Sunday, May 01, 2011

Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 496 pages

PublisherBoomsbury Publishing PLC; 1st edition (October 13th 2010)
Language: English
Source: Purchased from Book Depository
First Sentence: "Those who can do."
Favorite Line from the Book
"It has an L on it. L for love. See? It's the key to the universe, Dad. You said you were looking for it. you told Mom you were. I found it for you so you won't have to look anymore. So you can come home at night.
Book Summary:  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.
I have had Revolution in my TBR list for quite some time now and I just got around to reading it recently.  I should have gotten to reading it way earlier as it definitely opened a new world to me.

Revolution is about two girls leaving in two different centuries.  One, Andi, is from the present day Brooklyn, and Alex from 17th century Paris.  While Andi is struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life after the death of her brother, Alex is finding ways to save the dauphin, Louis-Charles from the hands of the cruel French revolutionists.

I was caught up with the emotions which were emitted in this novel.  I was able to connect with both characters and felt every emotion which they were feeling.  There were times wherein I was so engrossed in reading that I was always in the verge of tears.

The setting was so intricately described and I could really imagine how the 17th century looked like.  The French Revolution was vastly researched and I felt that I got to know France a little bit better.  Yes, we tackled the French Revolution during our history class when I was still in high school, but we never talked about nor discussed the feelings, the emotions of the citizens of France.  The novel invoked strong emotions that I was able to feel the pain, the confusion, the grief of Alex.  Even the pain of Andi in the present time was vividly described that its readers will be able to relate to.

I loved the pace of the story as it kept me reading and kept me turning from one page to another.  The author was able to weave both plots in the story flawlessly and you will not feel any abrupt change in narration.

Overall, Jennifer Donnely was able to create a powerful novel which can inflict strong emotions to its readers.  Revolution is a novel not only about the French Revolution, but also tackles our innermost struggles - our inner revolution.  I recommend this to the readers who are a fan of historical fiction and those who want to try something new.

Here's the book trailer:


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My anxious life

Didn't love this book but liked it. I love that it went back and forth between the past and the present. I still wish more of the book had taken place in the past though.
I am still a little confused about what happened at the end. I assume Andi made closure for herself when she was knocked out with her elaborate story of the Green Man. I will say that I kinda got worried at the end that it was going to be like a Stephen King novel and just end up in the air about what happened to Alex. So I can't decide though if this was just the easy way out for the author to have Andi imagine what happened to Alex, as if the author was worried fans would be made to not even hear a made up story by Andi.
I love love love the cover of this book. But as I read further I realized the modern girl on the cover was not the Andi I was reading about. The one I was reading about made me think more of the character from the movies Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The girl on the cover should've had piercings at least!


XOXO Angela's Anxious Life


i have to agree with what you've said about the book especially the part wherein Andi traveled back in time. It is missing link that decided me to just rate this a four. :)

Midnight Bloom

Revolution was such a wonderful novel. The way Jennifer Donnelly pulls her readers back in time, it felt like we were finding ourselves in the midst of the French Revolution. The rich details were an added touch as well! I'm so glad you also enjoyed the novel too! :)


Nice review. The whole time travel thing (which may or may not have all been in Andi's head) was meant to show that these two girls -- despite all the time and distance between them -- are really the same character living the same sad story that goes on and on through time ("the world goes on, stupid and brutal ..."). There are waaaay too many connections between them and their lives for it to be coincidental, and their full names -- Diandra Xenia Alpers and Alexandrine Paradis -- are even an anagram.

Many, many layers to this amazing book. I picked up much on my second (and third!) reading that I missed the first time around.

Melissa (i swim for oceans)

Fabulous review, Yas. I actually really loved this book, and I was surprised that it lived up tot he hype. The intricate details of the story just made it feel tangible and real to was clever and well-thought-out.

Cialina at

I enjoyed this book as well!!! :) I didn't know it had a trailer .. that was short and sweet! :D

Can't say that I was a fan of the pacing though. This book was long and I felt every page. Still, it was well-researched and well done!

Lisa (

Great review! I LOVED Revolution! I agree that she did a great job making the whole story come to life. It was just such a well done story!

Akasha Hale & Lexus Salvatore

Great book review, I'm looking forward to devouring this novel once I get the chance. It looks stunning and sounds wonderful.

-Akasha Hale

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