Sunday, August 31, 2014


Jennifer Donnelly
Delacorte, 2010 496 pgs
Grades 9-Up
Historical Fiction/Fantasy (time travel)

Brooklynite, Andi, is slogging through her senior year of high school and may not graduate.  Her life has been on a downwards spiral ever since her little brother was tragically killed in an accident.  Since the accident, Andi's mother is mentally checked out, her father left the family to start a new one, and Andi is lost in a prescription drugged cloud.  Her only solace is playing her guitar and getting lost in music.  Dad makes a surprise visit and is horrified by what he finds.  Mom is put in a mental institution and Andi is whisked off to Paris, where Dad is conducting important research.  In Paris Andi makes a love connection with a young Parisian taxi driver/rapper and discovers a hidden diary over two-hundred years old.  The diary belongs to a young girl, Alexandrine, who reluctantly plays a part in the French Revolution.  The plot now alternates between Andi's story and Alex's, as Andi reads the diary.  Eventually, Andi suffers a blow to the head, landing her in the 1700's living Alex's life.  While in the 1700's Andi has the opportunity to meet her greatest guitar hero and slowly begins to realize that she is not the only person in the world to have suffered.  By the time she lands back in the present day healing has begun and Andi starts to pick up the pieces of her life.

I love time travel and I love the French Revolution.  I had high hopes for this book and couldn't wait to crack into it.  There is a lot to commend the book.  Revolution is plot intensive and was hard to put down.  The time travel was believable and the music element added something unique to the genre.  Alex's story was more interesting to me than Andi's, mostly because Andi was such an unlikable character.  She is self-absorbed, whiny, and spoiled for much of the book.  This can be forgiven, since many main characters in YA fiction are unlikable (Bella).  Teenagers probably won't care and will relate to her relentless angst.  The book was also a little long for me, though since it was two books in one this can also be forgiven.  Revolution will appeal to girls more than boys and contains some mature subject matter.  Andi's problems are mostly sewn up by the books end, almost too tidily, although her relationship with her father remains strained.  Teens will enjoy this book and learn about the French Revolution along the way.  Revolution gave me a bit of a craving to visit Paris and to delve a little deeper into French history.

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