Monday, January 17, 2011
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (October 12, 2010)
Summary: 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.
Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.
First Impression: Wow. How was this not announced during the ALA Youth Media Awards? I saw other reviews for this before I read it, and they were all glowing as well. I LOVED this book. As it started, I was extremely dubious and thought it might have been overhyped. Andi was a very angry young lady and the beginning of the book is a bit hard to get through, because she is so bitter and self-destructive. Not generally my cup of tea. But as things progress, I became so engrossed and so entirely caught up that by the end I couldn't put it down to go to bed. And dude, I have a tiny baby. Sleep is precious around here. Five stars, huge love.
Plot: Andi is in full-on self-destruct mode, and to save her from flunking out of high school her dad takes her to Paris over break to finish her senior thesis. There, she becomes entangled in the history of the French Revolution, as well as a budding romance with rapper Virgil. Can she overcome the past, or will it overwhelm her?
This can definitely not be called a fluffy contemporary YA novel. Packed full of history, depression and suicidal thoughts, it can be hard to get through, but the plot's twists and resolution were fulfilling to me and I felt exhilarated as I finished it. Quite a sign of a good book!
Characters: Obviously, Andi and Alexandrine were the stars of the show. Neither was really in a good place, so the book depended strongly on Virgil to bring the glimmers of joy and happiness that were needed to make it through. I loved Virgil, and he, Andi and Alex were all wonderful and I cared quite a lot about Virgil and Andi's romance.
Style: Not a light read. Obviously. Besides the depression factor, this book is LONG, and also sometimes reads like the thesis Andi is writing. I found most of the historical infodumping very interesting, but some of the musical information just sailed right on over my head. Andi is a passionate musician, which I loved, but sometimes I was a little tired of reading about the structure of music.
Wrap up: This book was very powerful and engrossing. I really loved it, and definitely recommend it. I was worried it was overhyped, but it is definitely not.