Saturday 26 November 2011

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly


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.


The first few pages of Revolution depressed me for no reason. It depressed me as I thought, Oh no. Not another book about an over privileged kid ruining her own life. The angst was at its peak. The characters were all over the place. It was way too depressing. Especially since I'd loved, loved, LOVED Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light.

But then it got better.

THANK GOD it got better.

Andi's angst and depression was warranted.

Alexandrine's part of the story wasn't just a filler. Alexandrine was as much of a main character as Andi and I was as interested in her story as Andi's. I also LOVED how both their stories were skillfully weaved together and were interconnected- how parallels were drawn between present day Brooklyn and Paris during the revolution.

Andi's world and the world of the French Revolution were both richly painted. The amount of detail and the way all the plot lines were delicately balanced was something I was left marveling- with Andi's thesis, her moments with Virgil (the guy she meets in Paris who drives a cab called "EPIC RIDE"), the diary of Alexandrine and the story of Louis Charles.

But at the same time, some of the coincidences in the book were a little too coincidental and turns in the plot entirely dependent on fate and destiny. Andi's father's character felt a bit too flat, too extreme, though his decisions and his own struggle felt heart breakingly real. But the minor flaws didn't matter. REVOLUTION was a book that was intense and emotional, combining the fates of two similar yet totally different girls separated by centuries and the heart and soul of which was the French Revolution as well as music, Andi's second nature.

The best part of REVOLUTION? I felt like I was a part of it. I got lost in the well-researched world of Donnelly's and her words that stirred something within me. I struggled as hard as Andi to find the point of the book, the inner struggles, the revolution, the point of it all and as I hit the end, I got answers, just when she did.

"Oh, dead man, you're dead wrong," I tell him. "The world goes on stupid and brutal, but I do not. Can't you see? I do not."

Because I'm a history nut and because the title of the book alone was meaningful on so many different levels (capturing a tangle of emotions, especially pain, sadness, the "WHY?!"s and guilt, so convincingly), this book made me go WOW.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

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HI. Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. :)