Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Release Date: October 12th, 2010
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 472 Pages
Sub-genre: Science Fiction/Historical Fiction
Age Group: Young Adult
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.
Okay you guys, historical fiction is seriously not my thing; especially when the setting is in the 1700s. I’ve reviewed a few historical fictions here on the blog – Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, and The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell – only 3! That’s not very much considering how many books we review on the blog. And the reason for that is that I don’t usually enjoy historical fiction but oh my wow, Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution was amazing.
It does go back and forth between the two girls, and Andi, our main character, lives in present day (Brooklyn, but the book also takes place in Paris). Her younger brother has died and she’s kind of like a manic pixie girl (read: emo) but when she finds young Alexandrine’s diary, I feel like Andi is able to find an outlet for her grief – or at the very least, something that she’s interested in. Is Andi emo? Yeah, but she never crossed into the “annoying emo” girl for me. And then she’s transported into the time of the French Revolution while she is in the catacombs, which kind of ties in a supernatural element to this historical fiction.
Despite the fact that I don’t consider historical fiction a favorite sub-genre of mine, Revolution has been one of my favorite reads this year. It’s a great read and a good introduction to historical fiction if you’re looking to dabble in it.