Revolution (by Jennifer Donnelly) c. 2010

This is the story of two young women.  Andi Alpers lives in Brooklyn Heights, attends the prestigous St. Anselm’s Academy, and is a brilliant musical prodigy.  She is also suicidal.  She feels solely responsible for the death of her younger brother, Truman, and most of the time, her meds don’t do enough to keep her overwhelming grief at bay.  Andi’s artistic mother is virtually catatonic, and her father is an absent, Nobel Prize winning geneticist who fled the household after Truman’s untimely death.  Andi is told by the school principal that she is flunking out and faces expulsion if she does not have the outline and opening paragraphs of her senior thesis turned in after winter break.  Much to her surprise, Andi’s father shows up the day winter break begins, and announces that she will accompany him to Paris, where he has work to do and where he will oversee her progress on her thesis.

Alexandrine Paradis lived in Paris over two centuries ago, and was the companion of Louis-Charles, the son of Queen Marie Antionette and King Louis XVI.   Andi discovers a diary left behind by Alexandrine describing her days with young Louis-Charles and the events leading to the French Revolution.  Swept up in the diary, Andi can’t help but identify with Alexandrine’s circumstances, forming a strong emotional and psychological bond with the brave French girl who risked her life for the sake of the helpless, imprisoned young Dauphin.  Donnelly skillfully takes the reader back and forth between Paris of today and Paris of the 1790’s. Eventually, past and present become entwined, as the links between Andi’s life, her father’s research, and Alexandrine’s circumstances grow so strong that parallel worlds collide.  Donnelly’s historical research is impeccable, and readers will love the way she connects musical progression and derivation from the classical musicians to Leonard Bernstein, Led Zeppelin, and Radiohead.  Revolution is one of those stories that will appeal to a wide audience.  While the book can be found in our Teen collection, adult fans of well-researched, well-written historical fiction will find much to enjoy here.  Historical Fiction.

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3 thoughts on “Revolution (by Jennifer Donnelly) c. 2010

  1. Pingback: Teen Books of 2010 « Lake Bluff Library Blog

  2. Pingback: Lake Bluff Library Staff’s Top Reads of 2010 « What to Check Out Next…

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