Wednesday, September 21, 2011

TEACHER REVIEW - Revolution By Jennifer Donnelly

By Jennifer Donnelly
Published by Random House Children's Books, 2010
496 pages (hardcover)

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.

Revolution is not just your run of the mill historical fiction book.  At its heart, it is about the inner turmoil and anguish the main character, Andi, goes through after the death of her brother.  What makes this books so interesting though, is that Donnelly is able to weave together a story that shows the parallels of the French Revolution with the chaos and frustration one goes through in growing up.  As a reader, you connect with the characters, not because the historical events are fascinating (and they are), but because you can relate to the feelings and emotions of Andi, the 21st century narrator, as well as Alex, the 18th century, underground heroine (of sorts).  As in political revolutions, both Andi & Alex, struggle to reconcile ideas & emotions…and learn what is right versus what is wrong. –By Ms. Ackerman

Mrs. Ruud’s thoughts: This book was amazing. I was hooked from the start and couldn’t put it down. One of the things that made this book memorable, to me, was that this book motivated me to do research about the historical events in the book. I LOVE history, but I hardly do research about a book while I am reading it. I couldn’t get enough of this book or all the information I found about the French Royal Family during the French Revolution. Not to give anything away (hopefully), but I kept hoping as I scoured the Internet for information, that the fate of the King’s son would have a good ending. That there would be something positive that someone really did centuries ago that would make this historical fiction novel have an uplifting ending. I’ll tell you this- the ending is not what I hoped for, but the author did have a good ending that tied the events of the past and present together in a way that made me want to start the book all over again just so I could enjoy every last word one more time.

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