Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Title: Revolution
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Genre: YA Historical/Contemporary (it's both!)
Published: 2010

Jennifer Donnelly is a gifted writer. She expertly slips bits of sharp dialogue and  references to indie and classic rock alongside detailed discussion on music composition. Revolution starts with Andi, a depressed, grief-stricken Brooklyn teenager facing expulsion from her hipster-enabling prep school. Her senior thesis is due and she barely cares. Playing guitar is pretty much all that sustains her after her younger brother's death two years prior, along with a reliance on prescription medication.

Andi's father insists on bringing her with him to Paris for winter break; she can work on her senior project while he continues intensive work as a geneticist. It's through her father's friend in Paris that Andi discovers a diary hidden in an old guitar case written by a girl named Alexandrine during the French Revolution. The reader experiences the diary through Andi's eyes. While the girls lived vastly different lives, slowly parallels are revealed and the two stories intertwine closer together.

The history in Revolution is rich and detailed. Andi's angst and depression is heavy, but her journey is worth taking. She meets a cast of supporters along the way, delivering hope for Andi to become the person they know she can be. It's an engaging read. Just plug through the first 90 pages or so to get to the heart and the history. The revolution in this story is just as much Andi's as it is for the French.


  1. This kind of book is really hard to pull off successfully - too often the writers seem to lose one era in the other. I'll have to check this out.

  2. It's probably more contemporary than historical, and it's about 100 pages in before you get to anything historical. I had a hard time with the start of the book, but the writing is strong. It was more the subject matter. Maybe read an excerpt first :)

  3. I've heard mixed reviews on this but the cover art is what sold me. I haven't read it yet but I purchased it and planned to dive in soon. Guess I'll leave it open for my own opionin!

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  5. This is probably my favorite of the books I've read this year. I was sucked in from the very first page and think the balance between past and present was suburb.

    You are right--Donnelly is a very skilled writer.

    (I had to delete and repost because I wrote "front" instead of "from" and I just read your post about the horrible e-mail.)


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