You know when you pick up a book and are like, “I feel like I’ve read this”? Is that just me? I could have sworn I had read this book before, but when I checked Goodreads it told me no. So here we are. I may have just played myself. Keep reading this book review about a book I might have read twice.
Dove “Birdie” Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing her beloved soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks, and she’s on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past…whom she knows her parents will never approve of.
When her estranged aunt Carlene returns to Chicago and moves into the family’s apartment above their hair salon, Birdie notices the tension building at home. Carlene is sweet, friendly, and open-minded–she’s also spent decades in and out of treatment facilities for addiction. As Birdie becomes closer to both Booker and Carlene, she yearns to spread her wings. But when long-buried secrets rise to the surface, everything she’s known to be true is turned upside down
What stuck out to me most from The Revolution of Birdie Randolph is the weight of expectations. Not only is Birdie going through the immense pressure of preparing her resume and self for college admissions, but she also faces the immense scrutiny of her mother. At the same time, Carlene, Birdie’s aunt, is navigating the pressures of being an addict and her family expecting her to relapse. The Revolution of Birdie Randolph is about the consequences of these expectations. The ways their weight hangs off our shoulders, feeling like we are being smothered, and caged by images of what could be.
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph is also about speaking up for our own limits and our desires. Birdie is not only trying to figure out how to make the most of her summer, but also the pieces of herself separate from her mother and her expectations. What pieces of ourselves are true to our essence and which ones are the ones we perform only for applause? This theme is reflected in a variety of different characters like her queer best friend and asexual side character. Especially as teens, how do we grow into the person we want to be? A much freer version of ourselves?
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph is a story about second chances and family, secrets and forgiveness. Sometimes we think we know everything about a person, only for their decisions to shock us in what feels like betrayal – when in reality it could just be growing pains. There are those decisions we make to avoid other decisions in our cycle of hurt and forgiveness. Find The Revolution of Birdie Randolph on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.