Revolution is the second installment in a trilogy set in the 1960s. (First: Countdown, set during the Cuban Missile Crisis). Revolution, a 2014 National Book Award Finalist, takes place in Greenwood, Mississippi during the summer of 1964. 12 year old Sunny is looking forward to a summer of swimming and playing, but adults talking about “invaders” coming from the North make her worried. As she listens more, she learns that people from the North are coming to help people in Greenwood register to vote. She can’t figure out why people are upset. And she’s got invaders in her own house, with a new step mother, brother and sister.
In alternating chapters, readers learn the story of Raymond, an African American boy, who is becoming aware of all the places he can’t go this summer—the swimming pool, the baseball park, the movie theater, just to name a few, due to the Jim Crow laws. And he’s restless. He doesn’t want to settle anymore.
As the novel progresses, Sunny’s and Raymond’s stories intersect and both of their worlds expand. Interspersed throughout the book are images and articles from 1964 that make the story come alive. This is a moving book that I thought about long after I finished. While it’s cataloged as an older juvenile book, adults would find it fascinating as well.