Review of Love Is a Revolution

Love Is a Revolution
by Renée Watson
High School    Bloomsbury    400 pp.    g
2/21    978-1-5476-0060-1    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5476-0061-9    $13.29

All Nala has on her summer agenda is to pick a new hairstyle, spend time with her “cousin-sister-friend” Imani, and find love. Nala is not very inspired by Imani’s activism or her activist friends, finding them pretentious — that is, until she meets Tye, a new member of Imani’s Inspire Harlem group, with whom she has an instant connection. Nala tells a few little white lies about her own activism and volunteerism to help stoke the embers of attraction, but soon finds that being anyone other than your truest self makes real intimacy difficult. With her carefully created masquerade revealed, Nala is challenged to expand her definition of love. Watson (Piecing Me Together, rev. 7/17) offers a rom-com that is as much an ode to New York, especially Harlem, as it is to Black love. As Nala soon finds out, love is more than romantic relationships and extends to her family (she lives with her aunt’s family due to a strained relationship with her mother), friends, and community, and most of all, to herself. A rare “fat” protagonist, Nala is “not down with the Say-It-Loud-I’m-Fat-and-I’m-Proud movement” but grows to embrace her body. Watson’s deft ability to write characters that are relatable yet flawed offers readers a nuanced, non-saccharine love story.

From the March/April 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Monique Harris

Monique Harris is a public educator, reading specialist and independent educational consultant. She holds a Master of Science degree in Education from Simmons University, and is enrolled in a PhD program at Florida State University.

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