Wednesday, September 29, 2010

review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

pub date: October 12, 2010
publisher: Delacorte Press for Young Readers
pgs: 496
content: swearing
source: ARC from ALA

Revolution is another book that comes out in October that is so wonderful. Donnelly is an amazing author. I loved her first YA, A Northern Light. Absolutely ADORE it! I listened to it years ago and was mesmerized. I sat in my car one summer evening for two hours to finish the book because I just could not wait any longer! And the reader was amazing so I didn't want to read it myself. Though I can't say why I didn't go inside and listen to it. Maybe I was enjoying watching the setting sun? I don't remember. But for whatever reason, I have a very fond memory of listening A Northern Light and Loving it.

I didn't even know that Jennifer Donnelly had another YA novel coming out until I just happened to pass by a stack of ARCs at ALA. I snatched it up. It was the first book I read when I got home from DC.

Andi is a girl living in present day New York. She is severely depressed. Her brother was killed two years ago and she blames herself for his death. Her father has left the family and is living with his pregnant girlfriend. Her mother has checked out mentally, leaving Andi essentially alone. The only thing Andi has is her music. She is barely surviving.

Then her father shows up unexpectedly and makes her accompany him to France. She really does not want to be there but her father says he'll send her home if she starts researching her final project for school. While researching Andi finds the diary of Alexandrine, a young Parisian who lived during the French Revolution. Their two worlds come together in unexpected ways.

Though both the past and the present are sad, they are also hopeful. As Virgil says, "Life's all about the revolution...the one inside, I mean. You can't change history. You can't change the world. All you can ever change is yourself."*

I did have an issue with Andi's parents in this book, and I am probably being really unfair about it. I feel like in a lot of books I've been reading over the past year or two the dad leaves the family to start a new family and/or the main character's sibling dies, leaving the mom catatonic. I'm getting kind of tired of it. So when there are both parental situations in this book, it kind of bugged. Unfair, I know.

*from ARC and might change

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