I just finished reading Jennifer Donnelly’s young adult novel, Revolution, and I can’t stop thinking about the French Revolution. To be honest, I didn’t begin reading Donnelly’s book because of a burning desire to learn more about the Storming of the Bastille, but there you go. That’s the best part of reading good historic fiction. I knew her book was successful because I kept checking Wikipanion on my iPhone to learn more about Danton and Robespierre.
Revoloution is about two teenage girls, one living in modern day New York City and the other in Revolution-era France. The primary story is about Andi, a girl grieving over the death of her younger brother and flunking out of her prestigious private high school. The only thing that makes her happy is playing her guitar and thinking about music. Through her Nobel Prize-winning father, she has the opportunity to travel to Paris where she discovers a diary belonging to Alexandrine, a girl who lived two centuries earlier. The novel alternates between Andi’s efforts to write her high school thesis (about a fictional composer) and Alexandrine’s eventful diary. Of course, the two stories begin to connect. Both girls are performers and both are dealing with loss. The book is a long but worthwhile read. It was one of those things where I would get really into Andi’s story and not want to travel back in time to check in on Alexandrine. Of course, then the opposite would happen, and I would not want to return to Andi’s 21st century problems. The bottom line: Really good book. Bonus: Reading about Marie Antoinette!