I’m Reading: The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, by Brandy Colbert

I don’t usually read YA, but when I was browsing through the library’s new acquisitions in romance, this caught my eye. I might technically call The Revolution of Birdie Randolph romance, but its breadth and depth defy genre. It reminds me of the tarot card The Lovers. While the story is about relationships both physical and romantic, it’s ultimately about choices. It’s especially about whether you will stay true to yourself in making those choices.

Birdie (Dove) Randolph is a high-achieving teen in Chicago, with ambitious parents who dream big for her. But those dreams come with expectations, and those expectations don’t include a boy who’s spent time in juvie, no matter how happy he makes her. When her aunt Carlene moves in after another stretch in rehab, family secrets begin to float to the surface that threaten everything Birdie thought she knew. She must navigate the thin line between who she’s told she should be, and who she wants to be.

I love the queer rep in this book, which includes bisexual, gay, lesbian, and ace characters. It’s sex-positive and fiercely feminist. I also love how none of the characters are all-or-nothing. Each one has nuance and shades of gray. Each one has problems, goals, and growth that doesn’t center around the MC. They’re extremely well-crafted. The MC is richly nuanced as well–she doesn’t fully embrace or fully reject her path in life. She thinks critically, makes both missteps and smart decisions, and carves out her own way that is entirely her own, neither rebel nor saint.

I usually have big issues reading books in present tense, either first or third person. It’s a difficult tense to pull off, and many authors simply don’t. I’ve put down books in the middle because the present-tense execution was too jarring and awkward to carry the rest of the writing. This one jarred occasionally as well, but is overall well done, and it was easy to immerse myself in the story.

Visit Brandy Colbert online for more of her books and where to purchase. Ask your local library to stock it as well!

(Content warning: Book contains discussion of drug/alcohol addiction and recovery)