Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Book Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

RevolutionTitle: Revolution
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Series: Standalone
Pages: 472
Publisher: Bloomsbury (UK)/Delacorte Books for Young Readers (US)
Date of UK Publication: 13th October 2010
Source: Borrowed from Library
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

My Thoughts:
Wow. This book was so good. I have never read a book like it, it was unique. I loved it!

The story mostly takes place now, in the 21st century, from Andi's point of view. She's living in Paris with her father's friends, as she couldn't cope with living in Brooklyn, where all she can think of is how she couldn't save her brother from the crazy guy who killed him. While she is in Paris though, she finds a guitar in an old guitar case. While trying to fix the broken lock on the case so the guitar doesn't fall out and break, she finds a secret compartment in the case and inside there is a diary. A diary of a girl who lived two hundred years ago, during the French Revolution.

It is through this diary that Jennifer Donnelly manages to tell two stories in one. As the reader, you get to read the diary along with Andi, and find out everything she does at the same time, so there is none of you waiting for Andi to put together the threads of the story, while you're sitting there, getting bored because you know what's going to happen. This helped me relate to her, as while I've never been in her situation, I felt her surprise, and I also felt the emotions she felt while reading about Alex and her efforts to save the young Louis-Charles.

One thing about the book that really stood out to me was the amount of research that Jennifer Donnelly must have had to do. I loved how the diary really felt like it had been written two hundred years ago, and I can only begin to imagine how much research about life in during the French Revolution Donnelly had to do, before she could even begin to write this book. And it's not just that, she would also have had to research about how to be a musician, and about musical techniques, and just general musicianship. I really admire her for it, and the amount of effort really shows.

One thing I will say about this book though, is that it is very sad. Depressing even. It's probably not a book you want to read if you're going through a hard time and want something happy, as it made me cry more than once...

Revolution really is an amazing book. Two girls. Two hundred years apart. Two different stories, expertly woven together to create a beautiful, engrossing tale of love and friendship, loss and betrayal. Revolution is definitely a must read for any history geeks like me, or just anyone who is looking for a good, long stand alone novel that will keep you thinking for a long time after you have read the last page.

My Rating:
I give it 5 Feet!

2011 100+ Reading Challenge #38


  1. I loved this book too! I agree though it's depressing but beautifully written :) I gave it five stars also.... Great review!

  2. Nice review! I definitely agree with you about the book being sad. I thought that Donnelly's portrayal of Andi as a very depressed girl in the beginning of the novel was spot on. However, there is also a lot of hope towards the middle and end of the book, too, that redeems it from its sad beginning! :) I loved this book more than I can possibly say!!
    - Alyssa of Redhead Heroines
    Book Review of "Revolution" by Jennifer Donnelly


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