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Revolution ~ Jennifer Donnelly

February 18, 2011

Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
496 pages
ISBN: 9780385737630
Source: Book store

Brilliant, bored and bothered, Andi Alpers is over school. Her prestigious prep school is so full of  over privileged New Yorkers, super-studenting their way through parties and presidents that her head might just explode at any moment.

This isn’t just unwarranted teen angst, though, not one more story of a poor little rich girl. Not long ago, Andi’s little brother was killed, leaving her life and family in shambles. He father is a famous geneticist but not a famous parent. Always absent, either physically or emotionally, he’s hardly the shoulder Andi needs. Likewise, her beautiful, talented mother is a phenomenal painter but has given up her life’s work, tossed in a desperate, downward spiral, inwardly focussing on her loss.

All of this hardly amounts to academic excellence on Andi’s part. She has her music which should be keeping her alive but that light is slowly fading. If she doesn’t get her act in gear, she won’t get into a cheesy wedding quartet, never mind Julliard or the Paris Conservatory. One more slip up or one more late assignment and she’s out on her skinny behind.

Super dad, comes in a buck short and an hour too late when he hauls Andi off to France for her break, demanding a turn around “or else”.

Resigning herself to suffering through until her thesis proposal is done (and not a second longer), Andi makes herself at home in a family friend’s place.


That’s where she meets Alexandrine Paradis.

The thing is, Alexandrine isn’t around any more. See, she lived about two hundred years ago in the blood bath of the French Revolution. She was a starving artist (as Andi will be if things continue) but had a spark for life and love that rivals  anything history books could portray.

Through pretty Paris teens and musical midnight meetups, Andi and Alexandrine’s worlds touch, dance and eventually become much too close for comfort.

Their story is a mirror on both sides and a harrowing yet hopeful tale of history and humanity through dark times both physical and metaphysical. Written in clear yet beautifully, heart-wrenching emotional detail, past and present are woven through Donnelly’s words with such talent and love that this book will become consuming and terrifying at once.


I don’t think I’ve been this taken with a young adult book, ever, nor has a historical fiction piece really captured my attention like this one.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2011 1:28 pm

    I have heard such good things about Donnelly’s writing, and this book in particular. I actually gave my copy to my daughter to read because I knew she would get to it before I did, and she loved it. It seems like everyone loves this book, and I am very eager to try it out for myself. I am really glad to hear that you loved it as well, and I thought your review on it was excellent. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  2. February 18, 2011 2:45 pm

    I loved this book too, and learned so much, about music as well as history. I just love Donnelly!

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