Book Review: The Revolution of Birdie Randolph (ARC)

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph

Author: Brandy Colbert

Publication Date: 20 August 2019

Genre: YA – Contemporary Romance

Pages: 336

Publisher: The NOVL/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Nicola Yoon comes a novel about first love and family secrets from Stonewall Book Award winner Brandy Colbert.

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.

Have you ever read a book that immediately transports you back to your teenage, awkward self? This was that book for me, and what made it even better was the fact that this story was about black characters and black culture, which is something that I didn’t get to read a lot of when I was younger.

16-year-old Dove ‘Birdie’ Randolph has always strived to live up to the expectations that her parents have set for her. With her big sister Mimi studying pre-med in college, Birdie is expected to follow behind Mimi’s success. Therefore, Birdie puts her schoolwork first, has a perfect GPA, and adheres to the strict rules that her parents have set in place. Her parents insist on having a relationship with anyone that she decides to date, which up until now she has always abided by, but she knows that her parents won’t approve of Booker since he has a troubled past.

Birdie’s estranged aunt Carlene shows up to stay with her family after a stint in rehab for substance abuse and addiction. Birdie immediately notices the tension between Carlene and her parents, but she is even more drawn to Carlene since she’s much more lax when it comes to household rules. As Birdie begins to open to Carlene, she begins to rebel against her parents’ strict rules by making choices that her parents would definitely NOT approve of.

This is one of those YA books, that I think is incredibly important and relevant to teenagers because the book has substance and deals with real life topics. This book discusses important topics such as substance abuse and addiction, underage drinking, peer and societal pressure, and a host of others. I think the author does a fantastic job of having an honest conversation about these topics without glorifying anything.

Overall, if you are looking for a real to life YA contemporary full of complex characters as well as a greater insight into black culture then you definitely need to pick this one up. Also, I really wish Carlene could come do my hair…just saying.

Thank you to The NOVL for providing an ARC for review. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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