Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Delacorte Press, 2010
472 pages
Historical/Contemporary; YA
4.5/5 stars

Source: Library

Summary: Andi's father is absent, her mother is crazy, and her brother is dead.  All that consoles her are her drugs and music and lately they haven't been too helpful.  When her father finally wakes up to her failing grades, he drags her to Paris on a business trip so that she can do research for a paper.  While there she finds the remarkable story of a young woman during the French Revolution that changes her life.

Thoughts: I've been in a bit of a reading slump lately (luckily I had prepared posts far in advance).  I just kept reading books that weren't grabbing me.  So one day I walked in to my library and I saw Revolution staring at me; it looked familiar because a. it was on my goodreads to-read list and b. it had been featured on some blogs (although not as many as I would have thought, probably because it's not paranormal/dystopian).  I went over to it and was surprised at its bulk (I mean 472 pages?! Crazy!) but decided to check it out anyway.  I'm very glad I did as I devoured it and feel over my reading slump! Let's break it down in to categories.

Angst: So much angst! Andi doesn't want to do anything and contemplates suicide multiple times in the book.  Additionally, there is the strained relationship between her and her father (each thinks the one blames the other for the brother's death) which is not completely resolved at the end.  Usually that bothers me, but it worked here as both Andi and her mother have healed enormously from their situations at the beginning.

Love story: Andi does meet a guy while in Paris, Virgil (ugh-name) who is a Frenchman of Algerian descent-I really enjoyed the hints at the conflict in France between the former colonizer and colonized; I would like to read more fiction about that.  I wasn't really invested in their relationship beyond the fact that it made Andi happy.

History: I'm not a big fan of a. French history in general or b. the French Revolution in particular (I have attitude about the French) but this focuses on a much different aspect than usually presented in history books. Instead it looks at the dauphin, Louis-Charles, who was kept confined in a tower after the Revolution until he died and the young woman, Alex, who committed herself to keeping up his spirits.  This is mostly told through diary entries and sometimes they seemed a bit long to me; that is the part I probably would have tried to trim a bit.

Time Travel: Andi ends up going back in time and replacing the young woman which is what leads her to her insights. She meets the composer she's writing about and she gains some closure about her angst.  I thought this played a bigger role based on the synopsis I had read but it's actually quite short.

Music: Andi is a guitarist which means there are a lot of references to music throughout the book.  I didn't know many of the artists (I like musicals and country) and it had a composer who I'd never heard of!  Luckily it turns out he was fake so that Donnelly could create the backstory she wanted for him.

Overall: Fantastic! My first Jennifer Donnelly but not my last (I have The Tea Rose at home and others on my tbr list).

Cover: I'm not sold on the black and white picture next to the color but I really like the red ribbon.


  1. Wonderful review! I have to start reading Donnelly. I have The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose at home, begging me to read them, and wow, I truly want to read Revolution. It has many of the elements I like in a book: angst, a love story, history (I actually love the French revolution period, hehe) and music. You made me hungry for this book.:)

  2. Andi reminded me of Willow in well, Willow...

    Loved this book!

  3. I just finished this book and coincidentally also just reviewed it. I agree with your impressions. (I also expected more time travel elements and was glad to find that part was not the main thrust of the book.) This really was a great read! For all its length, it sped by.

  4. Awesome review! I think I need to read this now :)


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