Delacorte for Young Readers, October 2010
If you watched my IMM post two weeks ago you saw that I received my very first ARC! I was so very excited when I opened the package, not only because I got an ARC, but because I was really intrigued by the summary I read of Revolution.
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.Jennifer Donnelly's writing is super smart, witty, and interesting. I absolutely love her style; it's just amazing. Everything flows so well together; although there are two plot lines running throughout the novel, everything remains connected. Each plot line enhances the other. Andi in the present day struggles with her brother's death and what she could have done to prevent it, while Alex in the past struggles to understand her changing world and what she could have done to help the young prince. Their struggles are similar, but not so similar that you feel as though you're reading the same story twice just in different time periods.
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. From Goodreads site
Donnelly slips in historical, musical, cultural references throughout the book that are just wonderful. Each one works perfectly and grounds Andi's world in the present day. I often worry that these sort of references don't really work and will only make the novel less accessible to teens in ten or fifteen years, but here that is definitely not the case. They are well chosen and work to really bring out Andi's voice and character. And her voice is what really grabbed me from the very beginning and keep me enthralled in the novel until the very last pages.
Andi's voice is so realistic; Donnelly doesn't shy away from difficult and violent issues. Andi struggles with depression and contemplates suicide, while Alex's world is filled with the violence of the revolution. None of these elements is glossed over or depicted in an over-the-top way. The violence is discussed realistically--terrible things happened during the French Revolution and Donnelly doesn't shy away from them just because she's writing YA. Finding this balance is extremely important and what really makes the book amazing.
I loved this one so much that I went out and bought A Northern Light (one of her earlier books) and am really looking forward to reading that as well. Revolution is a really beautifully done book about so much more than the French Revolution.
Get this book immediately and begin reading (well as soon as it's available October 12)