Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Book Title: Revolution

Author: Jennifer Donnelly

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Original publication date: October 12 2010

Genre: Young Adult

Format/pages: Hardcover 472 Pages

Format read: Library book

Date read: November 12 2010

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Summary from the publisher:

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

My Thoughts:

Beautifully written and complex, Revolution is a unique and satisfying book. It’s a very ambitious novel with two interwoven points of view – part historical fiction and part present day tale of grief and healing. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am still digesting it days later.

Revolution starts off with a bang when we follow Andi’s path of self-destruction in the present in Brooklyn. She is flawed, and grieving, and a bit of a mess, but smart and sympathetic. I related to her turning to music to help her get through the day. The music aspect of the novel was one of my favorite parts. I thought the music that Andi and the other musicians covered such as The Smiths were really appropriate to the story. I need to make a Revolution playlist.

I’m just starting to become interested in historical fiction and am not an expert on the French Revolution and I found the historical aspect of the book fascinating. I was as just as invested in the story told in the diary as Andi’s story in present day.

Once I hit about page 50 of the novel, the pages started flying and I couldn’t stop reading until I was finished. The story incorporated so many interesting themes, and I was always entertained. There is a love story, friends and family relationships, depression and grieving, music therapy, and even some magical realism. This is a perfect book for the classroom – and Random House has put together a study guide for discussion for teachers.

This is the first book I have read by Jennifer Donnelly and I was very impressed. I will definitely check out her book A Northern Light, and am looking forward to reading more from this author.

For more information:

Jennifer Donnelly’s blog / Amazon / Goodreads

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