Book Review - Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Monday October 18, 2010

by Jennifer Donnelly
October 12, 2010
Delacorte Press
Goodreads Summary:  
BROOKLYN, 2010: 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, 1795: 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. 

Review: The story of Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution has always been a fairly interesting topic and the queen herself is often a controversial discussion point (Did she REALLY say "Let them eat cake"?) Revolution is a story richly steeped in the history of the French Revolution but also delivers a gripping and powerful story of a two girls, centuries apart, both in mourning and trying to come to grips with their terrible losses. 

After her father whisk her away to Paris to focus on her Senior Thesis (if she doesn't finish it she won't graduate), Andi must try to focus and get it done. She makes a deal with her dad that she can go home early if she gets it done in a few days but forces beyond her control seem to hold her back and are continually in her way. Desperate to get home to her now hospitalized mother, Andi will risk anything to make it happen. 

The story of Alexandrine, the Green Man and little prince Louis-Charles that Andi reads in the girls' diary (which she finds in an old guitar case) is one of desperation and heartbreak. This whole part of the story really piqued my interest in what really happened to the young boy and I never knew the depravity and horrid nature in which he lived and died. The author also ties in the current event (2004) when DNA testing was done on a  preserved heart that was supposedly removed from the young prince after he died in captivity. 

There are a lot of great characters in this book that give the story real depth. The people that Andi meets while she is in current-day Paris include a handsome young musician, Virgil---the people that she and her father are staying with, Guillaume Lenortre (G for short) and his wife Lili just to name a few. 

I could go on and on about this book but I still would have a hard time giving you the details on everything it has to offer! I loved it and will recommending it to anyone and everyone! There are some references to drugs, alcohol and sex (not too much) but I think the whole concept for the book would be better suited for ages 14 and up anyway.