I’ve read and loved several of Renée Watson’s books, cementing her as one of my favourite authors for middlegrade and YA oontemporary. So I was so happy to receive an ARC of Love Is a Revolution, Watson’s new YA contemporary that is set to come out in early February (date depends on if you’re getting the UK or US edition). Read my review below to find out if it lived up to my expectations!
Many thanks to Bloomsbury UK for the ARC!
From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Rene Watson comes a new YA–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.
I often read YA contemporary to not have to think too much for a little while. But sometimes, you come across a book that really makes you think.
This is not a book that everyone will love. It’s really messy, and the main character, Nala, is not always at her best and not always very likeable. I did however really love her and I loved going on this journey of self love with her.
This book has some really nuanced discussions of what is important in life. And I really appreciated those and related to Nala’s struggle: activism isn’t for everyone, and it can feel, especially in this social media era, like you have to be this one specific kind of person who speaks out about everything and is aware of all of the issues going on in the world. That can feel intimidating and it can also make you feel like you’re not enough and like you’re not good enough. Not to say activism isn’t great and important, but just that there are different ways to do good in the world, and everyone has to figure out for themselves what they’re capable of and what suits them as a person.
Going into this book, I expected a main focus on the romance, based on the synopsis, but the main focus is actually on family; on Nala’s relationship with her cousin Imani especially. One thing I think could have made the book even stronger would have been to have chapters from Imani’s perspective as well. Because both of these characters struggle a lot and they go through a learning process in the book.
At this point I’ll just read anything Renée Watson writes.
Is this a release you’ve been anticipating?