Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Revolution by Jennifer Donnely

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. 

This is a wonderful genre crossing/switching story. (Starts out as contemporary fiction, slides into historical fiction with a hint at fantasy - time travel.)  I was engrossed with Andi and Alexandrine's stories from the first words.  Andi is a tortured and musically gifted teen.  Alexandrine is a self serving commoner who finds someone other than herself to care about.

Andi's guilt over the death of her brother is palpable.  This was an audio read for me. And the book's reader may have had something to do with the impact this book had on me, but I truly believe much of the credit goes to the author. She captured the struggles of both girls perfectly.  She has created a compelling story that absolutely grabs the author by the throat and doesn't let go until the end.  I have never been that interested in the French Revolution, but after listening to Revolution, I found myself wanting to hit the history books and learn more.

Donnelly's Revolution has received several literary accolades and they are well deserved.    

A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year (2010), Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production Honor (2011),Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Young Adult Fiction (2010),YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults (2011), ALA's Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2011)

This is one of those rare books that young adults SHOULD read and if they do will enjoy.   

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