Book Review: ‘Love is a Revolution’ by Renee Watson


By Jenae Padilla | For AC JosepH Media

What can I say? This was a very fun read that actually gave me a range of emotions from start to finish.

I enjoyed the growth track of each main or supporting character. Sure a few people didn’t do what I wanted them to do or what I felt like the should have but it is not my story. The book takes place over summer break so about three months worth of action in these 290 pages.

The pacing felt real and even had the few chapters where nothing seemed to really be happening, but that’s life.

Our main character, Nala, to me at first was just floating about in her Harlem cityscape. A Junior in High school, she is just really getting to know herself and trying to break free from a kind of bondage she hasn’t put her finger on yet. She is likeable throughout though and you of course are curious to see how she grows. By books end you know her future is bright.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, YA isn’t YA without a love interest. (Just curious: are there any young adult books that do not have a romantic love story in it?) Enter Tye Brown who is an endless well of positivity and of not reading social cues.

My boy had me cracking up. I am almost certain nothing he does is supposed to be hilarious, but he just struck a chord in me that could not stop making me say, “read the room.” Throughout the book I was impressed at his willingness to get it right.

At its core I believe Love is a Revolution to be a coming of age. A character finds herself in the middle of some drama and she has to dig deep to decide what she wants to do about it. And that’s all life is. Answering the question, “Who do I want to be when the dust settles?”

It was refreshing to see the support system she had. She thought her bonds were breaking but they were expanding to grow stronger the way she herself had to.

It was very easy to identify with this book and all of the characters. If only just for the fact that I have been a 17-year-old black teen girl.

I saw myself in a lot of her choices and when I didn’t see myself, I saw people I knew. Usually, I don’t like relating so closely with characters in books or TV, but this was a pleasant exception.

There was a realness to this book that I almost feel like I have no business reviewing it or giving my opinion on it. Renee crushed this storytelling.

4.5 Teardrops

Bio: Aa author, communication specialist and livestream coordinator for Cornerstone Community Church in Vineland, Padilla is a member of Front Runner New Jersey’s inaugural 30 Under 35 Top Young African American Leaders in South Jersey list in 2022.

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