Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Donnelly, Jennifer Revolution 472 pgs. Delacorte Books for Young Readers Language~PG-13, Sexual Content~PG; Violence~PG-13

I could not write a more powerful or true review than the starred review by  The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. I have included that review below. 

However, I must share how much these characters affected me.  I haven't cared for or been so involved in a storyline for a long time.  Jennifer Donnelly has skillfully woven a story of grief, pain, loss, and most of all love.  I cannot express how deeply I enjoyed this story.  I listened to the audio performance and was astounded.  It was truly a performance of the highest degree.  If at all possible I would recommend that you purchase an audio copy of this title.

There is one "f" swear but other than that the language is pretty tame.  There is some alcohol use, after all they are in France for much of the story.

"Andi’s depression over her younger brother Truman’s death is deepening with time rather than waning, barely held in check by strong antidepressants and relieved only when she plays guitar until her fingers bleed. When her estranged, Nobel prize–winning father returns to find the family in shambles, he quickly dispatches her mother to a psychiatric hospital and insists that Andi accompany him to Paris over winter break, where he will be genetically testing a heart believed to belong to Louis-Charles, the boy dauphin imprisoned and abused until his early death following the French Revolution. While in Paris, Andi finds the diary of Alexandrine Paradis, the dauphin’s companion, hidden in an eighteenth-century guitar case. As Andi reads Alex’s first-hand account of the revolution, she identifies with Alex’s love for Louis-Charles and her guilt about the role she inadvertently played in the fate of the doomed prince; their relationship becomes inextricably woven into Andi’s grief narrative to the point where she enters into their world to complete Alex’s quest to reach out to the lost boy, a quest that facilitates her own grief work over Truman. Every detail is meticulously inscribed into a multi-layered narrative that is as wise, honest, and moving as it is cunningly worked. Andi and Alex are flawed artists, creatures of their time but also timeless in their self-absorption and aching need for forgiveness and redemption. The interplay between the contemporary and the historical is seamless in both plot and theme, and the storytelling grips hard and doesn’t let go. Readers fascinated with French history, the power of music, and/or contemporary realist fiction will find this brilliantly crafted work utterly absorbing. "

Upper Middle/High School ESSENTIAL(I can't say this strongly enough) Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

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