Leopold Blue by Rosie Rowell

The Lovereading4Kids comment

Winner of The Branford Boase Award 2015 Leopold Blue is an emotionally taut and beautifully written story from debut author, Rosie Rowell with a mesmerising voice. Meg Bergman lives in rural South Africa, is fifteen and fed up until one day Xanthe arrives - cool, urban, feisty Xanthe, who for some unknown reason seems to want to hang out with Meg. Xanthe arrives into Meg's life like a hurricane, offering her a look at a teenage life she never knew existed. This coming-of-age story about family, friendship and first romance is incredibly tense and will touch upon all manner of emotions.

Branford Boase Chair and Lovereading expert reviewer, Julia Eccleshare with the winning author Rosie Rowell, pictured.

A Piece of Passion from Emily Thomas, Publisher Not a book for the faint-hearted, Leopold Blue is set in 1980s South Africa, at a time when AIDS was rife and nationwide fear had left its people frozen. And in the midst of this horror, teenager Meg is battling with her changing self. Her courageous AIDS-campaigner mother is nothing but a major embarrassment, and all Meg wants is to fit in, to not feel different, and to get away from her family. When exotic and devil-may-care Xanthe arrives at school, Meg seizes the chance to befriend her, and to be seduced by Xanthe's seemingly unshakeable self-belief and independence. By the story's end, Meg comes to realise the value of her mother's stance, and the harm her own woeful selfishness could have caused her. It is beautifully written, evocative and not afraid to portray its characters as humanly dislikeable. It also smartly brings a shocking historical neglect to the fore of its readers mind. Wonderful.


Leopold Blue by Rosie Rowell

Shortlisted for The Branford Boase Award 2015 Meg Bergman is fifteen and fed up. She lives in a tiny town in rural 1990s South Africa - a hot-bed of traditionalism, racial tension and (in Meg's eyes) ordinariness. Meg has no friends either, due largely to what the community sees as her mother's interfering attempts to educate farm workers about AIDS. But But cracks quickly begin to show in their friendship when Meg's childhood friend Simon returns from his gap year travels.


a thought-provoking coming-of-age story. Debut author Rosie Rowell has created some complex and engaging characters, and Meg's adolescent trials and tribulations are set against an intriguing portrait of a rapidly changing nation. Booktrust

About the Author

Rosie Rowell was born and grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. After completing a BA degree in English and Economics at the Universityof Cape Town, Rosie arrived in the UK on a short working holiday and neverquite managed to leave. She now lives in in the wilds of West Sussex with herhusband and three children, but returns to South Africa as often as the bankbalance will allow. She has recently completed a MA in Creative and LifeWriting at Goldsmiths University of London. Her first novel, Leopold Blue, was published by Hot KeyBooks in 2014.

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Book Info


272 pages
Interest Age: From 16


Rosie Rowell
More books by Rosie Rowell


Hot Key Books

Publication date

2nd January 2014




Publisher Profile

Hot Key Books is an imprint of Hot Key

logo Hot Key Books, a division of Bonnier Publishing, publish stand out, quality fiction, for 9 – 19 year olds, print and digital that people like to talk about. If you are looking for something a little bit different from your books, something a little bit special then Hot Key Books may well have just what you want.

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