Review of Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution

Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution
by Kacen Callender
High School     Amulet/Abrams    336 pp.         g
9/22     978-1-4197-5687-0     $19.99
e-book ed.  978-1-6470-0412-5    $15.54

Seventeen-year-old Lark is sure that once they hit fifty thousand Twitter followers, an agent will pick up their novel, and they’ll finally be able to prove they’re “worthy of being loved.” Lark—who lives in West Philly and is Black, nonbinary, polyamorous, and neurodivergent—takes summer writing classes with other Black, queer teens, including their ex-best friend Kasim. Lark and Kasim butt heads because Lark believes in unconditional love and forgiveness, while revolutionary Kasim would rather “burn down” everything wrong with society. But when Kasim accidentally posts about his own unrequited love from Lark’s Twitter account, the thread goes viral, and Lark takes credit. As Lark lies for internet fame, they can’t help but wonder: who is Kasim really in love with? And does Lark even love themself? The Twitter posts re-created throughout are sometimes hilarious, sometimes unsettlingly real, exploring internet callout culture and what it truly takes to grow from one’s mistakes. The novel can be didactic at times, but the characters and their relationships are complex, engaging, and delightfully flawed. References to the COVID-19 pandemic are seamlessly interwoven into everyday life; frank discussions of topics like autism and ADHD in the Black community, and how to navigate polyamorous relationships, feel fresh and necessary in the YA sphere. A brief writing guide for aspiring teen authors is appended.

From the September/October 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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