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Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Revolution (edition 2010)

by Jennifer Donnelly

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1,5041684,923 (4.11)209
Authors:Jennifer Donnelly
Info:Delacorte Books for Young Readers (2010), Kindle Edition, 498 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:historical fiction, French revolution, teenage depression

Work details

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Recently added byWilwarin, LitaVore, vernefan, alexanhale, JayneMD, vreading, private library, hungrylittlebookworm
  1. 00
    The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Revolution, although mostly contemporary, focuses in part on a teenage girl during the French Revolution, while Red, about a teen boy and the girl he tries to save, is set then. Both are compelling, complex stories of love and pain.
  2. 01
    Radiant Days by Elizabeth Hand (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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    Hunger's Brides: A Novel of the Baroque by Paul Anderson (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Modern girl Beulah studies the life of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, 17th century Mexican poet.
  4. 01
    Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers (SunnySD)
    SunnySD: Grief, angst, coping with personal tragedy and relationships - strong female protagonists.

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English (166)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All (168)
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
For me, Revolution was a novel that tried to be far too much. To speak of the positive, I did really enjoy the world of Alex's diary entries. While there aren't many of these, they do provide an eye-opening glimpse into what life was like for an ordinary peasant during the Great Terror. These sections were fantastic for building tension. The reader knows that Alex's story can't end well, and yet I still rooted for her as she grew closer to the Dauphin and became increasingly keen to risk her life for him.

However, I'm not sure how accessible this novel would be if you didn't already know about the history of Revolutionary France. There is a lot of name dropping in this story and not much by way of explanation, as even Andi seemed to be an expert on this time period (as it was apparently taught at length in her school). Perhaps this is a difference between the English and American school systems, but I didn't study this period until I was in 6th Form. If you don't at least know who Robespierre, Marat and the Jacobins are, I think you're likely to be confused.

I also felt that Andi's contribution to the story was ultimately a lot weaker. This half of the story was an exploration into the protagonist's depression, guilt complex and suicidal thoughts, making it very hard to read. In part, this is because Andi isn't greatly likeable. She's rude to pretty much everyone for no good reason, and actively pushes away anyone who extends an olive branch to her. Her plot line also resolves incredibly easily, with many plot threads unceremoniously tied up in the epilogue, which also showed a lack of care.

I also didn't really enjoy the final act. I don't want to spoil anything here, but the last hundred pages suddenly pitch towards science fiction as Andi travels back to 19th Century France (or possibly hallucinates this). While this section is far more descriptive than Alex's letters, finally getting across the ugliness of the period, it felt out of place. It also led to some incredible plot conveniences, though I won't spoil these for you here.

All in all, Revolution could have been excellent but I felt as though it tried to be too much. The novel was massively too long and felt like a weak merging of Contemporary, Historical and Time Travel fiction. People with an interest in French history might get a kick out of it, but I found it to be forgettable on the whole. ( )
  ArkhamReviews | Apr 20, 2017 |
This may be the worst book I have ever read. There are many great books with very depressing story lines. This is not one of those books. You can't have a "Revolution" without resolution, and there is no resolution in this book. The main character lives with her semi-suicidal mom in upper-class New York City when her father comes and takes her on a trip to Paris. They are all run down because the main character's brother died a couple years ago and none of them have ever gotten over it.

The story actual seems to be going somewhere when the main character meets a musically talented boy in Paris whom she false in love with. Shortly after, thought, the story takes a turn for the worst. What happens is never really clear but the only way I can rationally explain it is that the main character is on an acid trip. She imagines herself back in time in revolution-era France. This total non-sequitur throws the reader into a storm of confusion and frustrates the reader. Big disappointment. ( )
  stefanb777 | Jan 19, 2017 |
I had to read this book for school over the summer going into 10th grade and out of every summer assignment I have had to read this one was the most enjoyable. I liked how the book tied in real history with the characters and their lives. Andi's character interested me a lot because of her depression and suicidal thoughts. The way the history helps her when she is living with her aunt and uncle baffles me and kept me very intrigued throughout the book. I highly recommend reading this. ( )
  sheridenschwertl | Nov 8, 2016 |
Wow! This one knocked my socks off. The best YA I've read in some time.
Teenage angst, music, Paris, DNA testing, more music, The Terror, young love, catacombs, raves (with more music) and time travel! What a rollercoaster. A very meta ride, for those of you who like that kind of thing. I certainly do. You might want to keep YouTube or Spotify handy to listen to the music references. I really enjoyed this one all the way through and I will be reading more of Donnelly. ( )
  VictoriaPL | Aug 26, 2016 |
I "read" Revolution on Audible; the readers, Emily Janice Card, Emma Bering, are fantastic.
The book is great. It makes the French Revolution live, while also unfolding the suspenseful events in the life of present-day protagonist Andi, who is musically, linguistically adept, but emotionally traumatized by the shocking death of her little brother. I don't want to spoil anything for readers, so I'm not including here any discussion of the two-timeline story.
I might give this book a quarter of a star less because of a few instances of unlikely coincidence and my own sympathies with the incredible poverty of the French populace while the aristocrats enjoyed plenty, but, really, it's a wonderful, wonderful book. The author knows music, so much so that it infuses the entire book beautifully. Music is the part of Andi that is her strength and her hope, and Ms. Donnelly expresses this powerfully. She also portrays Paris vividly and convincingly. Her characters are like real people—strong, flawed, weak, complex, generous, selfish, imaginative, dull, all at the same time, and different from each other in their combinations of traits.
I was torn while listening to "Revolution" between sticking with the excellent audio version that I could only use when it was convenient, and bagging that and picking up the print version and swallowing it whole. I chose to stay with the audio — and gave the book as a must-read gift to my 15-year-old reading-monster niece who made me read "The Fault in Our Stars" last year. ( )
  NatalieSW | Aug 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
This is a great example of young adult fiction: beautifully written and thoroughly researched yet not, to borrow Patrick Ness's phrase, "an adjective novel". There is an emotional vividness and a delight in story that will speak strongly to teenagers. I hope Donnelly returns to the genre a little sooner next time.
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, 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.

Jennifer Donnellyartfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love.
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jennifer Donnellyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bering, EmmaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Card, Emily JaniceNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I found myself within a forest dark,

For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Ah me! How hard a thing it is to say,

What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,

Which in the very thought renews the fear.

So bitter is it, death is little more...

- Dante

The Divine Comedy
For Daisy,

who kicked out the walls of my heart
First words
Those who can, do.

Those who can't, deejay.
"History is a Rorschach test, people," she said. "What you see when you look at it is tells you as much about yourself as it does about the past."
Lights blink all around me for the gods of the holidays. Green and red for Santa. Blue for Judah Maccabee. White for Martha Stewart.
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Book description
An angry, grieving seventeen-year-old musician facing expulsion from her prestigious Brooklyn private school travels to Paris to complete a school assignment and uncovers a diary written during the French revolution by a young actress attempting to help a tortured, imprisoned little boy--Louis Charles, the lost king of France.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385737637, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2010: Revolution, Jennifer Donnelly's remarkable new novel, weaves together the lives of Andi Alpers, a depressed modern-day teenager, and Alexandrine Paradis, a brave young woman caught up in the French Revolution. While in Paris with her estranged father, a Nobel geneticist hired to match the DNA of a heart said to belong to the last dauphin of France, Andi discovers a diary hidden within a guitar case--and so begins the story of Alexandrine, who herself had close ties to the dauphin. Redemption and the will to change are powerful themes of the novel, and music is ever present--Andi and Alex have a passion for the guitar, and the playlist running through Revolution is a who's who of classic and contemporary influences. Danger, intrigue, music, and impeccably researched history fill the pages of Revolution, as both young women learn that, "it is love, not death, that undoes us."--Seira Wilson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:49 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

An angry, grieving seventeen-year-old musician facing expulsion from her prestigious Brooklyn private school travels to Paris to complete a school assignment and uncovers a diary written during the French revolution by a young actress attempting to help a tortured, imprisoned little boy--Louis Charles, the lost king of France.… (more)

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