Love Is a Revolution

Renee Watson

Love Is a Revolution
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Love Is a Revolution

Renee Watson

From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Renee Watson comes a new YA–a love story about not only a romantic relationship but how a girl finds herself and falls in love with who she really is.

When Nala Robertson reluctantly agrees to attend an open mic night for her cousin-sister-friend Imani’s birthday, she finds herself falling in instant love with Tye Brown, the MC. He’s perfect, except … Tye is an activist and is spending the summer putting on events for the community when Nala would rather watch movies and try out the new seasonal flavors at the local creamery.

In order to impress Tye, Nala tells a few tiny lies to have enough in common with him. As they spend more time together, sharing more of themselves, some of those lies get harder to keep up. As Nala falls deeper into keeping up her lies and into love, she’ll learn all the ways love is hard, and how self-love is revolutionary.

In Love Is a Revolution, plus size girls are beautiful and get the attention of the hot guys, the popular girl clique is not shallow but has strong convictions and substance, and the ultimate love story is not only about romance but about how to show radical love to the people in your life, including to yourself.


When Nala sees Tye Brown on stage at an open mic night run by youth activist group Inspire Harlem, she’s instantly smitten by his good looks and his caring manner. Nala is there for her ‘cousin-sister-friend’ Imani’s birthday; she doesn’t really get along with the other woke-as-can-be Inspire Harlem members. When Nala and Tye strike up a conversation, in the heat of the moment Nala pretends to be the person she thinks Tye will be attracted to: vegetarian, political and a volunteer for an arts and craft program at her grandmother’s retirement home.

Often in a teen romance, the tension comes from whether a crush is requited or not, but in Love Is a Revolution it’s clear right from the start that Tye likes Nala. The more pressing question is: does Nala like herself? Nala feels judged by Imani and her friends for so many things: straightening her hair; buying bottled water; enjoying make-up; not being politically active; not knowing more about Black history. As her relationship with Tye deepens and tensions with Imani grow worse, Nala is forced to consider why she feels so inferior.

Love Is a Revolution isn’t just a novel about young love and self-acceptance, or even an exploration of grassroots activism. What really drew me in was the thoughtful exploration of how complicated relationships with family, friendships and community can be. The friction between Nala and Imani has deep historical roots, involving both their mothers, and it’s the older generation at Sugar Hill retirement home that give the greatest insight into the situation. This was an immersive and uplifting read, depicting multi-dimensional teenagers with passions, doubts, fears and dreams. For ages 13+.

Leanne Hall is the children’s specialist for Readings online. She also writes books for children and young adults.

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