“Revolution is not a one-time event … or something that happens around us rather than inside of us.”
Love Is a Revolution is a delightful short listen. At the time of this writing, it is an Amazon Editor’s Pick as Best Young Adult Audiobook. There is a lot to like about this book. The characters are well-developed and relatable. Relationships are complex. The storyline is entertaining, while inviting readers to examine their beliefs on several social issues without being too preachy. The main focus of the book can be found in the title—love. But before you get too nervous, the book is not sexual. Yes there is talk of physical attraction, but the focus is really on what it means to love oneself.
The audiobook is narrated by the author of the book, Renee Watson. Her narration feels like someone is telling you a story that they have experienced for themselves as opposed to someone who is simply reading words on a page. It was hard for me to imagine the main character’s voice as anything other than the way Ms. Watson chose to express it. Nala Robertson, the main character, is a full-figured African American who lives with her “cousin-sister-friend’ and is looking forward to the summer before her senior year in high school. I found it refreshing to listen to Nala describe her full figure with admiration and acceptance. She loves the shape of the person she sees in the mirror. However, as the story develops, she must come to terms with the difference between being true to herself and creating an illusion of herself.
The story takes place over the course of a summer. She begins summer with three goals in mind: find a new hairdo, binge-watch movies with her cousin-sister-friend, and fall in love. Her aunt also wants her to begin the process of applying for colleges, namely, writing her personal essays. It is not long after the story begins that Nala’s perfect plans for the summer take on a complexity she had not anticipated. She does meet a young man to whom she is attracted and he to her; but she is not who she presents herself to be. In her attempt to deepen their relationship she misrepresents herself and wonders if he would still like her if he really knew the truth about her.
I will not give away the ending. But I will say that Nala’s summer plans for finding love are realized. A radical and revolutionary kind of love that begins on the inside and radiates to those around her. This is a girl-power, Black-girl magic kind of book. It is a young adult book that has insights for those of us who have not been “young” adults for quite some time. A great book for summer. 6 Hours 31 minutes. (Audible)