Review: Revolution – Jennifer Donnelly

7558747Title: Revolution

Author: Jennifer Donnelly (twitter) (site)

Publisher//Release Date: Random House// October 10, 2010

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction,

Source: Library

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Synopsis:BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.


Have you ever had a book follow you around? Like you see it everywhere, every bookstore seems to have it, it pops up on Goodreads all the time, you pick it up and almost buying to get it out of the library, but you never do for whatever weird reason.

Revolution was this book for me. I almost purchased it countless times over the years. I vividly remember getting it all the way to the check out line in Barnes and Noble and not buying it for some odd reason that I can’t remember now. This is everything that I look for in a book and I just never got around to it.

Until now.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

Let’s break it down:

What I Liked:

  • Andi, in general. I loved Andi. She’s a very compelling heroine – her backstory was what hooked me in the first place and what kept me interested for a majority of the book. She’s been though and is still going through a lot of rough times. I couldn’t relate to her in the slightest, I’ve never been through the all-encompassing grief that she’s experiencing, and it made for difficult reading at times but I loved reading from her perspective. She doesn’t always make the best decisions and seems to love to torment anyone who tries to help her, but you root for her nonetheless.
  • Andi’s Thesis.  A major subplot of the story involves Andi’s thesis for her massive research paper for graduation (pardon me while I have flashbacks to my own senior research paper and presentation *twitch*). I really wish she wasn’t concentrating on a fictional figure because her paper sounds fascinating. Moreover, it ends up tying into the main plot fairly in a unique way and generally has the best payoff ever.
  • The Romance. I’m pretty sure Jennifer Donnelly has perfected the YA romantic subplot where the romance moves at a believable pace and stays a subplot, but is still romantic and swoon-worthy, and this is no exception. I absolutely loved it, even during their melodramatic moments. But I really liked the Andi’s love interest and I wish there was more of him throughout the novel.
  • The Climax. The last chunk of the novel kind of strays into crazy town – it’s explained and makes sense to an extent – and I absolutely loved it and all its crazy. I don’t know if everybody will like it, but I absolutely loved it but I would have read an entire about that section. Seriously, I loved it.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The Diary and Alex’s plotline. A LARGE chunk of this novel is told from the point of view of Alexandrine, a young girl living in the French Revolution, from the point of view of her diary and how she gets involved right in the heart of all the action. It was very interesting and but I had a really hard time staying interested with her story. Part of it was that I liked Andi as a character a great deal more than Alex – I never felt a connection with Alex and I don’t know that I liked her all that much. I felt like she got into the position that she was in FAR too easily and in too odd a fashion. I also felt the pacing of the diary sections wasn’t as consistent as in the modern sections. I also had an issue with the formatting of the diary sections that, at least for me, made it difficult to read sometimes. I don’t know if it was for the sake of historical accuracy or if it’s a French thing, or what, but I didn’t like it. Quotation Marks, is all I will say.
  • Random Detail Crossover. There’s a few minor details that are shared between the modern and historical settings. A line of dialog here, a reference there and a lot of it didn’t make sense to me, other than trying to show similarities between Alex and Andi, I guess. There’s a name of a super minor character that infuriated me once I got the reference because I thought it was a little on the nose.

tl;dr: Revolution is a solid, semi-historical fiction novel with an extremely compelling leading lady and story – but a less interesting historical plotline and heroine that drags the story down.


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