Book Review: Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution by Kacen Callender
When I’m reviewing books for professional publications, I stay quiet about them on social media. I’m always really excited once a review comes out to be able to talk about the book, finally! Here’s one of my most recent reviews, which originally appeared in an issue of School Library Journal.
Gr 9 Up–A queer Black neurodivergent teen learns about the revolutionary power of love and truth amidst the messiness of teenage life both online and off. Lark, 17 and nonbinary, hopes that if they crack 50,000 followers on Twitter, they will land a literary agent. When a viral tweet thread professing their love to an unknown friend gains them those followers, there’s just one problem: Lark didn’t write it; former best friend Kasim, who is trans, accidentally posted it on Lark’s account. For complicated reasons, Lark takes credit for it. Suddenly, Lark’s social media persona, all about love and peace, is threatened. The online world finds Lark’s very public proclamations of being in love with another nonbinary person, Eli, to be inspiring and hopeful, but peers from their writing class believe Lark is toxic and fake. Lark, scared of rejection and honesty, navigates realizations about feelings for Kasim; about Eli, who may have ulterior motives; and about Sable, Kasim’s girlfriend and Lark’s unexpected crush. This introspective, character-driven novel tackles thoughts on community, accountability, intersectional identities, mental health, polyamory, online clout, self-worth, and the right to take up space just exactly as you are. While some secondary characters are underdeveloped, Callender’s nuanced portrayals of the main characters and their sincere, vulnerable voices provides important representation. Lark and Kasim make plenty of mistakes but also change and grow from them, leading to self-reflection that feels genuine and earned.
VERDICT A heartfelt and thoughtful look at a fractured friendship and the transformative capability of love and compassion.
Abrams/Amulet. Sept. 2022. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781419756870.
Filed under: Book Reviews
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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