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Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly Review

Title: Revolution

Author: Jennifer Donnelly

First published October 12, 2010

512 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780385737647

Rating: 4


BROOKLYN: Tragedy has struck Andi Alpers’ family, leaving her on the brink of self-destruction. With her future hanging by a thread, Andi’s father intervenes and whisks her away from Brooklyn to the City of Love, Paris.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived a life of fame and tragedy, her story forever etched in the history of Paris. Andi discovers her diary and finds solace in her words.

But when the lines between past and present blur during a midnight adventure through Paris’ catacombs, Andi realizes that Alexandrine’s story is not just a tale of the past, but a warning for the future. Two girls, two centuries apart, their fates intertwined in a world of love, loss, and revolution.

About the Author

Jennifer Donnelly has authored thirteen novels, including Poisoned, Stepsister, Lost in a Book, and Revolution, as well as a children’s picture book called Humble Pie. Donnelly co-authored Fatal Throne, a book exploring the lives of King Henry VIII’s six wives, and wrote the part of Anna of Cleves, Henry’s fourth wife.

Growing up in New York State’s Lewis and Westchester counties, Donnelly attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History.

Donnelly’s debut novel, The Tea Rose, set in London and New York in the late 19th century, was praised by Booklist as “exquisite,” the Washington Post as “so much fun,” and People as a “guilty pleasure.” Her second novel, A Northern Light, won the Carnegie Medal, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Borders Original Voices Award, and was named a Printz Honor book. TIME Magazine named it one of the 100 best young adult books of all time in 2015.

Donnelly’s Waterfire Saga, a bestselling series about six mermaids on a quest to rid the world of an ancient evil, was launched in 2014 in partnership with Disney. In 2015, she released These Shallow Graves, a historical novel that received starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Shelf Awareness, and was named a Junior Library Guild Selection.

Donnelly worked with Disney again in 2017 to publish Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book, an original story expanding on the classic tale. She returned to historical fiction with Fatal Throne, a book about Henry VIII and his six wives, which she co-authored with six other authors and was published by Random House/Schwartz & Wade in 2018.

Editoral Review

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly is a captivating novel that explores the themes of grief, love, and self-discovery set against the backdrop of two different time periods: modern-day America and the tumultuous years leading up to the French Revolution. Donnelly, a renowned author of young adult fiction, presents readers with a work that is both an immersive historical fiction tale and a deeply personal exploration of loss and healing.

The novel follows the story of Andi Alpers, a gifted musician and troubled teenager who is grappling with the aftermath of a family tragedy. Andi’s father is a renowned geneticist, who has lost himself to his work after the death of Andi’s younger brother, Truman.

Andi, who is consumed by her own pain and grief, finds solace in music and writing. She is also struggling in high school and is on the verge of failing all her classes.

As a last-ditch effort to help her, Andi’s mother sends her to Paris for the summer to work on her senior thesis on the French Revolution. While there, Andi discovers the diary of a girl, Alexandrine Paradis, who lived during the height of the revolution.

The diary gives Andi a glimpse into the life of a girl who suffered greatly during the revolution but never lost hope for a better future. Donnelly’s portrayal of Alexandrine’s life during the French Revolution is vivid and emotional.

The author transports the reader to Paris during the late 18th century, immersing them in the chaos, violence, and uncertainty of that time. Similarly, Andi’s journey toward healing is a poignant and heartbreaking one.

Donnelly does an excellent job of depicting the struggles of teenage depression and substance abuse. The writing is raw and unflinching, conveying the sense of despair and desperation that Andi feels throughout the novel.

Despite these difficult themes, Revolution is at its core a hopeful novel. Donnelly’s sensitive portrayal of Andi’s path to recovery is both powerful and inspiring.

Andi’s love of music is a constant throughout the book, highlighting the healing power of creativity. The author also skillfully interweaves the themes of political revolution and social change, demonstrating the importance of hope, resilience, and perseverance in the face of adversity.

There are some minor quibbles with the novel’s pacing, which can feel slow at times. Additionally, some of the plot elements and character interactions can feel contrived.

However, these small criticisms do not detract from the book’s overall strengths. In conclusion, Revolution is a beautifully written and emotionally resonant novel that will resonate with readers of all ages.

It seamlessly blends historical detail and personal narrative, creating a work of historical fiction that is both informative and deeply moving. Jennifer Donnelly has crafted a novel that is sure to become a classic in the genre of young adult fiction.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.