Love is a Revolution is a relatable YA about our need for self-love. We can get so caught up in trying to be someone else. Whether it’s for a crush, our family, it never ends well. Love is a Revolution is a love letter to self-acceptance. Keep reading this book review if you love the idea of black plus size girls realizing the importance of self-love!
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Nala immediately hooked me. Not only does she make lists for just about everything, but she lets her vulnerability shine on the page. While she may not have plans to conquer the world, for the summer she just wants to find love. Love is a Revolution was extremely character driven as we are wrapped up in Nala’s lies and emotions. I loved how Watson delivers Nala, completely, flawed, and as confused as we are. She’s relatable because haven’t we all told a lie that seemed small, but ends up looming over us?
Having been immersed in a whole group of YAs about passionate, social conscious teens, and loving it, Nala is refreshing in some ways because she’s more like how I was at a teen. She loves the music she likes and maybe she doesn’t understand some of the implications of it, or why it matters, but in these moments she felt so relatable to who I was. Not who I am now, but I think teens also need characters who meet them where they are now. There are still questions Nala needs to grapple with and answer for herself, but Nala just felt so relatable to me.
At the same time, Love is a Revolution is about self-love. And I loved the message that this kind of love is a revolution. Because the world can tell us that we should put others before us always, or try to be people we aren’t. But loving ourselves, especially as women of color, is revolutionary and crucial. This is the true core of the book and Watson only adds other elements: Nala’s relationship with her mother and family and her friendships. While the ending felt a bit hasty in some regards, this book was a fantastic character driven story!