A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The primary focus of the book is on relationships, but there are occasional mentions of current social movements such as Black Lives Matter. The author makes an economical choice to use the names of historic Black figures (Countee Cullen, Alvin Alley) for place names. There are also quotes form people such as Michelle Obama, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Audre Lorde, which might encourge the reader to look them up.
Loving and accepting yourself is the basis for loving anybody else.
Positive Role Models
The main character is a member of a big Jamaican immigrant family who enjoy their traditions of comfort foods and the expectation to stick together as a clan. A group of teens participates in Inspire Harlem, a program that teaches them about Black history, community service, and environmental causes. There's a sweet dating relationship between a man and woman in their 80s. Two girls with heavier bodies than their peers have positive discussions about their self-image. Both of them have hot, popular guys as boyfriends.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
The main character's quest for romantic love is a main plot driver. She meets a boyfriend, and their relationship goes through several ups and downs. There is a brief, sweet conversation about having a first kiss, and a few kisses between couples including middle-school kids, teens, adults, and older adults.
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Products & Purchases
There are a few mentions of brand names, including Consumer Reports magazine, Cherry Coke, and the Notes app on iPhone.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Love is a Revolution, by Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Renée Watson (Piecing Me Together), is about 17-year-old Nala, who sets a summer goal to find love. She finds it with Tye, a teen she meets through her cousin Imani's Inspire Harlem program. At the same time, she deals with changing relationships between the members of her big, complicated Jamaican immigrant family living in Harlem. Nala and Tye's relationship goes through several ups and downs. There is a brief, sweet conversation about having a first kiss, and a few kisses between couples including middle-school kids, teens, adults, and older adults.
Is It Any Good?
This charming book is a good match for teens whose interests straddle the YA and middle grade worlds. Renée Watson's Love Is a Revolution places a girl with a young teen mentality into an older teen setting (activism, parties). Though the main character gets the boyfriend she wants, she's mostly preoccupied with her changing relationship with the cousin whose family she lives with, her difficult relationship with her mother after she left home, and absorbing the wisdom of her 80-something grandma.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.