Children’s book of the week: Lark & Kasim Start A Revolution

The cover of YA book Lark & Kasim Start A Revolution by Kacen Callender.
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Here’s the spot where we recommend a children’s book every week – our first pick is Lark & Kasim Start A Revolution by Kacen Callendar.

Kacen Callendar’s last YA novel, Felix Ever After, was voted by Time magazine as one of the 100 best YA novels of all time. There was no doubt that their follow-up novel would be a must-read and, rather wonderfully, it meets expectations and then some with this heart-melting romance novel that is sure to be deeply beloved by many.

17-year-old Lark wants nothing more than to be a writer, ensuring that there is literature out there that is representative of both their own nonbinary identity and neurodivergence. Kasim was their best friend, the first person who knew them and truly understood them. Kasim had his own battles, with his family and within himself, and they were totally inseparable. Until one day they weren’t.

They’re both attending a summer school class for creative writing, trying to navigate their history and uncertain lingering feelings, when Kasim accidentally posts a thread on Lark’s Twitter declaring his love for a secret, unrequited crush. Desperate to protect Kasim and his privacy, Lark takes responsibility for the thread – using it as opportunity to get closer to their own crush, Eli, and to raise their social media profile in the hope of a publishing contract. But living a lie takes its toll, as does the scrutiny of tens of thousands of strangers online and the confusing closeness to Kasim that grows once more.

The representation on display here is second-to-none and feels long overdue. Two queer black kids working out themselves and those around them. Within their novel, Callendar encourages the reader to reflect about all manner of issues – about race, gender, sexuality, neurodivergence, trauma and mental health – in a way that is encouraging rather than preachy, accessible and thought-provoking. We accompany Lark on their self-understanding journey, on what motivates their need to be liked and to present as perfect, as we desperately will them to see the love that is sitting both right in front and inside of them.

With enemies-to-lovers, only-one-bed and endless misunderstanding tropes – this is a hilarious and compelling love story for the ages.

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