Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

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Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Madeline Wheatley
Reviewed by Madeline Wheatley
Summary: Revolution is a blend of contemporary tale and historical novel. Two girls, separated by two hundred years in time, are drawn together by their need to protect someone they love.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 496 Date: October 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 978-1408801529

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Meet Andi, a New York girl on a trip to Paris. She's a talented musician at a school for exceptional students. She's a wisecracking, quick thinking girl who acts on impulse. She's a brilliant people watcher, and her descriptions of what she sees will make you smile. She's also seriously depressed with a pill popping habit that is spiralling out of control.

Meet Alexandrine, born in poverty and living through the upheaval of the French Revolution. She's an aspiring actress who will do anything to improve her life. She too is a quick thinking girl who acts on impulse. Her fate is sealed two centuries before Andi arrives in Paris, but a key and a diary locked into an old guitar bring the girls together.

Both girls are rebels and both come vividly to life in this book. The story weaves in many directions drawing in threads from the past to shed light on the present. As Andi's history teacher comments History is a Rorschach test. […] What you see when you look at it tells you as much about yourself as it does about the past. Jennifer Donnelly packs a powerful punch with well honed lines that make you want to know more about the book's themes, from the French Revolution to the kaleidoscope of music that forms a soundtrack as the story unfolds.

In fact the whole book has a kaleidoscope quality, with scenes and characters changing before your eyes. The scenes are certainly varied, ranging from eighteenth century prison settings in the shadow of the guillotine, through present day silent study in a research library to a memorable overnight rave in the Paris catacombs.

Among the many plot twists there are a couple where I suspect readers may be ahead of Andi by some distance. Now this can make you feel quite pleased with yourself, or add to the tension in the tale, but I think I'd have preferred not to have seen the lie of the land quite so clearly at times. I also think that the cover of the American edition perfectly reflects the story and will attract more readers than the British one. Take a look at the top of this page and see which you prefer. That aside, this rather unusual take on the timeslip concept makes for compulsive reading, and it is one of those stories that you will be thinking about long after you finish reading it.

Thank you to the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion:

For more with a background of the French Revolution try Sovay by Celia Rees.

Buy Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly at

Buy Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly at


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