Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Revolution by Jennifer DonnellyRevolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Also by this author: A Northern Light, Waterfire Saga, Book One: Deep Blue, These Shallow Graves, A Crown of Wishes
Published by Random House LLC on 2010-10-12
Genres: Death & Dying, Europe, Girls & Women, Historical, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 496
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

From the privileged streets of modern Brooklyn to the heart of the French Revolution, 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.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.ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults#1 Indiebound pick for fall 2010Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2010School Library Journal Best Books of 2010A Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon winnerA Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book of the Year[STAR]

Past meets present in the stunning book Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. You know an author is a must read when you drop your review pile to read the finish copy you just purchased. I will admit, I was nervous Revolution would not live up to A Northern Light, which blew me away. However, I had no grounds for that fear. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly is amazing. Like, drop your life amazing! I’m not sure I mentioned this in my re-cap of the launch party post, but I brought my friend with me. My friend is currently in grad school and is ALWAYS busy with work for it. SHE dropped everything to read Revolution. That is how magical Jennifer Donnelly is. Her books just compel you.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly is real. By real, I mean, Andi Alpers, main character, is no sanitized teenager. She’s fucked up. This is a girl who has dealt with tragedy, and does not get over it within ten pages. She’s incredibly intelligent and deeply passionate about music. We open Revolution with Andi making several suicide attempts. She gives up on all of her school subjects except her music lessons. Eventually, shit hits the fan and her distant geneticist father spirits Andi away to Paris for her winter break. There, Andi is given the order to finish her senior thesis outline. She then happens upon the diary of Alexandrine Paradis, companion to Louis Charles, the young dauphin who was walled up alive. What ensues is a story of pain, and what one does to work through the pain, and finally hope.

I don’t know if y’all can tell, but I loved Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. I LOVED it. First, you know when you go into a Jennifer Donnelly book, the writing is going to be excellent. Second, you should know the characters will be compelling. Third, you should know the book is going to be something you want to press into the hands of all of your friends. I cared SO much about Andi. I wanted her to get through her depression so badly. I wanted her to see that yes, tragedies happen, but girl you will get through it. I mean, okay guys, usually I am nonchalant about characters, but holy omfg, did I just want things to work out so badly for Andi.

I’m not sure how I can convince you to read Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Maybe if I say even if you are not a historical fiction person, you need to read this. Most of it is contemporary. If you want your teenage characters lacking in bullshit, read this. If you want to be engrossed for a time, read this. If you want your soul to soar over the end, read this.

Perhaps these quotes will convince you:

“I play until my fingers are blue and stiff from the cold, and tehn I keep on playing. Until I’m lost in the music. Until I am the music– the notes and chords, the melody and harmony. It hurts, but it’s okay because when I’m the music, I’m not me. Not sad. Not afraid. Not desperate. Not guilty.” pg. 43

“He talks on, but I’m not listening anymore. I’m wishing. Wishing he could hear music. Wishing he could hear me. Wishing that just for a minute or two, he would close his eyes and listen to Malherbeau’s gorgeous Concerto in A Minor, the Fireworks Concerto, and feel what I feel. Fell the sound echoing in the hollows of his bones. Feel his heart find it’s rhythm in quarters and eighths.” pg 86

“I’m wishing he could see that music lives. Forever. That it’s stronger than death. Stronger than time. And that its strength holds you together when nothing else can.” pg 87

“Oh, dead man, you’re dead wrong,” I tell him. “The world goes on stupid and brutal, but I do not. Can’t you see? I do not.” – pg 456

Disclosure: Book received for review at BEA, but I have also purchased 3 copies as well.

Other Reviews of Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly:

The Introverted Reader
Consumed by Books
Escapism Through Books

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I am a huge fan of Jennifer Donnelly. Everything she writes is like gold to me. I would have been reading this for sure, but its always fun to see good reviews. It makes me really excited to start reading. I just have to get my hands on it. :]

  2. I hope to get around to this sometime. I read her previous book and enjoyed it and the story of Revolution sounds brilliant.

  3. FANTASTIC review and excellent selection of quotes. I’m so glad you liked this one!

  4. Worry not, I am fully convinced! I adored A Northern Light, so this was on my wishlist anyway, but I’m so happy it’s getting such great reviews!

  5. New follower here (from twitter). I *love* your site, its totally cool 🙂
    AND I am *dying* to read Revolution, but my library is taking FOREVER to order it!!
    Hafsah @ IceyBooks

  6. This is one of my favorite books of 2010. I loved the contemporary part of the book more than the historical part with Alexandrine (although I also liked it I just liked Andi better). It is the kind of book that I’d encourage adults who don’t read YA to try.

    I will have to read A Northern Light. I checked it out from the library once when I was in grad school and didn’t have time to finish it. I want to read her fiction for adults too. I am hopeful that Revolution will win some awards next year. It is certainly worthy!

  7. No need to convince me to read this, I’ve already read and reviewed it! Love the review. =D


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