Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Andi’s life is in tatters. Her younger brother’s dead, her father’s a jerk, her mother’s going insane, and she might flunk out of her private high school if she doesn’t do an absolutely incredible job with her senior research project. All she wants to do is play her guitar. But on a winter break trip to Paris with her father, she discovers the diary of Alexandrine, a girl who lived during the terrifying years of the French Revolution. Andi gets sucked—literally—into Alex’s plight, reading about the girl’s futile determination to save the young last king-child of France.
I savored this book. I purposely read only a bit of it each day so that I could make it last. Jennifer Donnelly had already captured my heart with her previous YA book, A Northern Light. REVOLUTION is in many ways very different, but it is still a powerful, engrossing, and incredibly well-researched read.
At first, Andi comes off as a self-absorbed, apathetic, and emo teenager. But the book quickly becomes so much more than a typically angsty YA novel. While Andi’s attitude may get tiring at times, it is very obvious that she has been through a lot, that she has deep emotional pain that has been building for years and years. Her pain, in fact, makes her beautiful, the way she pours her soul into her music. It is an incredible honor that we get to see Andi on her healing journey.
The research that Jennifer Donnelly pours into REVOLUTION is lovingly evident. From Andi’s classical guitar knowledge to the contents of Alex’s diary, everything is incredibly well-researched and inserted into the story so naturally it almost feels like Andi’s story exists outside of the novel format.
REVOLUTION is an absorbing, interesting, and heartbreaking accomplishment of a novel. It defies categorization and should appeal to a wide range of readers. I don’t care that it took Jennifer Donnelly many many years to come out with her second YA novel: it was well worth the wait, as her future books will no doubt also be.
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Cover discussion: 4 out of 5 - Sighhh. What a simple concept, one that I might even say has been done before--and yet how exquisite. If you hold the finished copy, the ribbon is raised and the pages have a lovely texture.
Delacorte / Oct. 12, 2010 / Hardcover / 496pp. / $18.99
ARC picked up at BEA.