'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 16 November 2023

Review: Leeva at Last

Leeva Spayce Thornblossom is a bit of a homebody. She spends her days completing her chores, doing her daily exercises, watching The Winds of Our Tides and trying to find ways to use the "improve your vocabulary word" from the Nutsmore Weekly.

But none of this is really by choice.

Leeva yearns for school. She wants to learn and be with kids. She has questions that need answering.

So when her selfish parents (the mayor and treasurer of Nutsmore) refuse to answer them, she sets off on an adventure to find her own answers.

Along the way she meets lots of interesting people — like the librarian and the librarian’s nephew who live next door. And an orphaned badger. And a risk-adverse boy who likes to wear hazmat suits. She also discovers her no-good parents have been up to some serious no-good activities, and almost everyone in town is affected.

But despite the hard knocks she’s been given, Leeva’s heart is pure. She isn’t the kind of kid to let wrong-doings stay wrong for long.

Leeva at Last is a joyful and addictive middle grade read. It’s got mystery and intrigue and so much heart — heart that pulls you through the chapters as Leeva experiences the world outside her house for the first time.

It’s got big questions to ponder and many “what would you do” situations to test yourself on. But through all this, humour stands out on the pages. The story is fun and entertaining.

Leeva is a fabulous protagonist. The kid you want to be, with her boldness and refusal to let fear stand in her way. But under the mask she wears, she also has many insecurities, making her very relatable. She’s the underdog you’ll follow to the end.

A little bit Matilda by Roald Dahl and a little bit Costa Banana by Jozua Douglas, Leeva at Last is for kids who love to see the downtrodden rise up against the odds and fight for what is right.

Title: Leeva at Last
Author: Sara Pennypacker
Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
Publisher: HarperCollins, $16.99
Publication Date: 3 May 2023
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780008606190
For ages:  8 - 13
Type: Middle Grade Fiction