Xolo Score 4.75/5
Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle follows high school seniors Danielle Ford and Prince Jones in a YA Romance novel that blends music, literature, healing, and growth. Danielle Ford dreams of being a writer like iconic Black authors Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and bell hooks. But when a friend breaks her trust and leads her into a situation where she is traumatized, Danielle loses her desire to socialize and regresses into being a homebody writing letters with her thoughts and feelings to her role models. Her classmate Prince Jones works as a radio DJ who offers love advice even though his love life is nonexistent at the moment. Prince takes on a lot of caretaker responsibilities so that his disabled mother and younger brother have everything they need to be happy, even if it spreads him thin. But when Danielle and Prince get to know each other better, their chance at love and healing is not so far off.
*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***
Love Radio is one of the sweetest romances. Dani and Prince are strong central characters with prominent struggles, but their joys run deep. Both characters are careful with each other's vulnerabilities, and that gentle kindness paves a path toward trust. Dani is understandably skeptical of Prince's intentions. And Prince understands that Dani doesn't owe him anything for being kind and taking their romance at a slow pace. When Prince shares his home life and dreams of going away for college, Dani understands that he needs encouragement and a gentle push instead of judgment. They respect each other's boundaries, are encouraging, and keep one another accountable. Their dates are absolutely adorable and fill the reader with fuzzy feelings of young love and outweigh the moments of pain Dani and Prince experience in the story.
Dani and Prince's romance is prominent, but both characters' relationships with their friends emphasize the importance of maintaining these connections. Dani and Prince have an interesting group of friends who are also trying to do their best during such an integral part of their adolescence. From checking each other for misogyny, breaking stereotypes about teen parenthood, and navigating different life and career paths, these secondary characters genuinely show how important it is to have that support.
And the sweetest touch to this beautiful YA Romance novel is the celebration of music and literature, specifically by Black artists and writers. Dani and Prince's admiration for Black writers and music artists is palpable. And during their few dates, both characters get an opportunity to showcase how deeply this passion runs for them. And it is incredibly validating when each one not only accepts this passion but also celebrates that love wholeheartedly. You can listen to the official Love Radio playlist on Spotify.
Love Radio is a profound YA romance celebrating Black music, literature, healing, and joy.
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