4.4 454
by Jennifer Donnelly

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Readers of If I Stay and Elizabeth George will love Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light. Revolution 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…  See more details below


Readers of If I Stay and Elizabeth George will love Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light. Revolution 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.
    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 her father has determined that accompanying him to Paris for winter break is the solution for everything.
    But Paris is a city of ghosts for Andi. And when she finds a centuries-old diary, the ghosts begin to walk off the page. Alexandrine, the owner of the journal, lived during the French Revolution. She’s angry too. It’s the same fire that consumes Andi, and Andi finds comfort in it—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs, words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes terrifyingly present.

Praise for Revolution:

An ABA Indies Choice Young Adult Book of the Year
An ALA-YALSA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book
A #1 Indiebound Selection
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book
An Best Book of the Year

[STAR] “A sumptuous feast of a novel, rich in mood, character, and emotion.” —School Library Journal, Starred

[STAR] “Every detail is meticulously inscribed into a multi-layered narrative that is as wise, honest, and moving as it is cunningly worked. Readers  . . . will find this brilliantly crafted work utterly absorbing.” —The Bulletin, Starred

[STAR] “Brilliantly realized, complete, and complex. The novel is rich with detail, and both the Brooklyn and Paris settings provide important grounding for the haunting and beautifully told story.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred

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Editorial Reviews

Two girls, two centuries and an ocean apart, are thrust together in this gripping novel by the award-winning author of A Northern Light. Brooklyn high school student Andi Alpers feels at the end of several tethers when her father rescues her for a winter break excursion to France. When the ever-curious Andi discovers the ragged journal of an ill-fated Parisian actress, she falls under its thrall. When that emotional connection jolts into the presence, Alpers matures in sudden, unexpected ways.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.34(w) x 11.74(h) x 1.50(d)
HL560L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Those who can, do.

Those who can't, deejay.

Like Cooper van Epp. Standing in his room--the entire fifth floor of a Hicks Street brownstone--trying to beat-match John Lee Hooker with some piece of trip-hop horror. On twenty thousand dollars' worth of equipment he doesn't know how to use.

"This is the blues, man!" he crows. "It's Memphis mod." He pauses to pour himself his second scotch of the morning. "It's like then and now. Brooklyn and Beale Street all at once. It's like hanging at a house party with John Lee. Smoking Kents and drinking bourbon for breakfast. All that's missing, all we need--"

"--are hunger, disease, and a total lack of economic opportunity," I say.

Cooper pushes his porkpie back on his head and brays laughter. He's wearing a wifebeater and an old suit vest. He's seventeen, white as cream and twice as rich, trying to look like a bluesman from the Mississippi Delta. He doesn't. He looks like Norton from The Honeymooners.

"Poverty, Coop," I add. "That's what you need. That's where the blues come from. But that's going to be hard for you. I mean, son of a hedge fund god and all."

His idiot grin fades. "Man, Andi, why you always harshing me? Why you always so--"

Simone Canovas, a diplomat's daughter, cuts him off. "Oh, don't bother, Cooper. You know why."

"We all do. It's getting boring," says Arden Tode, a movie star's kid.

"And one last thing," I say, ignoring them, "talent. You need talent. Because John Lee Hooker had boatloads of it. Do you actually write any music, Coop? Do you play any? Or do you just stick other people's stuff together and call the resulting calamity your own?"

Cooper's eyes harden. His mouth twitches. "You're battery acid. You know that?"

"I do."

I am. No doubt about it. I like humiliating Cooper. I like causing him pain. It feels good. It feels better than his dad's whiskey, better than his mom's weed. Because for just a few seconds, someone else hurts, too. For just a few seconds, I'm not alone.

I pick up my guitar and play the first notes of Hooker's "Boom Boom." Badly, but it does the trick. Cooper swears at me and storms off.

Simone glares. "That was brutal, Andi. He's a fragile soul," she says; then she takes off after him. Arden takes off after her.

Simone doesn't give a rat's about Cooper or his soul. She's only worried he'll pull the plug on our Friday-morning breakfast party. She never faces school without a buzz. Nobody does. We need to have something, some kind of substance-fueled force field to fend off the heavy hand of expectation that threatens to crush us like beer cans the minute we set foot in the place.

I quit playing "Boom Boom" and ease into "Tupelo." No one pays any attention. Not Cooper's parents, who are in Cabo for the holidays. Not the maid, who's running around opening windows to let the smoke out. And not my classmates, who are busy trading iPods back and forth, listening to one song after another. No Billboard Hot 100 fare for us. We're better than that. Those tunes are for kids at P.S. Whatever-the-hell. We attend St. Anselm's, Brooklyn's most prestigious private school. We're special. Exceptional. We're supernovas, every single one of us. That's what our teachers say, and what our parents pay thirty thousand dollars a year to hear.

This year, senior year, it's all about the blues. And William Burroughs, Balkan soul, German countertenors, Japanese girl bands, and New Wave. It's calculated, the mix. Like everything else we do. The more obscure our tastes, the greater the proof of our genius.

As I sit here mangling "Tupelo," I catch broken-off bits of conversation going on around me.

"But really, you can't even approach Flock of Seagulls without getting caught up in the metafictive paradigm," somebody says.

And "Plastic Bertrand can, I think, best be understood as a postironic nihilist referentialist."

And "But, like, New Wave derived meaning from its own meaninglessness. Dude, the tautology was so intended."

And then, "Wasn't that a mighty time, wasn't that a mighty time . . ."

I look up. The kid singing lines from "Tupelo," a notorious horndog from Slater, another Heights school, is suddenly sitting on the far end of the sofa I'm sitting on. He smirks his way over until our knees are touching.

"You're good," he says.


"You in a band?"

I keep playing, head down, so he takes a bolder tack.

"What's this?" he says, leaning over to tug on the red ribbon I wear around my neck. At the end of it is a silver key. "Key to your heart?"

I want to kill him for touching it. I want to say words that will slice him to bits, but I have none. They dry up in my throat. I can't speak, so I hold up my hand, the one covered in skull rings, and clench it into a fist.

He drops the key. "Hey, sorry."

"Don't do that," I tell him, tucking it back inside my shirt. "Ever."

"Okay, okay. Take it easy, psycho," he says, backing off.

I put the guitar into its case and head for an exit. Front door. Back door. Window. Anything. When I'm halfway across the living room, I feel a hand close on my arm.

"Come on. It's eight-fifteen."

It's Vijay Gupta. President of the Honor Society, the debate team, the Chess Club, and the Model United Nations. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, a literacy center, and the ASPCA. Davidson Fellow, Presidential Scholar candidate, winner of a Princeton University poetry prize, but, alas, not a cancer survivor.

Orla McBride is a cancer survivor, and she wrote about it for her college apps and got into Harvard early admission. Chemo and hair loss and throwing up pieces of your stomach beat the usual extracurriculars hands down. Vijay only got wait-listed, so he still has to go to class.

"I'm not going," I tell him.

"Why not?"

I shake my head.

"What is it?"

Vijay is my best friend. My only friend, at this stage. I have no idea why he's still around. I think he sees me as some kind of rehabilitation project, like the loser dogs he cares for at the shelter.

"Andi, come on," he says. "You've got to. You've got to get your outline in. Beezie'll throw you out if you don't. She threw two seniors out last year for not turning it in."

"I know. But I'm not."

Vijay gives me a worried look. "You take your meds today?" he asks.

"I did."

He sighs. "Catch you later."

"Yeah, V. Later."

I head out of the Castle van Epp, down to the Promenade. It's snowing. I take a seat high above the BQE, stare at Manhattan for a bit, and then I play. For hours. I play until my fingertips are raw. Until I rip a nail and bleed on the strings. Until my hands hurt so bad I forget my heart does.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Revolution 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 454 reviews.
Crazy-Bookworm More than 1 year ago
"I don't like hope very much. In fact, I hate it. It's the crystal meth of emotions. It hooks you fast and kills you hard. It's bad news. The Worst. It's sharp sticks and cherry bombs"- Andi Alpers My Thoughts: Revolution is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. It is hard to put words to how lovely and gripping I thought this book was. Once you start you will not be able to finish, all though I must admit when I was reaching the end, reading the last few pages I stopped, and I put the book down because I didn't want to finish it, I did not want the story to end. Senior Editor, Krista Marino explained it best when she wrote the 'Dear Reader' "Revolution' is a one-of-a-kind reading experience". The character development was so well done, you really learn who each character is and what type of person they are. Alex is a character that I will never forget, she pushed herself into my heart and will remain there. Every time a diary entry would end, my heart would sink. I was desperately seeking her fate just as much as Andi was. Alex will capture the heart of all her readers. It will be impossible not to love and care for her. Reading Revolution was like being transported back and forth through time, to modern day Paris and Brooklyn to Eighteenth Century Paris during the brutality of the French Revolution,. The author draws you into the book so much you feel as if you are living the life of Alex and Andi right there with them. On a lighter side the book was very funny, Andi has an incredible quick-witted humour, there was never a dull moment while reading this book. Her best friend Vijay Gupta had a hilarious sense of humour as well and his many nicknames for his mother always made me laugh. Revolution brings music, art and history together in a beautiful harmony. It brings love, hope, tragedy and self-growth. This book will have something for everyone and I strongly recommend it. People will definitely miss out if they don't read Revolution.
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this wonderful book! It is a story that keeps you entertained for hours.
Acanoffleas More than 1 year ago
This is my first Jennifer Donnelly read, though I've heard nothing but wonderful things about her previous works. I picked this up from my local library. I'm a demon-speed reader, especially when I really enjoy the plot and am desperate to find out what happens next. I can easily plow through a 300-400 page book in a day or two. Well, I couldn't quite do that with this book. Not because I wasn't into the plot - no, no. The plot was dense, and I simply couldn't just breeze through it. I had to absorb it and let it sink. Andi deals with severe depression as a result of a tragedy that occurred in her family of which she holds herself responsible. In a nutshell, this book is the story of her exploring the hole she's dug herself into and how she claws her way out. Intertwined with this plot is a subplot of the history of the French Revolution. It's dirty, violent, and gritty. It's truth. And it's very moving. This book may not be for everyone. It's not fluff or a quick read. It's genuinely good YA fiction, which is a rarity in these days of Twihards...There are multiple references to pop culture, mostly dealing with music and bands. If you're not familiar with them you may feel a bit left out. But if you roll with it you'll be fine. I look forward to reading more of Donnelly.
ChelseaW More than 1 year ago
Andi Alpers is devastated when her brother Truman dies, a situation that has since caused her to sunk into a depression. The only thing that can ease her pain is playing her guitar. Her mother isn't handling it well either, and when Andi's father enrolls her mother in a hospital for a few weeks, he takes Andi with him to Paris. She is hesitant to go, but staying home with failing grades and an even worse reputation doesn't sound much better. However, it isn't very long before Paris becomes much more interesting for Andi. She meets an alluring boy named Virgil, explores the dark catacombs, and finds an old journal with an intriguing history written on it's pages. Donnelly's previous YA book A Northern Light is on my list of favorite books of all time, so I have been eagerly awaiting her next one for quite a while. When I saw the cover and read the synopsis of this one, I was largely uninterested. It sounded so boring! When I actually started reading, however, I was soon proven wrong. I fell into Andi's pain and depression almost immediately. I haven't read anything this deliciously angsty in a long time. The poor girl! The short length chapters helped pull me through the almost 500 pages in about two days. I would tell myself "one more chapter" and then suddenly a hundred pages will have gone by! The romance between Andi and Virgil was HOT and I wanted more, more, more of him! There were a few moments when I thought Andi was a little too cliche ("Boys let you down but music never does."), though that didn't turn me off too much. The parallel story written in the journal wasn't nearly as interesting as Andi's story itself, but perhaps the reader needs to be more interested in the French Revolution than I am. All in all, the similarities to Dante's Inferno were well matched, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Anna-Sophie More than 1 year ago
REVOLUTION is a "Tour de Force" book. I will not want to give any of the story away, but be assured that this book is the READ OF A LIFETIME. Jennifer Donnelly invented a totally new genre for REVOLUTION. And after you read the last sentence of REVOLUTION you will have a new understanding of the world and mostly of yourself. An inspiration for all ages.
emeraldisle More than 1 year ago
I am not a YA reader. Many years older. Taught high school and college level lit. for years. After all those years lived and books taught, I LOVED this book. It makes A Tale of Two Cities and Les Miserables relevant to the 21st century. It moves and impresses even a seasoned reader like me. A must-read for YA readers and for those who relate to YA's and to human emotions. Kudos to Jennifer Donnelly for a masterful novel!
LolaNichole More than 1 year ago
I'm so glad i read this! It made me go out and get books on the french revolution just to learn more about it! It had an amazing message about how hard it is to get over a death of someone you loved and how if given the chance you would take their place! I cried so much at the end. definitely worth reading!FYI...she kinda time travels in it so if your looking for something based on reality this probably isn't for you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How powerful was this book? Locomotive, hurricane, a-bomb ... I don't know -- I can't find the words to adequately describe it. I do know I have never been so captivated by a book and I have never learned so much -- about an important period of history, yes, but also about themes that transcend time such as love, grief, forgiveness, growing up, acceptance, hope, evil ... and, um, I guess the whole proverbial human condition. I know now how to respond to the stupidity and brutality of this world. I also have a whole new appreciation for the power of music -- and I'll never listen to The Smiths, Pink Floyd, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Ramones, Led Zeppelin, The Decemberists or Radiohead in quite the same way again.
CrisAnne More than 1 year ago
Wow was the word that came from my mouth when I finished reading Jennifer Donnellys Revolution due to me being pretty much speechless :]. When I was at the bookstore I must admit I struggled between this book and another and I am glad I got Revolution. When I got home around 8 I did not put it down until I finished it (around 11). My point is that this is an awesome book! Donnelly shows the hurt we go through when we lose a loved one and how love for another can make you do pretty much anything. Plus I am a huge history geek so the French revolution was a nice treat. So buy/borrow the book you will not be dismayed.
Englandlovegirl More than 1 year ago
This book from the first page grabs a holed of you and doesn't let you go to the end. The stories of both Alex and Andi are just so moving and so in depth that anyone could relate to them in some way or another. The main focus of this story is love but not just any kind of love. The kind of love you have for a sibling or the love you have for someone that you care for so deeply that you would do anything to protect them from all the bad in the world. Jennifer Donnelly does an amazing job with the history the goes along with this story. This book is a must read.
Jackiemcfar More than 1 year ago
This book had me hooked from day one. It was truly amazing, incredibly moving. Had a little bit of history in it but definitely not a history book.
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
Wow, just wow. I pretty much picked this book to read based on two things: one, it's by Jennifer Donnelly, and I've read and loved all her books so far, and two, the French Revolution plays a part in the plot. Having gone to France the year before the 200-year anniversary of the storming of the Bastille in high school, that period of history has always interested me. Now that I'm finished, I'm very glad I chose it. Andi Alpers is in trouble. She's fighting the guilt and depression that her younger brother's death has left her with. She's dealing with a mother who most days isn't dealing with anything herself at all. She's angry with her father for deserting his family, in spirit long before he physically left them. And she's in real danger of being expelled from her prestigious private school. Once her father hears from the school about her current status, though, Andi finds herself wisked off to Paris over winter break so she can work on her senior thesis under her father's supervision. Once there, she finds the two-hundred-year-old diary of Alexandrine Paradis, an ambitious wannabe actress who unwittingly becomes embroiled in the drama surrounding the French Revolution and the doomed life of the young prince of France. Soon, the diary becomes more real to Andi than her own life, and when it ends in a way she can't accept, she nearly loses everything. A new friend helps her to cope, however, and an unexpected dream--or it?--gives her more insight into her own place in the world than she ever dreamed possible. An amazing book!
Cariblogs More than 1 year ago
I would like to start off by saying how wrong I was! I have always thought audio books and historical novels were not for me. See I know what the characters sound like in my head so hearing the narrators voice throws me off. Also I had a really bad experience with my first audio book. The only reason I gave audio books a second chance was because I forgot to cancel my audible subscription. Historical books are usually hard for me because again I can't picture the voice or feel I could not relate to someone from so long ago but Revolution has changed my mind! The first hour or so I was skeptic and it took me about four times restarting the book, because I couldn't convince myself that I would like the audio but once I got past that and really started listening to the story I found myself relating to Andi. In Revolution Andi attends a private school that she doesn't much care for and it leads back to her brother Truman dying but they don't go into it at first. Her mother is an emotional mess and Andi is spiraling out of control and practically suicidal. Her estrange father steps in and takes Andi with him to Paris France for work. Her father was there to perform DNA test on a heart thought to be of ten year old Louis-Charles son of of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Andi wants nothing more than to return back home to take care of her mother but her father thinks Andi can't be trusted alone and he's right. While in Paris Andi discovers a diary of Louis-Charles nanny who tells the story of what happened to him. Andi slowly because emotionally attached to both Alex and Louis-Charles and hopes for a happy ending for both. Louis-Charles looked a lot like her brother Truman and the story of what is thought to be the last days of his life are tragic. While in Paris Andi meets Virgil an aspiring hip-hop artist who can clearly see that Andi is so emotionally broken and yet he is so drawn to her. He completely captured my heart! Andie makes a deal with her father that if she can finish a school assignment early can she return home early but Virgil and Alex's story are factors that make her reconsider leaving Paris. The story is so vast and so beautiful I can't explain how much I loved it! I plan to buy the physical copy of this book and listen to the audio again. If you are not sure about audio and/or historical I highly recommend this book to you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Donnelly did a wonderful job creating two characters personalities so vividly in this book! I read it in one sitting, and I've read a lot since. Worth buying totally. I love books about the French Rev., and this is definitely one of my favorites! I never found the storyline lacking, or slow, and i highly recommend it,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've read in a long time! I wasn't very familiar with the French Revolution before but this book will give you a whole new, tragic veiw. It was so amazing to be able to feel the main characters' feelings. I loved the entire thing, from the first page to the diary entries, to the last line!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was unsure of this book at first, but I am so glad I purchased it! I could not put this book down I couldn't wait to find out what happened next! Its a must read!
IceyBooks More than 1 year ago
Let me start by saying I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction. I have read a few, but not many. In Revolution, Jennifer Donnelly tells a beautiful story that blends together the present and the past in a way that's stunningly real. Two girls, two centuries apart, become one as their stories and griefs intertwine. There are so many paranormal and supernatural stories out there, we sometimes forget that stories like this can still pull us into a new world, much like our own, and leave us feeling compelled to turn the next page. Andi Alpers lost her brother, and it's all her fault. At least, that's what she says. And because of it, she tries to get herself killed to end the pain. Walking in front of cars, looking off the edge of a building one step away from death, she's tried them all. She takes pills to aid her depression, and plays music to get away from it all. Her father, a Nobel prize winning scientist who's almost never home, comes home one day when he finds out Andi is about to be expelled from one of the most prestigious schools in Brooklyn. He takes her with him to Paris during her winter break to work on her thesis, which is required for her to graduate. She goes, but not without a fight. While she's fumbling with a case, she unknowingly stumbles upon the diary of a girl who lived over 200 years ago. Andi's obsessed with Alex's diary, she can't put it away. Alex, the girl who became the caretaker of the young prince Louis-Charles. The prince who looks exactly like her brother, a life stolen because of madmen. Revolution was unputdownable. Everything about Donnelly's writing is compelling - the plot, her writing style, the characters - all perfect. I say, take a break from the vampires, faeries, dragons, and werewolves and dive heart-first into this beautiful and heartfelt story - you won't regret it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was a little bit slow at first but all in all one of the best books I have ever read
Caroline Rzucidlo More than 1 year ago
This book was a book that I couldnt put down! This book has romance, action, and history. I would definitly recommend this book!
Amimi150 More than 1 year ago
This book was Amazing!!!! Even though this is a YA novel, I find tht many adults cwould be able to enjoy it also!!! Once I started to read Revolution I just got sucked in, I just couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting when I would have usually taken about 3 days to read it. The characters were so well developed and they progressed so much that I could really connect with both Alex and Andi. I have to admit that this book really put the French Revolution into perspective and I was actually rooting for the survival of the royals, which I knew would never happen. Learning about the French Revolution has now become my favorite pastime! I read Revolution on my NookColor, but I'm planning on buying the book in hardcover since I enjoyed it so much. This book is a MUST READ!!!!!! I can guarantee that you won't regret it.
Emily405920 More than 1 year ago
Books are supposed to "take you away" right? Leave you wishing you were somewhere else, someone else.This novel does that, it brings you to places you wish you were and sometimes makes you glad you are who you are. And there's so much valuable history in this book that i totally aced the French Revolution portion of my AP Euro history finals. It takes a topic most teens wouldn't voluntarily read about and puts it into this magically weaved story that makes you imagine more than you ever thought you could on the subject. Please read this book. They say a good book can change you. Well i was indeed changed by this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Revolution is a very well written book about two girls who are centuries apart. Andi is a teenager who lives in present day Brooklyn. Alex, is from the past, the French Revolution. When their two paths cross, no one will believe what happens.. In Revolution, Andi is a teen with a lot of troubles. The only thing she can find security in his playing her guitar. Her family, well isn't really much of a family at all. Her father walked out on them, and after her brother's dead, Andi's mother went border line insane. Andi attends one of the best high schools in Brooklyn, and when her father finds out she is about to flunk, he shows up. He takes her to Paris during her break, and makes her get her work done. Andi is hesitant to go, but after she screws up once again, and her reputation is on the line, she goes. While Andi is there, she finds a boy, a boy that she is scared of falling in love with, and a dairy, a dairy no one else has ever read. It is from the French Revolution. A girl named Alex, that is Andi's age, left it, before she died. Andi can relate to the words of Alex, in fact, she can't quit reading them all..then suddenly, the overwhelming past becomes the present.. Revolution is an extremely exciting historical fiction book. Many books about history can be boring, but Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution is not. In the book, Alex was the only friend Louis Charles XVII of France ever had. Today, Louis Charles XVII is referred to as the lost dauphin of France. In Revolution, Alex knew him, and shared a life with him before he died. This book lets you really have an idea of how devastating the French Revolution was, and what an impact it had. Revolution is by far the best book I have ever read. The way it brings two worlds of centuries apart is fantastic. It will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the whole book.
mraugustwestie More than 1 year ago
What I thought would be a rather trite novel of two teens with evolving emotions divided by 200 years, this book was anything but commonplace. I was surprised by the intensity and originality of the author's melding of societies and out-sized passions. Ms. Donnelly demonstrates respect for the intellect of young women. From the articulate first chapter where she describes Andi Alpers, who is not always lucid, to the final sentence, I was impressed with Andi's perception of her peers and her own insurmountable grief. Despite her haunting sorrow and guilt, she holds on to her astuteness and ability to learn. A gifted musician, Andi is suffering from the loss of her younger brother, her guilt has sent her in a tailspin of drugs and self-loathing. Donnelly captures Andi in the first few chapters and the readers are aware they are dealing with a brilliant, 17-year-old girl who is on edge of suicide and appears to be floating from minute to minute in agony. She reaches out to her mother, an artist, who cannot overcome the death of her son, Truman, and placates her with kindness and gifts. Her father, a successful Nobel Prize winning geneticist, sends her mother to a mental hospital and takes Andi to Paris. Placing her mother in a mental hospital is an affront to Andi and she fights her father for her mother's dignity. One of my favorite lines occurs when Andi corrects Dr, Becker (the hospital's psychiatrist) grammar and usage. Her father has his rules: she is to work on her thesis to graduate from her elite school by creating a plausible outline and plan in order to graduate. So how can Andi use her brilliance to overcome her grief and re-enter the world? Her father drags her to Paris where he is working on a secret project and the story begins. Finding a diary, presumably written by another young woman stowed in a guitar case, we are introduced to Alexandrine Paradis, also a 17-year-old girl, who becomes the servant to Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI by entertaining their young son, Louis Charles (dauphin). Donnelly hits the reader every which way as she takes us through the French Revolution. As in all revolutions, no one is a winner; the winners often become more violent and greedy than those they replaced. But Donnelly adds more spin to this history by giving the reader a tactile and olfactory sense of the times. As Alex (and Andi) attempt to survive during the 1790's, Donnelly's writing is so sharp, I can smell the sweat and grime on the peasants, the powdered wigs on the upper classes and the blood pouring off the guillotines. In addition to blending two stories of desperate young women, she presents the French Revolution for what it was, the hungry remained hungry, good and bad citizens were slaughtered and the quest for food and lodging was always a premium for the masses. Andi and Alex were entertainers. Andi's scholarship was never glossed over and neither was Alex's mission to impart a lasting remembrance for 10-year-old Louis Charles. Locked away in the Temple Prison, it is said that he received no care, no human contact and withered away. There are multiple journeys in this novel and they are all difficult. Andi, consumed by guilt, needs to replenish her reason to live and Alex, consumed to do the right thing, becomes another martyr. Secondary characters are all well crafted. Andi's best friend, Vijay, is a clever, brilliant young man, whose mother, Mrs. Gupta could rival six Jewish mothers who want their sons to
bigtgentry More than 1 year ago
This book as all the emotions you can imagine. Despair, happiness, terrified, etc....You never know whats going to happen. Donnelly's writing makes it so that you can actually experience everything Andi is feeling while reading it, you can relate to her. I have to say this book is the best historical book I have ever read (and I think thats because its half fiction and half based on facts). If you buy this book, you wont be dissappointed!
dsf More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much. Filled with history, and believable characters. Hard to put down!