April 26, 2014

Reviewing... [62] Leopold Blue

Leopold Blue is given away on the first page (takes away some of the mystery, I do like the hunt sometimes to see how it relates). It's not perfect, like the book- of Meg's life. So, in that way, fitting.

Reviewing... [62]

Source: Received through a Twitter Giveaway by HotKeyBooks.
Author: Rosie Rowell
Recommended For: Anyone interested in the close history, which shows us a culture which has since moved on, but is different from ours anyway (ie. UKYA readers, heads up!)
You know that feeling when there's many awesome books but there's one standing out for a ridiculously gorgeous cover? You can see where I'm going with this? So, part of the reason I was attracted to it was the gorgeous font, a leopold blue, contrast to the grey sky- supposed to be blue- with a plain girl, windswept hair & OK... you probably can see for yourself that's it's eye-catching.
Another: a vital part of our history is ingrained in this book. This isn't too historical (I'm not ashamed to admit I dropped History) but of two important periods- to me- personally- this holds one so it was going to be a hit on that level anyway, unless it was totally inaccurate to my knowledge. But for Rowell, knowledge was on her doorstep. I always love it when you find out afterwards that the author themselves knew more about this first-hand & from their direct surroundings than research found in books (which is awesome, though), internet & the such. So, I loved this aspect. Any period where there was civil rights movement around that time, or it had newly been affected by that, is a gem to me. I just love it, I love it when I have it in school, to write essays about (but not in History... HAH!) & I love reading about it- fictionally is amazing too.

You can tell, even if you don't have former knowledge (where have you been? :L), that the history surrounding the story, around Meg, is of much significance. It feels powerful & there's unrest as socially & politically, society begins to change. You can tell our society, probably not just South Africa's, wouldn't be the same without the historical background in Leopold Blue. Apartheid has just been broken down & I know about this, I think all teens should. Some history seems "dead" but I assure you: this history isn't yet. This book hasn't died & I hope never will (but if it does, read it before it's too late *evil laugh*). I was kind of surprised though how it was only the 1990's (heck, I was born then), that seems even more recent when Mandela's work started much more before then & often the civil rights is focused on a period before. I think some other decades would've been accurate, but this gives an indication & I guess, some parts moved slower than others. So others may have been several years ahead of those in this rural town, where AIDS is rife (and being sorted by Meg's Mother).
SO, yes... Another thing which actually interlinks is the notes on the bottom of the page (I assume these also exist in the final edition, they simply must!). They provide further information & define "language" which South Africans use, thus they appear a lot more at the start but lessen out as you go along. Later on, you're aware anyway & remember for the most part what a bakkie is, what a Dominee is & such. It's mainly a good thing, but when you're not used to it- as many books don't call for it- it can be a little distracting to need to look mid-sentence or something. It's a unique feature to this book which gives it flavour.

Meg's coming of age" didn't really make me like her, I can't for sure say she improved but she changed. She became less bored & came to respect her Mother's decisions & fantastic work, she ended up realising what had become of other relationships she had & yes, Meg was always too good for Xanthe & while Meg may have been different to the girls she'd become tired of, Xanthe was still more flawed than Meg had considered. I hated the peer pressure, but I guess it was realistic, raw & will never be a nice thing to read about it. Being aware of how Meg deals with it, gives purpose & honesty to the book. While I wouldn't go so far as to say there were dull moments, the actual plot & some of Meg's life, were overshadowed by bits where there was Xanthe being "colourful". I wouldn't want a selfish, misleading influence like Xanthe on myself or my children but Meg's Mother & her...  the relationship between them was fragile, to say the least. It built up & this is one of the elements which gave me most satisfaction. It shows, family are there for you, even when friends aren't. Or at least in Meg's, which is enough of a happy ever after for me. I also don't think Meg needed a guy to complete her, making this seem more like reality- a teenage girl's life- than a work of fiction, where many things seem ideal, fit for a movie.
XANTHE: I can't relate to you. Just let me have Meg as she
is, without having to go through tons of stuff... mountains.
I do think I found it hard to like Meg's Mum at points as well, I couldn't for a while think I was on the side of both. Beth & her Dad seemed to get the less interesting flaws, seemed nicer, for most of the novel, while you have Meg & her Mum being more reckless; it was so interesting to see both evolutions- their shades of different & daring varying & how they tied up together.
Of course, as you may have guessed, Simon, to me, wasn't significant nor Xanthe. I just am not sure I would try & befriend someone like Xanthe, especially not when it hurts others. Xanthe certainly had no trouble hurting others... Perhaps I had the biggest problem with some of the characters but they made the story which sat in a vibrant setting, enabling this to be a fictional novel- not historical non-fiction.
So kudos, this was mainly enjoyable & I would recommend it, whether you'll agree with all parts- this certainly allows you to become more concrete in your morals- as its interesting, short & bitter-sweet. It's important to read about self-focused, temperamental, flawed teenagers to gain a balance in the whirlwind of YA, its important as the themes & history behind it are just SO thought-provoking & need to be understood & known about, or it may go to waste. This isn't a ranty, "history preaching" novel, its just a story, like all stories.
And I'll shut up now before I return to complaining about Xanthe. That girl, seriously!

Hope you enjoyed this review (:

Amy Bookworm (@Amy_Bookworm)rated this book:

1 comment:

Rita (Weaving Pages) said...

HEEYYY AMMYYY! It's so great that you read this- I read a bit of it before I had to DNF... I just wasn't getting into it..
From what I read, I agree with you completely on the characters; I didn't like Simon or Xanthe or Meg.. I can't comment on if they improved or not, but I know that I didn't feel as if they engaged me enough to keep on reading..
On the bright side, I feel the same way about the cover and the history haha! They were probably the things I did end up liking, despite not finishing... :)

Rita xx

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