Title: THE REVOLUTION OF BIRDIE RANDOLPH
Author: Brandy Colbert
Release date: August 2019
Publisher: NOVL (Little, Brown Young Readers)
Genre: YA realistic fiction
Trigger warnings: mentions of violence
(ARC sent courtesy of TheNOVL).
THE REVOLUTION OF BIRDIE RANDOLPH is a story of a girl searching for a sense of freedom, and a way to follow her own heart while still making sure her parents are happy. This is a lovely, fast-paced story that so many young women and men can relate to. Brandy Colbert has written a great new young adult realistic fiction book that you’ll want to read all in one sitting.
Here’s a short summary taken from Amazon:
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.
As you all probably know by now, I don’t read too many realistic fiction books – but, I had seen Brandy Colbert’s new book and it looked really interesting to me. So, I decided to sign up to review an early copy! I am really glad that I was given the chance to review it, because I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The only other YA realistic fiction book that I liked this much was THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon. In fact, if you liked that book, then you’ll most likely enjoy THE REVOLUTION OF BIRDIE RANDOLPH as well! In terms of pacing, relatable characters, and swoony romance, I predict that Brandy Colbert’s book will be a new favorite among YA realistic fiction readers.
The story centers around Dove (also called Birdie), and her struggle to tell her parents that she wants to date a boy who they may not approve of. His name is Booker, and even though he is nice to Dove, his past could still prevent him from ever being with her. The story also discusses the return of her aunt Carlene and why Dove’s family is so stand-offish toward Carlene. This proves to be an incredible plot twist that I never would have seen coming in a million years. Brandy Colbert did a great job at not dropping any hints about the plot twist until right before it happened, so it kept me on the edge of my seat throughout my whole read-through. (And yes, I did read it all in one day 😂).
Dove also encounters her ex-boyfriend when she goes to take an SAT prep class, and discovers something that she did not expect. (No spoilers here!). An intriguing cast of characters help – and sometimes hurt – Birdie along her journey: her mysterious aunt Carlene, her best friend Laz, his funny mom Ayanna, Dove’s mother and father, her ex-beau Mitchell, and more!
The only thing I wasn’t really a fan of is isn’t even an issue with the book, but rather I was a little angry at a specific character. I was upset at how hard a time Laz gives Birdie just because her family and life seems to be more stable than his. He is queer, and is struggling with coming out to his parents. Still, I thought that he should have been more understanding to Birdie since he knew that she is having a hard time too, and especially since they are best friends. I definitely think that Laz’s attitude didn’t help Birdie’s situation either, since she was looking for support. They were both looking for validity for their actions, and didn’t realize that other people can be having problems too. I do think that Laz realizes this by the end of the story, and he and Birdie kind of “make up.”
Also, aunt Carlene is such a great character. A central plot to the story is how she is recovering from being an addict, and how she wants to be a part of Dove’s life again. She’s funny, witty, and helps Dove to break out of her shell and to be the best person she can be. Another character I liked was Dove’s dad. As she starts branching out and doing more fun things – in addition to being a smart, “perfect” student like her mom wants her to be – Dove’s dad is very supportive of this. It seems that Dove’s mom has pushed Dove to be a good student, and while Dove is appreciative of this in some form, she wishes that she hadn’t missed out on doing fun, normal teenager things. I liked that Dove’s dad helped Dove find a happy medium between the two.
Once the book releases, I will add on to my review and discuss some of my favorite parts in the book and Dove’s change in character throughout the story.
All-in-all, for me not being a big fan of realistic fiction books, I really did enjoy THE REVOLUTION OF BIRDIE RANDOLPH! Like I mentioned above, Brandy Colbert does a great job at hooking the reader. She introduces so many plot twists and surprises that you can’t help but keep reading! You’ll fall in love with Birdie as she goes through things that many teenagers can relate to. Both adults and teens alike will love this book, and I definitely recommend it!
THE REVOLUTION OF BIRDIE RANDOLPH receives 4.5 stars out of 5.
(All opinions and views are my own, and I always review honestly while trying to be kind and diplomatic. I support and appreciate the efforts of the authors whose books I review, and I highly recommend reading a book for yourself to form your own opinions of it. Thank you for reading my review!)