Thank you TBR Tours and Beyond for letting me be a part of this tour! You can find the other posts and tour dates here!
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.
Publishing Date: April 5, 2022
Review & Quotes
*Note: The quotes below are taken from an unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.
When she woke up, she woke in pieces.
I was completely entranced by this from the start. This book follows Csilla, a Jewish girl who is days from escaping Hungary with her aunt and moving some place she can only hope is better. In trying to keep her head down, she meets Azriel, a mysterious boy who swoops in to intercept her from the secret police following her, and Tamas, who meets her at a dance to ask her an impossible question. The majority of the book is from Csilla’s point of view, with the occasional chapter from Azriel’s perspective, but they are all main characters as they affect the plot.
I really just loved Csilla as a main character. Her internal journey was so relatable, I felt for her so quickly. We get a lot of time with her and her thoughts before things really ramp up.
What else was a lie? […] What is the truth?”
The writing of this book was gorgeous. It was impossible to par down my favorite quotes down to just three and to just three that aren’t that spoilery. There were so many points that I had to pause and sit with the sentence, whether because it was gorgeous or hard hitting or just really sweet.
Speaking of sweet, there is a poly romance between Azriel, Csilla, and Tamas. The book takes place over a very short amount of time, so don’t expect a slow burn, but also, I didn’t feel it was too rushed. I wasn’t like, ride or die for their relationship, but I did enjoy some of their softer moments.
Fear didn’t always turn someone to stone. Sometimes it lit them up like a flame in the night.
I loved the fabulsim and little bits of magic in this book, some of which is inspired by Jewish folklore. No one is wielding magic in this book, but there is magic involving the river and setting. Both the river and color were used as such great metaphors, I want to scream about how they were used, but I’ll wait for you to read it.
I rated this book 4.5 stars! I need to read everything else Locke has written now!
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.