This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke Review

Title: This Rebel Heart
Author: Katherine Locke
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Publishing date: 5th April 2022
Rating: 4/5 stars

*Trigger Warning: Antisemitism, trauma, PTSD, war, shootings, blood, violence.

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.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours for including me and sending me a copy to review for this Blog Tour! I couldn’t wait to read this one!

Click here to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on this tour!

Book Links:

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My thoughts: This Rebel Heart is a perfect read for fans of historical fiction. It is based on historical events with some fantasy thrown in. I really enjoyed reading this book, it wouldn’t be something I would normally pick up but I’m glad I did.

This story is set in 1956 Hungary during the Hungarian Revolution and follows Csilla, a teenage girl whose parents were recently exonerated after being executed a few years prior under false pretenses.

After a chance meeting with a strangely familiar person and a university student, Csilla puts her defection from Hungary on hold to help them get the answers they need, and sparks her need to embark on a journey she felt she always needed to take. I really liked how Csilla’s magic was portrayed in this story. The river that kept her family safe ‘speaks’ to her.

The ending of this book was left open to interpretation for the reader on what could have happened. I did enjoy this in a way, however, I would have liked to have wrapped up this story more.

Hope you all enjoyed my review! I really enjoyed reading this one! Happy reading all! x

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 and @bibliogato on Twitter and Instagram.

Author Links:


Book Reviews

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Great review! While I understand the open ending of the book, I was kinda shocked by how it ended so abruptly because it felt like (emotionally) things were ramping up again! I wasn’t ready 😂 but I did really enjoy this one.

    Liked by 2 people

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