Saturday, August 27, 2011

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Reviewed by: Baby Sister Brittany
The Sisters say: Remarkable, Rewarding, READ IT!!!!

Summary (from goodreads):
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. 

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

You must give me a second to collect my thoughts, friends. I have so many feelings about this book that are honestly inexpressible.

Do you know that feeling you get when you read a book so fantastic and so moving that it makes you want to do something crazy or amazing and just experience life to it’s fullest? Or for those of you who are writers—a story that is so captivating that the desire to find a similar story that is your own is completely overpowering.

The first time I read Revolution, I simultaneously wanted to read it again, write non-stop until I was done with a book of my own, and drop everything and move to Paris.

The second time I read it—I felt all the same things. That to me is the mark of a truly great book. There are books that are just okay, others that are entertaining, some that are addicting, and a few that stay with you constantly like an imprint on your heart. This is one of those books!

Andi might put some readers off at first. She’s been through a lot—she’s disillusioned, abrasive, and reckless. I tend to be a bit pessimistic and bitter (what can I say—it’s my own brand of humor), and I latched on to Andi like a kindred spirit. But if she’s not your type of character—PLEASE, PLEASE STICK WITH HER!

Jennifer Donnelly’s writing is superb—truly beautiful, imaginative, and humorous. When I read the book the second time—I marked all of my favorite lines. Let’s just say it looks like a five year old tried to cover all the pages in my book.

The setting was gorgeous. I mean, it’s Paris!!! But more than that… it’s a very realistic Paris. It doesn’t feel like a tourist visit. You’ll see Paris—good, bad, high, and low. Virgil, Andi’s love interest, is from a really rough neighborhood, and his frustration, sadness, anger, desperation, and hope are almost palpable. This is very much so a book about music, and Virgil’s raps were one of my favorite parts. I’m dying for someone to actually record the original music in this book because I WANT IT!!!! The romance, while not the center focus of this book, was addicting. I adore Virgil. He was just so different than most YA boys. He was mature and driven and stuck in a terrible situation. Please—I need some fanfiction writer out there to write me some Virgil/Andi fanfic because one book just wasn’t enough.

This novel is really set in two times—present day and the French Revolution. The story of Alexandrine set in the past was so fascinating. She’s just a girl who wants to be an actress, but she finds herself at the center of one of the bloodiest periods in history.

Most of the time when I read a book with more than one narrator, I tend to prefer one narrator over the other, and I find myself flipping forward in the book to see how much I have to read until I get back to the “good story.” I know you all have done this—don’t lie! But with Revolution—I LOVE BOTH STORIES. I was excited to read them both, and I can’t imagine the story without either of them.

I loved the character, the romance, the history, the setting, the language. I loved it all.

I’m not even sure this review is coherent. This book just makes me feel so much, that I have trouble putting it into words. It’s one of those books that I would honestly call life-changing. I’m sure I will continue to read it for much of my life. It is engraved on my memory (and it’s quotes are tacked on my wall).

I will end with a final, bold comparison. If you’ve read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and you loved it—read this book. They both have a slight historical setting, but other than that there is no real resemblance other than the feelings they inspired in me. I finished both of those books and thought, “I’m going to write a book that good some day, or I will die trying.”

I hope you read this book, and love it. If you do, please come back and comment and tell me what you think! And if this review hasn’t convinced you—come back tomorrow for another post entitled “Book in Quotes: Revolution!” Where I’ll be posting some of my favorite quotes from the book!