Cover Image: Love Is a Revolution

Love Is a Revolution

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Member Reviews

Disclaimer: I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was such a cute coming-to-age YA romance that features activism, a plus sized heroine and family.
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I loved this coming-of-age YA romance! It was so fun watching Nala find herself and her voice. Watson is a fantastic author that all young audiences should be reading!
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I fell in love with cover and do think this book is pretty awesome! I just was not a full fan of it, but I know this will resound so much more with teens!

I love her grandma, and her relationship with her and her grandma's friends. The whole feeling of family in the book was so lovely, even when she was torn on how to feel about her mom. It just felt like a great way to focus on family and culture, making the book so well done!

I did not like the drama or insta love. But I think the social justice issues will hit the mark with teens!
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I will absolutely be adding this book to my freshman supplemental reading list and recommending that students read it. There is so much here: positivity about body image, the need to be plugged in and conscious about your life choices, the need for honesty. None of it reads like a polemic or preachy, but there is a lesson there, and it's a lesson being taught with real and diverse characters. 100% will use, must read. Love it!
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Nala no longer lives with her mom, who is often MIA and instead lives with her cousin, Imani, her aunt, and uncle. These difficulties are part of the reason why she’s never really learned to love herself. This summer she wants to get her first boyfriend and when she falls head over heels for one of her cousin’s activist friends, she tries to portray herself in a way that may not be too accurate. As she falls deeper and misleads him more she realizes she wants to be more like the person she’s convinced Tye she already is.  But that might be harder than it sounds and maybe it is best to discover who you are and love yourself before you fall in love so you don’t lose yourself loving someone else.  Plenty of good quotes and characters, and a realistic story of young summer love. I really enjoyed this one and wish life hadn’t gotten so in the way of me reading this months ago.
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This was a solid romance with teen problems and all, but it’s not on the super mature side of teen issues so it would be a great one for middle school and up.
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Love love love Renee Watson and love this book. The plus size main character was a refreshing change from typical YA, especially that her plus size was not an issue and didn't become a plotline. Loved the focus on Nala's family dynamic and the setting for the story. Nala's story arc is beautiful and this really is an excellent book.
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I love books by Renee Watson, and Love Is a Revolution did not disappoint. This book is a great addition to the new YA canon that focuses on themes of body positivity, body acceptance, and self love. It's also a book that highlights activism, which is a powerful statement. 

Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for sharing this book with me. All thoughts are my own.
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If I taught a higher grade this book would be required reading. Watson has a beautiful way of telling a story and I can’t recommend her novels enough. Love is a Revolution is beautiful and life changing.
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I rarely cry at YA books.. but this book. My god... I felt seen. At 42 I felt seen.. a dark-skinned, plus sized teen black girl finding love and being herself(well... sort of LOL in the beginning) .... a revolution. Activism meets love. I think this is a book every black teen, any gender identity, should read. At the heart of it, self love is the key to real love.
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I love this positive portrayal of talented, family and community oriented young African American women.
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Thank you Netgalley and Bloomsbury YA for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

“Love is a Revolution'' is a story about the beauty of love and the importance of “self love”. I am so on the fence about this story.  In the beginning I struggled a bit with Nala’s character.  When the main character is problematic it makes it very difficult to enjoy the story. So there were several times I almost just put it down. However I continued to move through and as the story progressed it got a little better. The story kept referring to this difficult relationship with her mother but never went into detail. Which made me feel like maybe that was a crucial moment in her life and could’ve made her character more sympathetic. In the story when Nala finally realizes that she needs to think differently it comes off somewhat unbelievable. And maybe that is because we don’t really get to see much of this change in Nala before the book comes to a close.  

After moving in with her cousin Imani, Nala’s life takes a turn. Her cousin is part of an activist group called “Inspire Harlem” that helps to improve the political, social, economic and environmental conditions of the local community. Nala isn’t all that interested in activism or her cousin’s group. 
During open mic night at Imani’s birthday party, Nala spies Tye Brown, the MC and falls in love at first sight. Once Nala meets Tye, she decides to tell a few white lies about the social responsibility project for seniors. Pretending that she is involved in social activism like her cousin knowing that she isn’t interested in the things that drive her cousin. Will Nala realize that being someone she isn’t is no way to live? Will she realize her own worth?

I would recommend this book for grades 6 and up. This would be a good addition to any library young adult collection.
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My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½⭐️ (3.5 stars)

I really appreciated how Love is a Revolution is a YA novel written for a YA audience. Nowadays YA encompasses such a broad range of maturity levels. So, sometimes I’ll read a YA book and it’ll includes some seriously adult-like problems/contexts, and have wonder if I would actually recommend it to a young teen to read.

You can tell Watson wrote this story with a teen audience in mind. Meaning that it may not be the most mature, nuanced book, but nor does it boast to be. The characters in Love is a Revolution feel real, are realistically flawed, and read like actual teenagers. This is the sort of book I would highly recommend to young teens, as I can easily believe they’d feel themselves represented in its pages. And its main message: to love yourself and be true to you, is a one I think a lot of teens could benefit from hearing repeated.

I loved the representation in this book. Nala is Black, plus-sized and proud, and I loved that. When she said, “People always think the only thing big girls cry about is our weight. I’m perfectly fine with my body,” it really resonated with me. I also enjoyed that Watson took the time to a show a non-traditional mother-daughter relationship in this story.

What didn’t work for me was the constant girl-on-girl hate, the judgemental attitude coming from the main character, and the constant lying. It just felt over the top, immature, and unnecessary. I get that the intention was for the reader to see Nala grow over time – and don’t get me wrong, I usually love me a flawed character – but it just felt like too much of this story focused on her hating on other girls and pretending to be someone she was not, that the revelation at the end felt a little rushed and incomplete.

I also didn’t love the romance. It felt like Tye was trying to change who Nala was, and then with Nala lying about herself on top of that – it just didn’t work for me. I’m glad at the end Nala figured out the importance of loving herself. I just wish she could have done so a little sooner.

Thank you to the publisher, Bloomsbury YA, and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.
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This book was amazing. As a plus size black woman this book made me feel seen! I loved it so much I had to go grab a physical copy for my bookshelves
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Somehow I missed this book in my digital ARC stack. And boy do I regret that. This is a beautiful story of discovering love. To describe Nala in just a few words, I would choose family-oriented, relaxed, insecure, and reluctant. She's not a fan of change, and she isn't sure who she wants to be. 
Then she meets a boy, and her whole world starts turning upside down because of her lies. She starts to feel concerned about her world's colliding because she doesn't want her lies to come to the surface, and she's struggling with how to come clean. 
Nala's family is amazing. Each character is so we'll developed despite receiving such short amounts of page space. I could really put myself in Nala's shoes. There's a lot of good going on in her life which she sometimes struggles to see. 
I enjoyed the journey of this book, even though it was predictable. I enjoyed the characters and the themes. I enjoyed that the main source of stress for Nala was a group committed to eco friendly practices, and how she often her cousin and friends brought up how to help the earth.
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I generally love Renée Watson, and I really wanted to love this book but ultimately it was only a "like" for me. While I think this book is an important contribution to books for young adults, Watson's writing was her usual excellence, I struggled to connect with the main character, particularly as the plot progressed and I got more and more frustrated with her choices. I struggled to understand some of her choices, particularly lying about herself. I ended up finding all of Nala's friends more than I liked her, but generally disliking the toxicity between them all. I was expecting more of a sweet romance at the core, based on the description I read and the blurbs I saw. If love is a revolution, I think I was hoping for a revolution that resulted in a little more self-love and friend-love. But I do feel, despite my personal frustrations, that Nala was a fully, wonderfully realized character. Maybe I wasn't always a fan of her, but she felt very "real" to me, and I think that voice is part of why I always love Watson's work so much. 

The format of the story was a lot of fun; I appreciated the lists and outlines. As much as I grew to resent Nala, her voice was strong and clear, and that made the book fun and interesting to read structurally, even if I didn't love the main character as a person. It's always a difficult line to walk, writing characters who are flawed but still sympathetic. Perhaps if the tropes didn't feel as worn out, I would have had more patience for Nala. That said, I acknowledge that it is critically important for young people, especially young plus-size Black girls, to have books that voice struggles they may face, and I can see how complicated it was for Nala to battle her internal biases against herself and the expectations placed on her by her peers, family, and society at large. In the end, I think Nala was able to find resolution and conclusion on her own terms, and that did feel powerful. 

I think that ultimately it's hard for me to fully, accurately assess this book because I am not its target audience, and I'm glad to have a better understanding of the book's contents, because I can see how it would appeal to certain readers. It's a voice and a story that I haven't seen as much of, and covers important ground.
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I have some pretty mixed feelings on this one. I had a love/hate relationship with the main character because while I think she was realistically flawed which was nice, it did make the book really frustrating to read at times. However, I think the book did a lot of great things as well. It's a love story, but self love is also at the forefront, which was really nice. I think a lot of people could benefit from this read. This was a really fast paced read overall as well.
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When I first heard this book was coming out, I loved the synopsis. When the book cover came out, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this story. I wish I had had this story when I was younger. It's the epitome of Black joy and Black fat rep. It explores the ups and downs of young Black love, Black self-love, and Black family love. Excellent, excellent, excellent book!
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The cover absolutely sold me on this book before I knew anything about it, and was really grateful for the book as it tackled friendships, first love, body image, self-love, and activism. Ultimately Renee Watson does a good job of addressing how important it is to know yourself on your own. The main character was flawed in such a realistic way, which I liked, but it definitely frustrated me at points, especially with the girl-on-girl hate that defined her relationships with people around her. It was good that the author acknowledged that this aspect of the MC was problematic, to say the least, but I wanted to see more of her growth on that front - because essentially it felt like Nala was falling into the "not like other girls" trope which I truly hate. And I wish there was a bit more queer rep in this book because I felt that those themes would've been important to the larger shape of the story. , especially since towards the end we are able to see that the author's intention was to highlight just how toxic some of these YA tropes can be, but that exploration felt really rushed and unsatisfactory. It's still a cute, quick read that raises some crucial points about what it is to love and believe yourself truly.
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This review is based on an ARC copy. 

I enjoyed this story thoroughly. It is a great read for young people about how to navigate a relationship and learn to love yourself. Self love is a part of being in a relationship and not losing yourself in the process. The story does a good job of delivering that message with a character that has a lot of growing to do. Sometimes characters need time to explore themselves and fall a bit to grow and bringing the reader on that journey helps to make connections to their own lives.
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