Book Title: Revolution
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Genre: Young Adult / Historical
Summary: After losing her brother in a terrible incident, Andi Alpers is close to losing it herself. Angry that her mother isn’t coping with grief, and that her father left them in the wake of such a tragedy, all she has left is her music. It’s only when she’s nearly failing school that her father intervenes and decides to take her to Paris. Her only ticket back home- her senior thesis. Before she even gets to the bottom of it, however, Andi stumbles upon a diary belonging to a girl. Even though the courses of two centuries divides them, Andi feels a connection– a connection to Alexandrine’s Paris, and to the lost prince of France.
Ever since I was young, I was always intrigued by the French and Russian revolution. For example, the anime The Rose of Versailles was the intro I got about the subject (I was 12 then, I think), and from there on, a couple of books as a teen (those will be mentioned below). There are A LOT of material on both, especially since there are never any solid records. I’m glad to say that Revolution is a great addition to many historical fiction books on that topic.
I really loved Andi, despite her meanness and messed up self. I find that I’m usually tough on those “tortured” characters, but I really sympathized with Andi, and I loved her voice. Her sarcasm was cutting but engaging, and her narration heartfelt.
Surprising, I felt little connection with Alexandrine and her diary entries. I felt that Donnelly only used her to skim over the revolution’s events. And there were holes in her character– like, if she was as poor as she described, how was she literate? I would have loved to know that. I also wished she was much closer to the other members of the royal family, like Marie-Therese
Of course, that’s not to say that I didn’t choke up with tears. God, both Andi and Alexandrine did a good job in that.
There were a lot of parallels between characters from the revolution and from Andi’s present life, and it seemed like too much of a nudge of “oh what a coincidence- but no not really”. Still, the amount of research put into this, and the way Donnelly weaves it in set me on an online search-hunt for the true events, and I love when books do that.
It was a moving and heartfelt read that shows the complexity of history and the idea of revolutions.