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Revolution Paperback – July 26, 2011
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Revolution" is uncompromising in its historical accuracy, and the modern-day story is engaging and laced with humor. Compared to the weak prose Stephenie Meyer has used to delude teenage girls, Jennifer Donnelly is practically Shakespeare. Her musical references are many, and I found myself noting the many artists mentioned that were already part of my collection (Radiohead, Elliot Smith, and Nada Surf among them).
The feelings our non-historic heroine has for her Paris suitor embody a teenage-girl intensity, and the slow reveal of what happened to her younger brother to cause her detachment from this mortal coil has just the right tone.
For starters, I've picked up this book and tried to read it a couple of times, and finally just had to make myself get through the first few chapters. It is SO ANGSTY in the beginning, and it feels like it takes forever to get to the good stuff. I mean, you know from the description of the book that Andi goes to Paris and finds the diary, but it takes almost 100 pages before any of that even happens. I felt like those first 100 pages could've been condensed and cut a lot, because even after finishing it I really didn't feel like they did much for the story as a whole. Except, of course, establish that Andi is messed up about her brother, but all you really need are a few lines of narration to get that. She is way depressed.
My second big issue was the transitions between Andi's narration and the diary itself. Some of them were just kind of awkward and felt like too much description of her decision to keep reading, or try to avoid reading, of she really didn't want to but couldn't resist reading. I don't know, it just felt wonky in places, and I wish there could've been a different way to distinguish between them.
Last, the big twist at the end felt like it came out of nowhere. I don't want to spoil anything for those of you who haven't read it, but the 'hints' that are sprinkled throughout the story didn't feel like enough to justify having several chapters of the book go off in this completely different direction. It felt like not enough warning, which made it hard for me to mentally make the leap.
I did like this book, and there were some beautiful quotes that had me busting out the highlighter, but when it's all said and done, this won't be a book that I rush to recommend to everyone.
Review originally posted here: [...]
Jennifer Donnelly invented a whole new genre for REVOLUION. You sympathize with Andi, a very cool and smart teenager living in Brooklyn. She is heartbroken and despaired, mourning the loss over her young brother Truman,
dealing with her depressed mother and with the absence of her father. Andi finds relief from her pain only
in her music. Her teachers call her gifted, a genius, but she neglects her studies and is on the verge of
being expelled from the prestigious private school she attends in Brooklyn.
Her father, a world famous geneticist insists that she accompany him to Paris, where he is to conduct genetic tests on a tiny, shrivelled heart. Whilst there she meets Virgil - a French-Tunesian musician - who slowly gets hold of Andi's heart. When Andi discovers a hidden diary in an ancient guitar case, written by Alexandrine a young
girl who lived during the French Revolution, an amazing turn of events takes place......