Love is a revolution by Renee Watson

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Nala, a Jamaican-American teen, is dragged along to an Inspire Harlem event with her cousin-sister-friend. Inspire Harlem is a group for teen activists with high ideals, but Nala does not fit. For a start she buys bottled water and she loves bacon! She falls head-over-heels for Tye, a young activist within the group, but hides her true opinions in order to stay the focus of his affection. Pretending she is someone she is not and lying to hide her true self creates complications for their developing friendship and romance.

This is a story about a teen coming to grips with her own identity, her own appearance, and her own view of life and love. The romance is gentle and Tye almost seems too good to be true. Nala uses music and song lyrics and a journal to help her work through her insecurities, and the old folks home where her Grandmother lives provides the opportunity to seek wisdom.

This is a gentle coming-to-wisdom and self-affirming story with a larger than life central character approaching her senior year at High School. Written with journal entries, and the poetry of song lyrics scattered throughout the summer holidays narrative, this is also an insight into a culture and family within a New York borough. Black lives matter, and stories that have strong black females as lead characters are important. This book will be enjoyed by readers who enjoy romance stories.

Themes: Romance, Jamaican-American teenagers, Self-affirmation, Activism.

Carolyn Hull