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Book Review: Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson

Publisher’s description

From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Renée Watson comes a love story about not only a romantic relationship but how a girl finds herself and falls in love with who she really is. 

When Nala Robertson reluctantly agrees to attend an open mic night for her cousin-sister-friend Imani’s birthday, she finds herself falling in instant love with Tye Brown, the MC. He’s perfect, except . . . Tye is an activist and is spending the summer putting on events for the community when Nala would rather watch movies and try out the new seasonal flavors at the local creamery. In order to impress Tye, Nala tells a few tiny lies to have enough in common with him. As they spend more time together, sharing more of themselves, some of those lies get harder to keep up. As Nala falls deeper into keeping up her lies and into love, she’ll learn all the ways love is hard, and how self-love is revolutionary. 

In Love Is a Revolution, plus size girls are beautiful and get the attention of the hot guys, the popular girl clique is not shallow but has strong convictions and substance, and the ultimate love story is not only about romance but about how to show radical love to the people in your life, including to yourself.

Amanda’s thoughts

Everyone knows the best way to start a relationship is with a bunch of lies, right? I mean, what could possibly go wrong? And if the boy you’re lying to lists “liars” as one of his pet peeves, it will probably be okay when you DO fess up to lying, right? RIGHT?!

It’s the summer before senior year and Nala is excited to hang out with Sadie, her best friend, and Imani, her cousin-sister-friend (Nala lives with Imani and her parents). She’s got it all planned out. But, as so often happens, nothing ends up going as she planned. Imani and Sadie are spending tons of time with Inspire Harlem, an organization that does community projects and raises awareness about social issues. Nala isn’t part of the group, but through an Inspire Harlem event, she ends up meeting Tye, a cute boy who is super into activism. Nala tells what she feels are small lies, but those lies become the basis for their relationship and become increasingly difficult to maintain the more they hang out. Does Tye like Nala for who she really is or who he thinks she is? Can he even really know her when she’s keeping her real self hidden? And even more importantly, can Nala even know herself in all this mess?

I loved this book for a lot of reasons. It’s full of passionate, dedicated, activist teens. Though Nala doesn’t live with her mother, one of the best parts of this story is how much of a role family plays. From Nala’s relationship with her aunt and uncle whom she lives with to all the time she spends with her grandma (and her grandma’s hilarious and great friends) to the many family get-together scenes, family is important. But most important? The idea of learning who you are, of forgiving yourself for missteps, of loving yourself, of being confident in exactly who you are. Throughout the story Nala learns that it’s not important what a cute boy thinks about her—it’s important what SHE thinks about HERSELF. I love how she eventually prioritizes figuring herself out and loving herself.

You can never go wrong picking up a book by Watson, but this book is really spectacular for its emphasis on growth, love, family, and truth. A great story about finding yourself.

Review copy (ARC) courtesy of the publisher

ISBN-13: 9781547600601
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 02/02/2021
Age Range: 13 – 17 Years

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