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Revolution Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 12, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 245 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2010: Revolution, Jennifer Donnelly's remarkable new novel, weaves together the lives of Andi Alpers, a depressed modern-day teenager, and Alexandrine Paradis, a brave young woman caught up in the French Revolution. While in Paris with her estranged father, a Nobel geneticist hired to match the DNA of a heart said to belong to the last dauphin of France, Andi discovers a diary hidden within a guitar case--and so begins the story of Alexandrine, who herself had close ties to the dauphin. Redemption and the will to change are powerful themes of the novel, and music is ever present--Andi and Alex have a passion for the guitar, and the playlist running through Revolution is a who's who of classic and contemporary influences. Danger, intrigue, music, and impeccably researched history fill the pages of Revolution, as both young women learn that, "it is love, not death, that undoes us."--Seira Wilson

From Publishers Weekly

Donnelly (A Northern Light) melds contemporary teen drama with well-researched historical fiction and a dollop of time travel for a hefty read that mostly succeeds. Andi Alpers is popping antidepressants and flunking out of her Brooklyn prep school, grieving over her younger brother's death. She finds solace only when playing guitar. When the school notifies her mostly absent scientist father that she's flirting with expulsion, he takes Andi to Paris for Christmas break, where he's testing DNA to see if a preserved heart really belonged to the doomed son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Andi is ordered to work on her senior thesis about a (fictional) French composer. Bunking at the home of a renowned historian, Andi finds a diary that relates the last days of Alexandrine, companion to (you guessed it) the doomed prince. The story then alternates between Andi's suicidal urges and Alexandrine's efforts to save the prince. Donnelly's story goes on too long, but packs in worthy stuff. Musicians, especially, will appreciate the thread about the debt rock owes to the classics. Ages 14–up.
Copyright © PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385737637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385737630
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #665,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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By Tamela Mccann VINE VOICE on October 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In Jennifer Donnelly's exquisite new young adult book, Revolution, there's a juxtaposition of two young lives, lived two hundred years apart, and the idea and reality of Revolution. In modern times, Andi Alpers is a high school senior at the exclusive New York school St. Anselm's, and while her life should be one of ease and comfort, she's haunted by the sudden, tragic death of her younger brother Truman two years before. During the French revolution, Alexandrine Paradis is a teen whose very life depends upon her ability to be a convincing actress and spy. Brought together by Alex's diary, the two young women are on different paths to self-discovery, yet neither one may survive.

Andi's a tragic figure in many ways, and her story isn't a pretty one. Never very close to her father, a Nobel Prize winning scientist, the death of Truman drives a wedge further into their relationship, particularly once he leaves Andi and her mother for good. Andi's mother retreats into a cloud of painting and depression until Andi's father is forced to place her into a mental institution; her pain is echoed in Andi, who also finds that popping prescription anti-depressants numbs her to the guilt she feels over Truman. In a life filled with drugs and soul-rending pain, Andi considers repeatedly taking her own life; the only force of good she feels is when she can retreat into music. It is this force that draws her to Virgil, a young man she meets when she's forced by her father to go to Paris with him while her mother is institutionalized. It is there that she finds Alex's diary, and her journey back in time begins.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What I thought would be a rather trite novel of two teens with evolving emotions divided by 200 years, this book was anything but commonplace. I was surprised by the intensity and originality of the author's melding of societies and out-sized passions.

Ms. Donnelly demonstrates respect for the intellect of young women. From the articulate first chapter where she describes Andi Alpers, who is not always lucid, to the final sentence, I was impressed with Andi's perception of her peers and her own insurmountable grief. Despite her haunting sorrow and guilt, she holds on to her astuteness and ability to learn. A gifted musician, Andi is suffering from the loss of her younger brother, her guilt has sent her in a tailspin of drugs and self-loathing. Donnelly captures Andi in the first few chapters and the readers are aware they are dealing with a brilliant, 17-year-old girl who is on edge of suicide and appears to be floating from minute to minute in agony. She reaches out to her mother, an artist, who cannot overcome the death of her son, Truman, and placates her with kindness and gifts. Her father, a successful Nobel Prize winning geneticist, sends her mother to a mental hospital and takes Andi to Paris. Placing her mother in a mental hospital is an affront to Andi and she fights her father for her mother's dignity. One of my favorite lines occurs when Andi corrects Dr, Becker (the hospital's psychiatrist) grammar and usage.

Her father has his rules: she is to work on her thesis to graduate from her elite school by creating a plausible outline and plan in order to graduate. So how can Andi use her brilliance to overcome her grief and re-enter the world? Her father drags her to Paris where he is working on a secret project and the story begins.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Andi and Alexandrine have a lot in common. They are both musicians. They have trouble relating to their parents. They are both suffering from the loss of someone they love. What the two DON'T have in common: Andi lives in 21st century Brooklyn; Alex lived through the French Revolution and served the doomed King and Queen (Marie Antoinette).

When she discovers Alex's diary while visiting Paris over Christmas break, Andi is in a very gloomy, dark place. She still blames herself for her brother's death two years earlier, her parents are divorced, and she's failing out of her upper class private school just when she should be looking into a college. She soon becomes completely absorbed by Alex's diary, which helps her put her own grief into perspective.

Overall I enjoyed the story and the characters very much. While this novel isn't going to be for everyone I think the audience it's intended for will eat it up. I really enjoyed it, it was a fun and satisfying read.
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Format: Hardcover
In REVOLUTION, Jennifer Donnelly tells the story of a teenage girl (Andi) who is struggling through grief after the death of her younger brother. While visiting Paris, Andi discovers a lost journal from the French Revolution. As Andi pours over the journal, makes new friends, and stumbles into another world, she begins to find the healing she so desperately needs.

I'm a sophomore in college and I divide my spare time between classic literature and young adult books. I was excited about the premise for this book because I love history, love time travel, and love young adult novels. I appreciated Andi and the cast of characters at the beginning. However, as I continued to read I found it harder and harder to overlook certain plot devices. By the end I was just reading so I could finish and return it to the library.

The turn for the worse began when she found the journal--the point I had been excited about all along. I'm no expert, but I read a lot of classic literature, and I feel confident enough to say that Alex's voice in her journal does not sound like the voice of an 18th Century teenager. Even the sentence structure was almost completely the same as 20th Century Alex's narrations. I was also skeptical of the journal's form. Most of the time, it didn't read like a journal, it read like excerpts from another story. Maybe it's just me, but I don't write in my journal as if I'm writing a novel, with dialog and everything. This skepticism of the journal bloomed into outright disbelief when I read the last entry. Let's just say, if I had something really, really important to write down and a limited time to do so, I would write the important thing first and go into details later.
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