Friday, November 19, 2010

Review #100: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Press

My Thoughts:

Well, I don't honestly know how I will get into another book right now because this one was so stunning, I know I will find myself dreaming of this story. As much as it puts a crimp in my reading schedule, I do enjoy those books that really knock your socks off so much that you have to let them settle for a few days before you move on.
I am fresh from finishing this one, far from settling. I just closed the last page a few minutes ago, ran to the computer to locate Jennifer Donnelly's website and immediately "liked" her on Facebook. I limited myself to a brief enthusiastic blurb on her page (so as not to appear like a crazy fan!) on how much I loved it and then raced over here to write to you all.

You are probably asking yourself, "Hey, isn't this Young Adult?" And yes, according to where the bookstores put it and maybe because the main character is a teenage girl BUT today I am throwing age levels out the window. Young Adult literature is certainly not being overlooked by any means these days but this great of book should be given as much mass
appeal as possible.

I am going to include a synopsis from Goodreads for you all because
I just don't think I can do it justice.

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.

Andi was written with so much richness, energy, passion, edge, humor and sadness. You felt so strongly for her and with her and against her. The loss of her brother was so damaging and so understandable that even in the moments of absolute disregard for safety, you sympathized with her plight. Her talent as a musician and the music that is explained flies off the pages.
I heard the notes in my head and played along with her. I am so lacking in knowledge of the great composers.

Her privileged educated world is not one that you envy, in fact, Donnelly depicts the harsh realty; the drug excess, the vanity, the expectations, the recklessness.
Andi is brilliant though doesn't look the part. Her father is distant and her mother is mad with grief. When her father takes her away to Paris to straighten her out, she only feels more strongly that she just wants to end it all.

The story of Alex, told from her journal entries from Paris 1795, is heart poundingly good and vivid in description. I was dumbfounded by how much I did not know about the French Revolution (yeah, me!) and was horrified to read of the sadness and death that occurred.
Donnelly weaves the stories of these two girls seamlessly. The placement of Alex's journal entries seemed very natural and went with the timeline of Andi's life and her emotional progress.

Rating: 6 stars/6 stars
Do I love everything I read these days? I am just on a really good streak! Boy I am feeling it with this one. Highly recommended! It really has everything. It has a tough as nails teen girl ready to break; French history, Classical and Modern music, love, loss, and dreams.
Go pick it up!
Oh and I know the awesome readers at Teens Read and Write are picking this one up too so stay tuned for a review from them!

Book Club Note:
You bet book clubs should read this. The history alone will fill up hours worth of discussion, not to mention the music and the angst.

Author Website:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Teresa said...

I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it. I just started it last night and had to reluctantly put it down to go to sleep. I can't wait to pick it back up tonight.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Great review. I love that you're on a good streak :)

Jenny said...

Wow, this sounds amazing!! I definitely need to read it. I heard so much about it at BEA but had no clue who the author was or what this was about. Definitely adding this to my list.

Julie@My5monkeys said...

love those good reading streaks, adding this to the pile to read too.

Anonymous said...

Great review -- I so agree. This book is a work of genuine depth and artistry, and rewards futher contemplation ... if not rereading. The second time around, I picked up lots of really interesting and thought-provoking little bits that I didn't catch the first time, including (POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT):
- Alexandrine Paradis = Diandra Xenia Alpers (the names are an anagram!)
- Truman's/Andi's key was found in the Paradise Theater in NYC, which was built in 1808 ... just about the time Alex would have arrived had she escaped Paris.
- So, so many allusions to Dante's Divine Comedy (the book sections, Virgil the guide, the march through the catacombs, seeing the stars, etc. etc.).

Such a great book. I agree it's for everyone ... not just young adults.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

You are on a great book reading roll. Glad u loved this one.

Lisa said...

You're not the first person who's raved about this one. I was interested the first time I read about it--now I definitely need to get it. Wonder if my daughter can find it at the school library yet?

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Thanks everyone for commenting. I have to say this is one of my favorites this year, hands down.
I wish I could comment to Anonymous because those points you make are worthy of discussion. I didn't pick those up as I was reading!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Thanks for commenting on my review of this! I decided you really have to hide from some people that a book is "young adult" because it sets up so much prejudice, and keeps people from reading really good books! :--)

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I'm a little upset with myself that I haven't read this one yet! I've had this for a couple of months!

Staci said...

Yay for great books reading streaks!! I borrowed this one from a friend because I have read another of this author's books and loved it. Awesome review and I'm excited to jump into this one!!!

TheBookGirl said...

I'm glad to read your review of this, as I have to admit I had dismiised it based on the YA designation (I don't read much in that genre). I intend to give it a second look, thanks!

Gina said... glad to hear you enjoyed it! Yes, those that don't give YA or Kids Fiction for that matter a chance just because they are aimed for younger readers are missing on on so much. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm!

Emma (the Expat) said...

I love to hear that a book is stunning! Thanks for the post!

Christine said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed this book so much and give it such high marks. I have seen some talk about it around--all positive--but it's always great to hear the same from a trusted book buddy!

I've added it to my list! :)