Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Andi is on the edge, toes already over and the rest of her ready to fall forward. Two years ago, her little brother Truman was killed. In the ensuing years, her family split up, her mother has slowly lost her mind, and Andi has blamed herself for her brother’s death. When her father, a Nobel-Prize-winning geneticist, makes a surprise visit on account of Andi’s failing grades, he discovers just how deep her mother has retreated into herself. He immediately gets her into a treatment center and takes Andi with him on his business trip to France. He hopes that in Paris she will be able to concentrate on her thesis, a graduation requirement.

Andi is miserable in Paris, medicating herself with her pills in increasing dosages. The only thing that keeps her tethered to the earth (barely) is music. When her father’s friend shows her an antique guitar case, she is drawn to it. When she discovers a secret compartment in the case, a dusty diary falls out. It is here that we are introduced to Alexandrine Paradis, companion to Louis Charles, the young dauphin who was imprisoned as a child, walled up alive. Andi begins reading the diary and feels a strong connection with Alexandrine and the young prince, who reminds her of her brother. What ensues is a story of pain, of loss, of love, and finally hope.

This book is absolutely unbelievable. First of all, what a fantastic way to introduce teens to the French Revolution. I was hooked from the moment I read the first words in Alexandrine’s diary. And Andi…oh my gosh. It was like I was standing there next to her. That is how real she felt to me. And honestly, all of the characters are compelling. I fell in love with them all, even if I wanted to hate some of them, too.

I am not sure how I can convince you to go out and read Revolution right now. If you love historical fiction, this is for you. If you love teen characters who are actually real teens, then you will love Revolution. If you just want to immerse yourself in some of the best writing of the year, go get Revolution. If you want to shut out the world for a while and forget about everything else, pick up Revolution. Jennifer Donnelly is a genius.  My fingers are crossed that this book is on the list of Printz winners come January.  It sure as hell deserves it.

And hey, I already have a few students gushing over this. Really! Gushing over a book about the French Revolution. As one of them updated on Goodreads recently, “Still reading. I can not put this book down!”.

*ARC from BEA

5 Responses

  1. I agree! This was an amazing read! I also loved the characters, the history, and the amazingly intertwined story!

  2. I am reading it right now on your previous post and I love it. I do not take it to school because I do not think I have enough self control to stop and teach the class. I have 8th graders waiting for it since I go to school and talk about it since I started it last Thursday. I have learned so much more about the French Revolution than I knew. Though I started out not liking Andi, she has grown on me and I think she captures the angst of a teenager dealing with the death of a much loved sibling. I do not want it to end. Thank you so much for suggesting it.

  3. This sounds amazing! I am totally wrapped up in all things French right now. I’ll have to find this one and add it to my list!

  4. I’ve cut back on the amount of YA I read this year, but I’m hoping to squeeze this one in in December. I’m so glad to hear you loved it!

  5. I agree that this book is amazing. I’m torn between wanting to read nonstop and not wanting to read because I don’t want it to end. What a delicious dilemma!

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