Pub Writes

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Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Posted by Caitie F on January 12, 2011

Title: Revolution
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Hardcover: 472 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House)
Year released: 2010
ISBN: 9780385737630
Rating: +++++

Summary (from goodreads):

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, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. 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.


I adored this book. Donnelly did an incredible job of mixing past and present into one cohesive story that was captivating, exciting, and lovable in every way.

At first, I didn’t know if I would like it since Andi’s world is one of the rich, spoiled New York elite. Not exactly my favorite group. Luckily, Andi is bright and skeptical about her world and the people who are around her. She sees the hypocrisy, but she also sees some of their potential.  Her best friend does his senior thesis on a world issue and gets the world leader to comment on it. It is kind of amazing!

The other thing that worried me is that there is an emo tone. Usually, emo is bad because there is no pain or real struggles that go with it. However, Andi has real problems and issues that she needs to deal with and get through, even at her young age. I understand her pain and it isn’t exaggerated or fake. She is complex and brilliant herself. She is weak and strong at the same time. She is a bundle of contradictions, and she works.

The historical aspect was excellent. I love the French Revolution and this brought in ideas and views that i had never learned about in school or through other historical fiction works. I was hoping, just like Andi, that somehow the prince got away. I felt connected with characters.

There is some romance in it also, but my favorite thing about that romance is that it is built out of a relationship of trust and understanding. He is someone who really cares about Andi and it is a good and healthy relationship.

The thing that made this stand out above the rest of the young adult historical fiction books out there is the writing. I need to go check out A Northern Light because Donnelly is just brilliant. I never do this, but I flagged a passage because it was so well done,

“I don’t like hope very much. In fact, I hate it. It’s the crystal meth of emotions. It hooks you fast and kills you hard. It’s bad news. The worst. It’s sharp sticks and cherry bombs. When hope shows up it’s only a matter of time until someone gets hurt”

What teenager doesn’t feel like that at some time? I know I did and Donnelly captured it very well!

If you like historical fiction, go check out this fantastic book!

If you have any favorite historical fictions books, let me know in the comments!



3 Responses to “Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly”

  1. I’m on the fence about historical fiction, but I still want to read this one. It sounds fabulous!

  2. This book has been on my to-buy list for quite some time because of reviews like this one! I have a month or so before I can start buying books again, and I think that this one will be one of the first!(I can’t buy any books until I read at least two that I already have in my teetering TBR piles – my personal challenge!)

    • Caitie F said

      That is a great personal challenge! I would have to say buy this one first – it was probably the best YA historical fiction book i have read!

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