Cover Image: Love Is a Revolution

Love Is a Revolution

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Member Reviews

I'm torn with how to rate this book.  

I was annoyed with all of the lists in the book, and it wasn't until 2/3 of the way through where you find out what the connection with the lists really is.  I felt like there were a lot of storylines that were left alone and we didn't get a lot of resolution.

I liked the idea of the story, but I'm not sold with how it was presented.  I did enjoy the intergenerational aspect of this story.  I wanted to read more about Nala's time with her grandma and her friends.  Overall, it was a very quick and easy read.
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You know that old adage: "Never judge a book by its cover?" YEAH. I saw this book cover and was stunned: by how gorgeous the art was. Nala is hella cute and the colors just pop. And then it struck me--how many times I could count on my hand a plus sized Black girl!!! Nala is centered on the cover AND in the narrative--in such a confident stance. Author Renee Watson talked about it in an interview:"So many times in literature, big bodies are erased or portrayed in defeated, downtrodden ways. I am intentional about having girls with big bodies on covers who are happy, content and fashionable. I truly believe that representation matters, and that includes body diversity as well."

In this YA novel, Nala is a Black teenage girl who, like many teenagers is staring the summer in the eyes. Summer is finally here and she wants to have fun, go places, heck, even fall in love. She’s also staring the changing transitions that come with young adulthood: she has yet to figure out what she wants to do after highschool, she hasn’t even written her personal statement essays for college apps and she constantly reminded of the expectation of her family for her. She’s also in a weird space: her best friend, her cousin is drifting away from her and she can’t figure ot why. Dragged to a youth activist meeting by her cousin and neighborhood friend, she finds a guy involved in the group in a leadership position who thinks she’s cute. He’s interested in what she has to say and a little lie becomes a big lie in the foundation of their new and fresh relationship that builds over the summer.

So, I hate the “I lied in the beginning and will ultimately hurt this person I might/may/will be in love with” trope. Alas, I do love Renée Watson’s writing. She writes in the familiar voice that everything I open up a book of hers, I feel at home. I feel like this voice is from my old neighborhood. From middle school lit like ‘Piercing Me Together’ to kid lit like ‘Harlem’s Little Blackbird’, I welcomed reading this book in the YA genre as I’m always game for her work. So the pros and cons for the review! 

Pros: 

The narrative: Took me by surprise in a way that worked very well with exploring the characters. I hope that Nala’s story would not revolve around Tye, the cute guy she met. It did not take center stage. Instead the relationships of Nala’s family take this precious spot and the story was better for it. Nala’s cousin, Imani, Imani’s parents who took in Nala after tensions with her mother, and Nala’s favorite person--her grandmother color the pages and as a reader, I learned so much about Nala through the interactions with them. There are some great themes threaded into the story that are super important and relevant like activism in the neighborhood, especially for young people today as we learn more and more about social injustices and more young people are heading movements. 

Representation of what we don’t see often in literature super often nowadays: Black girls, Plus sized Black girls and women centered in stories and on the cover. Also young people not always living with their parents but having family members as their legal guardians. There is an example of a loving, supportive family that has Nala’s back. While complicated, (Nala left home after an argument with her biological mother and went to live with her auntie, uncle and cousin) they met and do their best for family gatherings and taking care of each other. I reckon it could have been easy for any other author to lean towards Black pain and Black trauma here and thankfully this author doesn’t. It is mostly implied in Nala’s own words that not every is well equipped to handle everything in life, like parenthood and that is fine. Like the Ashanti proverb,” it takes a village (to raise a child)” and this was one of the biggest selling points that I hope readers don’t gloss over. It is ever so important for Black characters and Black families.


Cons: While it served the topic of self love, the lyrics (by fictional indie singer Blu?) that sometimes opened a chapter or led Nala listening to in a moment of feeling down, killed some of the immersion for me as I read through this book in a few sittings. The pacing of the book threw me for a loop after the big confrontation scene where Nala is “found out” and some loose ends about certain family members for both Nala and Tye fell flat to me as the book was ending.

Overall a solid book for the YA audience with a few weak points, I loved Nala as a character. We are not always perfect. People are flawed, imperfect, messy. Being a teen, especially one of color and especially a young woman isn’t an easy road to travel, speaking from experience. Author Renee Watson fills these pages of someone I rooted for, someone I cringed for and ultimately a character that picked herself up on the pages I read and danced and struggled and preserved, finding that loving herself during a summer to remember was the biggest prize to win.
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I thought that this was a great novel. A beautiful lesson in celebrating Black Pride and self-love! I would reccomnd to anyone.
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Renée Watson is brilliant because this was a truly amazing read! 👏 I loved all of the characters and how so many different issues and elements were explored. At the core is this exploration of self-love, but also romantic love, love for family, love for community, love for the environment, and love for culture. She did a great job of developing this world that truly is believable and resonates with everyday life and experiences. Of course, I love that the main character is a plus-sized woman who doesn't question whether or not she's attractive or loveable because of her size, which was an added bonus because that's an assumption people make about plus-sized women that isn't true for everyone. I appreciated this body positive message. I truly loved reading this book and didn't want to put it down. 

*𝐈 𝐯𝐨𝐥𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐝𝐯𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐫'𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐩𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐢𝐧 𝐞𝐱𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚𝐧 𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰. 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐤 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐨 𝐍𝐞𝐭𝐠𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐞𝐀𝐑𝐂. 𝐀𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐦𝐲 𝐨𝐰𝐧*
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This has become one of my go-to black joy books that I have been consistently recommending to parents with high school girls. I want someone to record all of Blue’s songs from this book — for real!  The cover of this book is also swoon worthy.
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I loved this beautiful book.  It's definitely a new YA contemporary favorite that I'll recommend to the teens I work with.  This book would have changed me as a teenager.  The main character, Nala, is on a journey of understanding that "self-love is radical love" which is a beautiful thing for teens (and adults) to read about.  I loved the representation of the push and pull Nala feels to just exist versus to exist in service to combatting racism and keeping up with "woke" friends.  This is such an excellent book for so many reasons.
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I adore the cover of this book. The premise sounded amazing but it wasn't what I was hoping for. I loved that we had a plus-sized Black heroine who is confident and loves her family and a boy who actually likes her for her. I also liked that this book opens up the conversation about activism. What I didn't like was the main character lying about herself to impress a boy; but, I understand that she's a teenager and we've all done dumb things to impress a crush as teens. I also didn't like that the relationship turned toxic and that there was a lot of girl hate throughout the story. As an adult this book wasn't for me; however, teens will definitely connect with the characters and learn some important things.
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Nala and Imani have always been close, but when Nala moved into her cousin's house several years earlier they practically became sisters. When Nala begrudgingly agrees to attend an open mic night for Imani's birthday and meets Tye, a handsome activist who recently moved to Harlem, she pretends to be someone she's not, which tests her relationship with Imani. Can Nala figure out who she really is and be honest with her family and friends? If she does will Tye still like her? This is a compelling YA realistic fiction story that reads like a love letter to Harlem and celebrates body positivity.
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Nala is fierce. A girl who knows what she wants and values her family and friendships above all else. But Nala falls hard for Tye. So hard that she’s willing to lie about being a vegetarian (not) and how she (doesn’t really) volunteer at her grandmother’s retirement residence to impress him. Now that she seems to have everything she wants, she starts to question who she is and what kind of human she wants to be. As always, Renee Watson depicts realistic relationships of families and friends that are heart-rending but true with young women who are wise and powerful beyond their years.
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this was disappointing :(
- the activist group has the most stereotypical characteristics of social justice warriors
- Nala is one of my LEAST favorite characters I've ever read about. she makes a huge deal out of anyone just.. mentioning issues they care about. her boyfriend buying her a reusable water bottle was him shoving his beliefs down her throat. she gets mad when Tye asks questions about her "job" or wants to talk about his activist group bc he should just want to spend time with her but like... that's what people in relationships do? discuss their days/interests and ask questions about their partners days/interests??
- the lying about your interests bit bothered me a lot more than I thought it would & a lot of this was so cringey bc of it
- the message of loving yourself is great but.. can really be gathered from the title/synopsis
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I received an arc from NetGalley, and I have to say I knew what I was getting myself into, yet I still felt troubled by the book. It is a love-hate feeling, as I do not enjoy reading romance centered books, and characters lying to get what they want in life. I also didn't like any characters except the grandma. Like, I get the purpose of the story and the lack of exploration of the mother-daughter conflict. I just feel like I read the book to get it over with. However, as an educator, despite my feelings, I think this book is important and exudes the message theme of self-love, so I am appreciative that this book exists.
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A cute read about the main character Nala, a black fat girl, navigating family, romance, self love, and being true to oneself. There were things I did like and didn't like in this novel but I also feel like it could be a great read for a teenage black teen who may be experiencing the same issues as Nala.

I really enjoyed Renee Watson's writing and how she included lists and song lyrics to help tell the story. It was a fairly quick and easy read and loved the summer aspect. Watson did a great job at descriptions and creating a fairly realistic main character and situation. I've seen other reviews of people not liking the fact that Nala lied and changed herself to get a boyfriend, which is a completely valid criticism, but in the case of this novel, I didn't mind it. Watson made sure to include what the outcome would be for lying to a boy to get him to like you and how changing and not staying true to yourself can hurt others and yourself. If this aspect wasn't there, I would also not be a fan of the lying as well.

Like I said there were other things I didn't like as much and one thing was just kind of the plot itself. It didn't really have as much of a direction as I would have liked. We see a lot of conflict - surround Nala and other people but also internally to her as well - and not a lot of them had great ends to them. I would have loved to see some of the conflicts resolved more fully since this novel was fairly short and had some room to do so. I also would have loved to see a bit more character growth from Nala.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and was a fun read!
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Before you can love anyone else you have to love yourself and doing that is a type of revolution, also a revelation as you learn and grow. Nala wants to find love but when she does she finds herself pretending to be someone she isn’t. In per to find love for her family, friends and her new bae she has to first find love for herself. A great book that also very accurately describes Harlem in the summer
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This book feels like it is a YA that is designed to be read by teenagers. This book is full of authentic characters that are flawed and complex. I loved that the main character starts off as someone who isn't already "fighting the good fight" and just wants to be. The conversations about self-love, radicalization, and activism are well written and important for the intended demographic. This is an excellent empowering book that is needed for young people, especially young people that are BIPOC.
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This was a quick and sweet coming of age story set in Harlem that I really enjoyed! I loved Nala's character and her journey to figuring herself out, and also found the portrayal of new, slightly overzealous activist teens to be super relatable. I think this is one that my NYC teens will really enjoy and see themselves reflected in, and I liked that the romance part was fairly chaste so I can recommend it to my younger readers as well!
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Another winner from Newbery Honor winner Rene Watson. Those who enjoyed her previous titles will definitely like this one.
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AHHH LOVED LOVED LOVED THIS BOOK! SOOO MANY GREAT THINGS ABOUT THIS NOVEL. Firstly, this was a great book to read during Black History Month. Reading about characters of the black culture was truly unique and inspiring. We need more books like this. I also liked the mentions of Black Lives Matter. My favourite part about this book is THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-IDENTITY. You can't love anybody unless you love yourself. You have to come first before anyone else. I love that Nala has a major character development throughout the novel. I hated her at first; the way she lied about herself just to get Tye to like her. But, through her relationship with her grandmother and Imaani, she learns that she needs to stay true to herself. If Tye doesn't like her for who she is, he isn't worth it. This is definitely a wonderful novel for the teens of today's society, and even for adults too who feel a little lost about where they stand in life. I will definitely be recommending this read :)
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Love stories that explore social activism and creativity. Purchased this YA/middle grade novel for my middle school library.  Superb character development, elegant world building, and compelling plotting.
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Love Is A Revolution was a book I was super excited to read. The cover is beautiful and I knew I needed it.

Sadly I’m so disappointed that i didn’t love it. I almost DNF it but I kept myself going since it was a quick read. And I had hopes it would get better.

I found our main character Nala to be so awful. I honestly did not like her at all. I expect teenagers to be frustrating in YA novels but this was different. She was mean and lied about everything. It’s not the kind of main character I would like for a YA romance. 

What I did love about the book was the body positivity and all that the side characters did for their community. 
I also really loved the family dynamics. 

Overall it wasn’t a bad book. I would definitely read more by this author. But this one just wasn’t for me sadly.
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Damn, this book made me heart full. It's not all sweet and swoon worthy though but it's all balanced really well and I adored this book. Yes, the main pitch for this book sounds like your typical romance but that isn't the point of this book. This book is all about self-love, learning who you are and learning to be okay with the fact that you don't know fully who you are. There's also some great discussions around activism, family, friendships, heritage and how to be in a relationship. The characters were amazing. I didn't love them all but I understood all of their motivations and mind-sets and that's truly all that matters. I loved the element of list making that was featured in this book. It just caused for an unique way to talk about the main character's feelings. I adored following Nala so much. I just realised I haven't talked about that. I loved how confident she was but also insecure at the same time. It's hard to explain but if you've read this book that makes a lot of sense to you (at least I hope). Even though her romance with Tye wasn't the main vocal point of the story I did think it was very cute and I loved how imperfect it was on both sides and how this book acknowledges that and even how the characters acknowledge that. So yeah, in conclusion read this book as this is just so dang good.
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