA feel to it but I think it is a novel that will resonate with all age levels and readers.
Set in Britain in the early 1980s, Leon is nine years old and brother to Jake who is 9 months old They have gone to live with Maureen after their mother Carol's breakdown, M

It’s the 1980’s as this debut novel begins; Leon is 8 years old, nearly nine, a mixed-race child whose mother has just given birth to his brother, Jake. Leon’s father is Jamaican, and Jake’s father is white, so Jake has pale skin and pale hair, like his mother. Leon adores his new baby brother from the start, from his tiny perfect toes to his soft, perfect hair, perfect tiny fingers. After Leon, his mother, and Jake go home, Leon helps his mother with Jake, trying to prove how responsible a big
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
An enthusiastic 4+ stars! My Name Is Leon hit just the right emotional punch. Set in the late 1970s in England, this book is told from 9 year old Leon's perspective. He is half black, living with his single mum and 1 year old brother. His mum is not up to the task of looking after her kids, so Leon looks after his brother and eventually they move into foster care with Maureen. And the rest of the book focuses on Leon's longing for his imperfect lost family and his actual life in foster care. I l ...more
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-books
A moving, insightful book about two brothers -- one with black skin, one with white skin -- and their movement through the foster care system in England during the 1980s.

Leon, the title character in Kit de Waal's latest book, has shouldered more responsibility than any 10 year old should. Try as he might to be the best caretaker for his infant brother, and his mentally unstable mother, social services soon splits up the family. Leon learns the hard truth that while there are families willing to
Julie Christine
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
A tender, beautifully rendered narrative that captures the voice and perspective of a vulnerable child with intelligence and clarity. Leon is nine, the son of Carol, a broken young white woman, and a disappeared West Indies man. He is also a doting and careful big brother to baby Jake, stepping into the role of caregiver as his mother slides into catatonia.

After Carol has a mental breakdown, brought on by drugs, prostitution, and the massive weight of poverty, Leon and Jake are placed in foster
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers interested in orphan stories and social history
Recommended to Hilary by: Linden
Shelves: orphan-stories
Leon has a baby brother, a mum who can't cope and a dad who has walked out. The story is set in the 1980's and gives you a taste of social history of the time, poverty, racism, police brutality and social services just not getting it right. Leon is a lovely kind boy and during the story you really want things to work out for him, he is wonderful to his baby brother, despite the awful circumstances there are some wonderful people who help him. Leon has some perceptive observations of peoples faci ...more
“Mum used to say we were the same soul split in two and walking around on four legs. It seems unnatural being born together and then dying apart.”

----Melodie Ramone

Kit de Waal, an English author, pens her debut poignant, deeply touching story in her new book, My Name is Leon that unfolds the story of a young boy who after his mother's unfit condition to take care him goes into foster care along with his newly born brother, only to be separated from his brother because of adoption. But he needs
This book should go to every single Social worker and all those in the welfare of children out for fostering or adoption.

Do not break up siblings, just don’t do it.

This story is told through the eyes of a young boy who is broken, and can’t explain his feelings, wants, needs and desires. He just doesn’t own the vocal words yet.

This broke my heart into zillions of pieces until the author could lighten it again with hope and experiences, expectations and reality through the eyes of a child then thr

Talk about having the deck stacked against you. England, 1980. Leon’s mum, Carol, has had two boys to different fathers. His walked out when she was pregnant with his baby brother, Jake, whom he adores.

Jake’s father is married, and Leon overhears him refuse to have anything to do with Carol or the baby. Carol loses the plot and accuses Leon of being the reason Jake’s father shot through.

“Carol used to say sorry when she shouted at him but she forgets all the time these days so tomorrow he wil
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: readers who are interested in the lives of children.
Recommended to Barbara by: Savidge Reads
Leon is a 9-year-old boy in 1980's London. His mother, who is on her own, has a new baby. Leon is biracial. His mother and brother are white. Leon is a loving, gentle boy who does his all for his mother as she slips into post-natal depression. As things deteriorate, social services come in and Leon and his brother are put in foster care.

Maureen, the foster mother, is a working class woman, middle-aged, and not in great health. She is affectionate and cares deeply for the boys. Rather that get i
Jülie ☼♄ 

Kit De Waal has really got a good perspective on the kind of thoughts that go through the mind of a child and their particular reactions to things that upset them...

Leon was a good boy, he did what he was told and what he thought was expected of him. So when grown ups did things that he perceived as wrong or unjust, he punished them by taking something from them or by not doing something the way he knew was right...this gave him a sense that some small measure of fair justice had been served and
Mar 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Set in the 1980’s in England, My Name is Leon tells the heartbreaking story of two young brothers, one black, one white. When Carol, Leon and Jake’s mother can no longer care for them, Jake is adopted, Leon is not. We travel through this story, which centers on adoption and fostering with Leon and experience the journey from his perspective. We can feel his helplessness, his vulnerability and his utter sadness. We pine for baby brother Jake with Leon and we experience Leon's struggle for accepta ...more
Mar 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2020, modern-lit
I read this for a discussion in the 21st Century Literature group.

Compared with most of my recent reading it felt a little lightweight, but it is an enjoyable read, and quite moving in places. The book is set in 1980 and 1981, against the backdrop of the royal wedding and the Brixton riots, and it clearly owes much to de Waal's own experiences working in social services.

At the heart of the book is Leon, a young mixed race boy. Leon lives with his white single mother, who has recently had anoth
Guy Austin
Having read a pre-release review of this book I knew it would be one I would enjoy. I have a soft spot for books about children in the position Leon finds himself in. I am not sure why. The last book that I read like this was not fiction, but a memoir by Steve Pemberton, The Book was - A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home.

Leon is a 9 year old boy with a baby brother and a mother who cannot find the strength to raise herself up to focus on
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I received a free proof copy.The story of Leon and his situation felt all too real. This was quite an emotional read with well drawn characters all trying to do their best and deal with the cards life had given them. None of them were without flaws the main one seemed to be not realising how children have a real talent for making themselves invisible and listening in to adult conversations which can and does in this case lead to all sorts of trouble.Right from the beginning Leon tugged at the he ...more
H.A. Leuschel
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully tender, heart-breaking a times and so sensitive in its descriptions of the inner workings of a young child's mind. I found myself having to stop and rest a few times before I could resume reading because I felt so sad about Leon's anguish and desperate need to be loved. Highly recommended! ...more
Hmm, tricky. I did enjoy My Name is Leon, but sadly this book suffers from a misleading synopsis.
While it’s true that the first part of the story is about the family problems of Leon, in the second part a greater variety of topics come knocking at the foster-home door. This makes us lose sight of Leon, which is a pity because this kid is a wonderful main character to follow.

Leon is nine years old. He likes Curly Wurlys, the Dukes of Hazzard, but above all his baby-brother Jake. It doesn’t matt
I liked this book just as much as the first time I read it, if not more. I felt so tender towards 9-year old Leon who just wants to keep his broken family together and through the skewed logic of a 9-year old, thinks he can make that happen. He can't. Along the way in his journey with foster care, he finds people to relate to and who can help, although at first he doesn't believe it.

Why I'm rereading this: I nominated this for the March group read for the 21st Century Literature group and it wa
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
enjoyed this book based in early 1980's with the backdrop of social unrest and a royal wedding where 9 year old Leon gets separated from his mother Carol and younger baby sibling Jake into foster care and his struggles as he wants his family together again. ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It is 1981 and Leon has just acquired a baby brother, Jake. They are living with their mother, Carol, who is struggling as the father of Jake has shown no interest at all in his son. Just how much she is struggling is made very apparent when Leon turns up at a friend of hers asking for money for sweets. Tina goes back home with him to find Carol a nervous wreck and in need of help. As she gets the medical attention that she desperately needs Leon and Jake are placed into care.

Their new 'mum' is
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is about a nine year old boy called Leon living in poverty in England in the eighties. His Mum has psychological issues and his Dad is in prison. He has a baby brother called Jake. Leon and Jake have different Dads so Leon is black and Jake is white.
His Mum gets severely depressed which leads to the brothers being taken into care.
I don't want to give away the whole story but it is written from Leon's point of view and it's an extremely moving and honest story.
This book isn't perfect but I
Dec 10, 2016 rated it liked it
I was gifted this book by the lovely Mercedes for my birthday back in September and I finally found some time (during my ill days off) to read it. I actually read this whole thing in a day as it's a fairly short book and it's a story that I couldn't help but want to keep turning the pages for.

We follow a young boy called Leon and his baby brother Jake. Leon comes from a poor family with a single mother and he's always looked after her but when his new baby brother turns up his mother falls deep
Elaine Mullane || At Home in Books
A quick but powerful read.

My Name Is Leon follows the story of an eight-year-old biracial boy who is separated from his mother and placed in the foster care system because she can no longer look after him. His little brother, Jake, is adopted quickly because there is more of a demand for a white, small baby (the boys have different fathers).

Leon stays with Maureen, a kind and loving foster parent but misses his mother and little brother terribly. Because this book is narrated by him, we see the
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Now THAT's how you debut a novel! Check out my video review here. I sure wish people would stop cutting onions while I'm trying to read! ...more
Natalie Vellacott
Sep 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I read this for a book group.

It tells the sad story of Leon, a young child whose mother suffers from a range of problems including broken relationships with multiple men, substance abuse and most likely mental health issues. Leon and his younger brother Jake are initially placed in foster care but then cruelly separated.

The story is unusual because, as the title suggests, it is told from Leon's perspective. Though it is fiction, I'm sure there are plenty of people that experienced similar feeli
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