Google+ Reading Teen: Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Monday, November 15, 2010

Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385737637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385737630
  • Author's Website:

  Andi Alpers is a privileged teen living in New York City attending Brooklyn's most prestigious private school along with other rich, super-intelligent, highly talented kids.  Their teachers told them that they were special...exceptional...
supernovas. Andi herself is a talented guitarist, a genius her teachers tell her.  It was Andi's senior year and she was supposed to be preparing her senior thesis and submitting college applications.  Instead, Andi is existing in a dark world that can only be called Hell.  Two years prior tragedy struck Andi's family when her younger brother, Truman, was killed at 10 years old.  The tragedy tore her family apart...her father, a Nobel prize winning geneticist has left the family completely, living with his pregnant girlfriend; her mother a talented still life artist is deeply depressed and spends her days painting portraits of her dead son;  Andi cares for her mother while trying to just walk through life, feeling guilty, sad, lonely and hopeless relying on prescription medications to just get by. 

  The turning point comes when Andi's absent, detached father finds out that she is not filling out college applications (preferably Stanford) and hasn't even done the outline for her senior thesis.  He checks her mother into a hospital and forces Andi to accompany him on a business trip to Paris over her winter break.  He is taking her to Paris for 3 weeks and she is to use her time to put together the outline.  Andi and her father live in Paris with a longtime friend who is a French Revolution historian.  He has asked Andi's father to work with him in definitively identifying a heart which might have belonged to Louis-Charles, son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the lost king of France.  While living in the middle of French history, Andi discovers the diary of 17-year old Alex Paradis who lived in Paris in 1795 and through a series of events became the caregiver of Louis-Charles.  Exploring this diary while she also explores Paris and her own life brings Andi to a discovery that is nothing short of life altering and even includes some time travel.  She discovers that there are circumstances and relationships that cannot be changed but can be overcome. 

My review:
  It took me a while to get started on this book because my initial impression was "just another story about teenage depression" and it was slow in getting the story started.  However, once I got into the story I found that it was very different.  Revolution is not just a story but is also a history lesson on not only the French Revolution but also on music.  This is not an easy, breezy read.  There are a lot of big words, French words, French history and musical terminology.  There is also graphic descriptions of the deprivation, cruelty and violence that took place during the French Revolution.  This was a time period  that I was not very familiar with and I enjoyed learning more about this part of history.  I would recommend this book for older readers. 

-Janeth (Andye's mom)

You may want to know:  This book has quite a bit of profanity and some sexual dialog.  There's also a lot of war violence and some other notable content.  For more information, go to Revolution on Parental Book Reviews.


  1. Great review! I think I'd enjoy this very much.

  2. Nice review-I really loved this book and was sad that I hadn't seen many reviews of it around the blogosphere (mine's scheduled for later this month).

  3. I loved this book! Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts into words. I'll get there, hopefully by the end of the week - the book is sitting on my desk giving me dirty looks (Hey, Alison! You read me, what's the matter, didn't you like me??)

  4. This book is so perfect for me, which is one of the reasons that I'm glad I got a copy! I'm taking French now and have a huge interest in France (particularly the Revolution!). I cannot wait to read this!

  5. Yes. When I first started reading Revolution I nearly gave up on it because I too thought it would just be about a depressed teen. However, when I forced myself to continue reading the book I could not put it down! It does have quite a few swear words in the book but other than that it's absolutely great!


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