The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert
Release date: August 20, 2019
An ARC was provided by Novl and LBFYR in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 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.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I picked up Brandy's books because I loved her short story in Summer Days & Summer Nights, but each one I've read hasn't lived up to that story. I'd read an excerpt of this one when its cover released, and I was really intrigued and excited about it. So here's what went wrong.
I'm always a bit uneasy about rebelling storylines in YA, but this one seemed to be going okay. But I felt like we barely got to know Booker before he and Birdie were moving so fast. There's also a plot twist that starts to get hinted at, and when I guessed where it was going, I felt disappointed. I feel like that twist has been used a lot lately (though I can't remember other examples and wouldn't want to spoil it for y'all anyways), and it's one I've never been a fan of. And then it took another turn that left a bad taste in my mouth. So that definitely colored my opinion of the entire book.
There were things I like, I promise! I liked Birdie's affection for and relationship with her older sister. I liked the layers of Birdie's dad. I really liked the diversity of character experiences; Brandy created a lot of fully-fleshed characters and I appreciated how they represented the facets of the Black experience.
Also, this is going to be super nitpicky, but Birdie and Booker were going to a Bulls game in the middle of the summer, and I didn't think the NBA season ran that long?
Content warnings: underage drinking, addiction issues, racism and microaggressions, foul language, a sex scene between two teens
The Verdict: Not TERRIBLE, but I guess Brandy's books aren't for me. Points for a great cover, though.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Probably not.