Written by: Brandy Colbert
For ages: YA (underage alcohol use, marijuana use, sex, substance use/addiction)
Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Black Culture & Identity, Growing Up, Chicago, Relationships, Dating, Family, Police Interaction (racist treatment),
Summary: In the summer between sophomore and junior year, Birdie’s aunt Carlene unexpectedly shows up at their apartment above the hair salon that Birdie’s mother Kitty owns and operates. Birdie has been forced to give up soccer and misses it terribly, and is in a fledgling relationship with a boy named Booker who her parents wouldn’t approve of. Birdie’s aunt has battled with substance use for the majority of her life, and it seems that everyone feels it’s only a matter of time before she relapses once again.
Birdie becomes frustrated trying to please her strict and overprotective parents, as well as trying to deal with the growing suspicion that there’s a family secret that may involve her. could be described as a coming of age novel. Birdie is trying to live her own life and make decisions for herself, feeling hindered by the expectations her parents have placed on her. The author brings it about in an accessible way, it would be easy for readers to relate to the pressure Birdie feels. She also has a pile of secrets that keeps growing as she schemes how to sneak out and see Booker.
We love that LGBTQ characters rethreaded throughout the book as well, normalizing the friendships between straight and queer people and having queer family members. There is a strength to the family, especially in the way that Kitty doesn’t give up on her sister Carlene.
About the Author:
Brandy Colbert is the award-winning author of Little & Lion, Finding Yvonne, Pointe, and the forthcoming The Revolution of Birdie Randolph (August 20, 2019). Her short fiction and essays have been published in several critically acclaimed anthologies for young people. She is on faculty at Hamline University’s MFA program in writing for children, and lives in Los Angeles.