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Review: REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly

Posted by on December 16, 2010
Jennifer Donnelly
472 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Release Date: October 12th, 2010
Source: ARC from Library
Rating: LOVED

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

Let me start by saying I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction. I have read a few, but not many. In Revolution, Jennifer Donnelly tells a beautiful story that blends together the present and the past in a way that’s stunningly real. Two girls, two centuries apart, become one as their stories and griefs intertwine. There are so many paranormal and supernatural stories out there, we sometimes forget that stories like this can still pull us into a new world, much like our own, and leave us feeling compelled to turn the next page.

Andi Alpers lost her brother, and it’s all her fault. At least, that’s what she says. And because of it, she tries to get herself killed to end the pain. Walking in front of cars, looking off the edge of a building one step away from death, she’s tried them all. She takes pills to aid her depression, and plays music to get away from it all.

Her father, a Nobel prize winning scientist who’s almost never home, comes home one day when he finds out Andi is about to be expelled from one of the most prestigious schools in Brooklyn. He takes her with him to Paris during her winter break to work on her thesis, which is required for her to graduate. She goes, but not without a fight.

While she’s fumbling with a case, she unknowingly stumbles upon the diary of a girl who lived over 200 years ago. Andi’s obsessed with Alex’s diary, she can’t put it away. Alex, the girl who became the caretaker of the young prince Louis-Charles. The prince who looks exactly like her brother, a life stolen because of madmen.

Revolution was unputdownable. Everything about Donnelly’s writing is compelling – the plot, her writing style, the characters – all perfect. I say, take a break from the vampires, faeries, dragons, and werewolves and dive heart-first into this beautiful and heartfelt story – you won’t regret it.

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  1. I love the sound of this book! I'm a huge historical fiction fan, though recently I've lost steam die to a dystopia infatuation. :) I'll definitely be picking this up. Thanks for the review!

  2. If you liked it this much and didn't even like historical fiction I'm gonna really enjoy it I think, because I like historical fiction on occasion.

    I've seen a lot of reviews on this, but yours is the first one I can actually remember sitting down and reading. Thanks for writing it!

  3. I do love historical fiction, although usually I don't read much of the time-slip variety. I like HF to be more realistic. But this one managed to be very gritty, very realistic. I agree entirely with your review! This book is was wonderful.

  4. I've been trying to get my hands onto this book for aaaages. It keeps eluding me. And that's what makes me want it more! Your review is just adding to my want-o-meter (yeah that was lame haha). Anywhoo, great review. <3 Yay for unputdownable books!

  5. Just finished this, and agree–it's a very good book.

    Donnelly uses time-displacement as a way to put a modern person into the frame of an earlier time period. Another author who has done this is Jane Yolen, in her book “The Devil's Arithemetic,” about a modern Jewish girl who finds herself in Poland just before the time of the Holocaust. And SF author Connie Willis uses time-displacement frequently and very effectively; see my review here.

  6. “There are so many paranormal and supernatural stories out there, we sometimes forget that stories like this can still pull us into a new world, much like our own, and leave us feeling compelled to turn the next page.”

    YES. I reviewed this one too—if you're curious.

  7. Such a wonderful review for this book and I have heard other great reviews as well. I am not why I have not picked up the book yet, maybe because it is a genre I don't read much. Hmm, maybe I should take the chance. I love the cover too.

    – Beckie

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