Saturday, April 7, 2012

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly


Author: Jennifer Donnelly

Publisher: Delacorte Press

4 out of 5 stars

Grimy faces shout at you from all directions.  They’re jeering at you, and snickering at what’s to come.  You look around for help, but all you see is a dirty crowd, riled up for the killings.  You’re to be beheaded for your crimes.  You’re slowly led up to the guillotine, and you turn your head away, unable to take in the brutal death of those ahead of you in line.  When you turn back around it’s your turn.  Your head is lowered into the opening, and the crowd goes crazy.  They know your blood is about to spill.  The blade comes whooshing down and… you wake up.  But part of you wishes you were still back in eighteenth century France, because you don’t fit in very well in the present.

Andi Alpers is an aspiring musician, music junkie, and also recovering from her little brother’s death.  His name was Truman, but it hurts just to think of him.  Truman’s death has consumed Andi, and has turned her into a bitter, angry person.  She’s stuck in a rut of pain, and pops pills to distract herself from all the reminders of Truman.  Andi doesn’t want to get over it.  She wants to end it all.

With the fear of dropping out and not graduating from her prestigious school unless Andi finishes her senior thesis, her father whisks her away to France over the winter break, hoping she will be forced to focus and get to work.  All Andi wants to do is get back home to Brooklyn, and away from her father, who she can’t even have a conversation with without arguing.  But when Andi finds an old journal from eighteenth century France, she’s dragged into the world of revolutions, kings, and a young prince.  Will Andi be able to unlock the mystery behind the journal?  Can Andi escape the past, and see just what she’s missing in the present?  All is revealed in Jennifer Donnelly’s historical account of one girl’s tormented journey to happiness in, Revolution!

Revolution takes place in two different worlds with two girls whose stories intertwine.  Andi looks to Alexandrine, the girl the journal belongs to, for hope and a way to find strength, while Alex needs Andi to tell her story.  Switching between Andi’s life in the present, and Alex’s journal entries, Revolution weaves the mysteries and stories of the past and the present together.  I recommend Revolution for older readers as it deals with drugs and topics that are mature for younger readers.

Being a large book, Revolution can get tedious at times, mainly due to the main character Andi.  In the beginning, Andi is so depressed and angry at everything and everyone, that it was too much for me to read.  I got tired of reading about Andi feeling sorry for herself, and not doing anything to change her situation.  It wasn’t until Andi stumbled upon Alex’s journal that things started to change.  It takes a while to get to Alex’s journal, but once there things start to get interesting.

Alex’s journal transported me straight to eighteenth century Paris.  With revolutions, and tense times, there was never a dull moment while reading Alex’s account of her time in Paris.  Even though Alex was long dead, her journal kept her alive, and she was such a lively, exuberant character that I wish I got a chance to know her even more.  She was a large part of the story, and truly spurred on Andi to do something about her life.  Alex may have been in the eighteenth century, but I felt as if I knew her today.

The vast extent of history and music in Revolution added greatly to the book, and really made it what it is.  Alex’s journal accounts felt so real, and I learned so much about eighteenth century Paris that I never knew.  It was a learning experience in both the past and the present.  Andi’s passion for music was evident in the way she felt so strongly about it.  Not only was her senior thesis about a composer, but music was one of the few things that she could still find joy in after Truman’s death.  The modern and classic music, tied in well with the history to make the story feel authentic.

Revolution delved into the past, and looked at one young girl’s undying love for a young boy who suffered unjustly.  Andi knew that feeling, and learned to move past the clouds and see the sun.  Join Andi as she lives vicariously through Alex, and escapes from the past in, Revolution!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

Check out Jennifer Donnelly's website at


  1. I have this to read and I am looking forward to do so now. Thanks for posting this great review :)

  2. I want this book really badly, but sad to hear that the beginning was hard. I'm going to have to set myself in the mood to read this I see :P Great review and I'm a new follower!

    Confessions of a Readaholic

  3. Woah, it sounds like the two stories interconnect really well in the story. Looking back upon your introduction I almost didn't know whether to think it was Andi or Alex. This seems like a really cool book because of the different time frames. Thanks for the review!


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