Published by Bloomsbury Australia on August 1, 2013
Genres: Historical, War & Military, Young Adult
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Esteya is fifteen. As war rumbles closer, Esteya's brother - an important figure in the Revolutionary Communist Party - is able to protect their family from the worst of the privations of war. Then Esteya meets an extraordinary girl, Skizi, an outcast, shunned by all. But Esteya and Skizi are drawn to each other. Slowly and wonderfully love blossoms ... And then Esteya's family are betrayed and forcibly taken away. Skizi disappears. Esteya is left deserted, heartbroken and in terrible danger. But she must find a way to escape - and to find Skizi.
Love in Revolution is a wartorn story about two young girls who fall in love during a revolution. One girl, Esteya, is protected by her brother’s status in the Revolutionary Communist party, and the other girl, Skizi, is a shunned peasant in a minority called the Zikindi. I couldn’t believe how accurately the title captured the story, as Esteya discovers love, betrayal, and fear during a revolution.
I found the opening scene to be the most powerful part of the book. This is where Esteya learns Angel Corazon is a Zikindi boy who defeats The Bull, a celebrated Pello player. B.R. Collins has created an entirely new sport along with her fictional city, which I pictured to be like a cross between tennis and handball. The excitement, exhilaration of the townspeople, frustration of the players and tense nature of the game are all captured wonderfully and launched the book off to a strong start. The writing is excellent and it’s clear B.R. Collins is skilled at her craft.
The romance was done beautifully and set off a believable romance between two very young girls, who may be in it for two different reasons. I haven’t read many books that featured a lesbian romance, but this one was beautifully developed. I somewhat found Esteya’s young, 15 years of age kind of difficult to believe, given the intimacy and belief of being in love with Skizi, but it explains her naivety and somewhat limited view of the world.
Given it’s setting in a fictional place, it was a little difficult to relate to the characters and what was happening in their world, without any prior background knowledge to what was going on and why the revolution is happening. It’s clear that B.R. Collins wants to focus the story on the experiential aspect of a revolution. The writing was done really beautifully and its clear B.R. Collins is skilled at what she does.
The revolutionary struggles within the book and communist notions reminded me of a younger, stripped down version of The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simmons, but without all the rich world building and struggles of the war between real countries in that book. Older readers who might find the lack of detail of the world in this book might find The Bronze Horseman to be a suitable alternative.
Love in Revolution is an important story to tell, exploring the issues surrounding how a Communist uprising happens and what the villagers and citizens experience. It explores how a relationship between two young girls can develop, and how each can be in it for different reasons. I found it to be a refreshing, important read for younger YA readers, and its a relatively innocent way to introduce the concept of same gender relationships. Books like this are difficult to rate, as the lack of ‘world building’ and character development sort of made it hard to connect with, but I hope my review can give you an informed decision on whether you should read this or not.
I received this book from Bloomsbury Australia in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much for this opportunity!
Rating: 3 out of 5
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