Renée Watson’s Love Is a Revolution is a story of summer love, family bonds, Black girl empowerment, and loving who you are.
Nala wants the summer before her senior year to be special. She wants to find a gorgeous new hairstyle. She wants to spend as much time as possible with her cousin Imani. Most of all, she wants to find love.
Then Imani joins a community youth organization that fights for racial and environmental justice and, at one of the organization’s events, Nala meets Tye and falls in love. She tells a few small lies so that Tye will feel that they have more in common. She spends the summer keeping up appearances, though she knows her tales are bound to fall apart. Though Nala knows that self-love is a revolution, she struggles with loving herself; in fact, she’s not sure that she knows herself at all.
Nala’s conversational narration is heartfelt, illuminating all of her perceived flaws and strengths. Her voice is steady, friendly, and no nonsense, exploring her identity and her relationships with those whom she loves, most of all Tye, Imani, and her family members. In these relationships, in action and in thought, Nala puts others first. Her perceptions of others are influenced by her comparisons of herself to them, revealing the depth of her insecurities. As the story unfolds, Nala gains surer footing, realizing that it’s okay not to know what she wants yet, so long as she gives herself grace on her way to becoming her future self.
Love Is a Revolution is a powerful young adult novel whose activist heroine works to change the world—and her self-perception.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.