Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly – Book Review

Revolution is a young adult novel that is absolutely full to the brim with important subjects. I listened to this book on CD, and the voices of the readers were excellent. This book kept me interested and on my toes waiting to find out what would happen next. The story opens with the protagonist, a rich teenage girl from Brooklyn named Andi, not coping with the death of her ten year old brother Truman and the impact that it had on her family. This whole part made me angry, since as a mother myself, I found the way her parents reacted and continued to react two years after the event terrible. Andi’s’ father left them, and her mother was so emotionally upset she really was unable to cope herself.

The book follows Andi to Paris where she goes to do research on her final paper which she needs to write in order to graduate from her private high school. While in Paris she discovers the diary of a girl from Revolutionary France. The girl, Alexandre was the minder to the French Dauphin, Louis-Charles. Of course the diary chronicles the demise of the King and Queen and the terrible way that Louis-Charles was treated before his death.

In order to present such a wonderful way to showcase the facts, Andi is actually researching Malherbeau, a composer (not a real figure) and his effect on the evolution of music. This is the figure that Andi meets when she hits her head and time-travels to revolutionary France. Every time that I thought I knew where this book was going, the author surprised me. Her ability to bring 1700’s France to life was one of the parts of the book that I liked best.

This book is an excellent rendering of the facts of the French Revolution when ordinary people were put to death for most times no reason, and how absolute power corrupts absolutely. This story brings the reader into the revolution and shows what life was like during such a dangerous, turbulent time period.  The author also brings into the mix the idea that nothing ever changes. I have to say that Jennifer Donnelly wrote an excellent novel that I would recommend to all. Well done!

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