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My Name Is Leon
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A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you'd least expect to find one.

About the Author

Kit de Waal, born to an Irish mother and Caribbean father, was brought up among the Irish community of Birmingham in the 60's and 70's. Her debut novel My Name Is Leon was an international bestseller, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award for 2017. Her second novel, The Trick to Time, was longlisted for the Women's Prize and her young adult novel Becoming Dinah is shortlisted for the Carnegie CLIP Award 2020. She also crowdfunded and edited an anthology of working class memoir, Common People, which was published in 2018. Kit was named the FutureBook Person of the Year in 2019.

Reviews

A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you'd least expect to find one * Publisher's description *
Tender and heart-breaking -- Rachel Joyce, bestselling author of 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry'
A beautiful story told with compassion, urgency and wit -- Stephen Kelman, author of the Booker-shortlisted 'Pigeon English'
Vivid and endearing - a very powerful book -- Emma Healey, bestselling author of 'Elizabeth is Missing'
Leon is pure goodwill in a wicked world, and he won't leave you when you put this unique book down. Authentic and beautiful, urgent and honest, this novel does what only the best do: it quietly makes room in your heart. At the end of the story I couldn't bear to close the book on Leon. I felt I was abandoning him. I wanted to talk about it straight away with someone else who'd read it, and I know a great many readers will feel the same. -- Chris Cleave, bestselling author of 'The Other Hand'
Beautiful and heartbreaking - I cried buckets of tears for Leon and his family -- Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of 'The Last Act of Love'
A compelling story... Kit de Waal is to be congratulated -- Jane Shemilt, bestselling author of 'Daughter'
Hotly anticipated and heartbreaking... a great read...it's no mean feat for a debut to so perfectly capture the world through the eyes of a child...his illuminating child's eye view of adult affairs harks back to the likes of Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird, Tom Sawyer and more recently Mark Haddon's Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime -- Mariella Frostrup, BBC Radio 4
The unforgettable story of a boy struggling to belong, and the author captures both his mindset and the period impeccably. Heartbreaking and uplifting - just read it * Daily Mail *
My debut of the year so far...heartbreaking and warm at the same time * Stylist *
A funny, sad and endearing debut * Psychologies *
Searing * The Times *
Everything in My Name Is Leon rings true. It's an everyday story and this actually makes it more powerful: these are the lows and joys of real life. Someone will be living them as you read * Emerald Street *
A touching, thought-provoking debut * Guardian *
Powerful and gorgeously written...may make you cry, but it's also uplifting and full of hope * Good Housekeeping *
Heart-breaking yet told with wit and compassion - I loved it * Woman and Home *
Full of small exquisite details, de Waal's novel is ultimately affirmative. But be warned - it's a bit of a weepie * Metro *
Deeply moving, compulsively readable and, despite the heart-rending subject matter, often funny * Irish Times *
The voice of Leon is distinctive, beguiling and ultimately compelling, resonant of the young narrators in Room or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time * RTE Guide *
Searing * T2 *
Beguiling, tender, funny, compassionate ... entirely heartbreaking without being bleak * Sunday Express *
Conjures the plight of children in care - and the Britain of the 1980s - with heartbreaking intensity * Harpers Bazaar *
It's a wonderful book. I really enjoyed it. It is extremely affecting -- Toby Lichtig
I think My Name is Leon is a really stand out novel -- Alex Clark
Simply told and never over-written * Emerald Street Top 10 Books of the Year *
A piercing story: fierce, touching and with the absolute ring of truth-to-experience -- Sam Leith
Many are describing it as the debut of the year, in an already crowded market * Evening Standard *

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