If you were only able to read one YA book this year, let it be this one.
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.
I gushed about reading the first 5 chapters via Amazon in this previous post and after I picked it up from my library I couldn't wait to get back to it. It didn't disappoint me either. Andi is suffering from her little brother Truman's death and she thinks about suicide more than once. Her pain felt real as she trudges back and forth to school, going through the motions and living for her music. Music played a huge role in this story and it made me curious about the various bands that are mentioned. Modern bands mixed with dead composers make an interesting mix. It should come with a CD.
This would have been a strong story on its own but adding the detail of Alex's diary, locked in a secret compartment of a guitar case, and the fact that Andi becomes obsessed with it brought such surprising twists. Reading about Alex's daring adventures to save Louis-Charles, the would-be king of England, help Andi to work through her own grief and frustration. She heals as she is transformed by Alex's words.
I liked Virgil, Andi's new love interest, who helps her to talk about her pain and he doesn't give up-he's like a positive beacon for her, even when she messes up. There are some creepy parts towards the end that had the hair on the back of my neck bristling away. I was reading it alone, late at night, while my husband was out of town-I scared myself silly. This was solid writing with very memorable characters. I'm pretty sure I know more about the French Revolution than I did before I read this! Thank you, Jennifer Donnelly!
I checked out another Donnelly book, A Northern Light, from the library today.
Jennifer Donnelly's website
Other reviews of Revolution:
Nancy at Tales from a Ravenous Reader
SIDEBAR: I messed around with the HTML; trying to make a dotted box and I didn't get a dotted box, I got white! Why can't I have a brain for HTML...