Andi Alpers is on the edge and looking down. Her life in Brooklyn Heights is falling apart around her. Her father left. Her mother can’t cope. And all Andi keeps coming back to is that it’s all her fault.
Consumed by grief and crushing guilt, school doesn’t seem like a high priority. Nothing seems like a high priority. At least until her father intervenes and takes her to Paris where she has the duration of winter break to work on her senior thesis and possibly salvage her academic standing at her prestigious private school.
In Paris Andi discovers a lot of things: a cute boy who loves music almost as much as she does, a mysterious heart, the most beautiful guitar she’s ever seen and, most surprising, a diary from the French Revolution.
Through the diary Andi meets Alexandrine Paradis, a girl much like Andi who had her own dreams of a life on the Paris stage. At least until a chance encounter with a doomed prince changed Alexandrine’s life forever.
The more Andi reads about France’s bloody past and Alexandrine’s tragic role the more desperate she is to find some shred of hope, maybe even redemption, in the pages of the diary. Instead, the closer Andi comes to the end of Alexandrine’s story, the more it seems that Andi herself might have a role to play in the journal’s disastrous chronicle in Revolution (2010) by Jennifer Donnelly.
To call Revolution ambitious is a gross understatement. In this one book Donnelly integrates music theory, historical figures, and the political motivations behind the revolution all while telling a truly beautiful story. And, amazingly, it all works.
There is truly little to fault here and almost too much to praise. Donnelly masterfully weaves together fact and fiction to create a dynamic story sure to dazzle readers. Revolution is an evocative, often raw, book that will leave readers wondering where history ends and story begins.
To learn more about the music featured in Revolution (and its inpiration and the story) be sure to visit Jennifer Donnelly’s website to view her playlist for the book.
Possible Pairings: The Blue Girl by Charles De Lint, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen, The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, Tamar by Mal Peet, The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni, The Archived by Victoria Schwab, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman, Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin