31 March 2011

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Revolution sucked me in from the first chapter and basically blew my mind by the time the epilogue whipped around.  I listened to the audiobook -- beautifully read by Emily Janice Card and Emma Berling -- and it was one of the few experiences I've had with a book-on-CD that didn't feel at any time like it was dragging or taking too long to finish up.  I wanted this story of Andi and Alex to go on forever. 

Andi is from Brooklyn and because of her own depression, her severely depressed mom, and her rapidly failing academics, she's being forced to stay with her dad in Paris for a short time while he works on some DNA research.  Andi and her dad don't get along all that well, and she's PISSED about the arrangement.  Alex lives in Paris, or she did two centuries ago anyway, during the time and tragedy of the French Revolution.  Andi finds Alex's diary and immediately gets entrenched in the past, in Alex's pain, in her determination, and in her inevitably short future.  Just as Andi loses herself in Alex's world, it's possible for readers of Revolution to get lost in Andi's.  The dark undertones of the book can be overwhelming, but the beauty that emerges within the characters and the setting is worth the muddy road to get there.  This book ended just exactly the way I wanted it to, the way I needed it to.

I just discovered that the audiobook version of this title was noted as an Honor pick by the American Library Association Odyssey Award Committee.  The Odyssey Award is one that recognizes excellence in audiobook production for children and/or teens.  (I guess I'll have to listen to Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday next to try to figure out just exactly why Revolution didn't WIN!)

Recommended to all teen readers -- in addition to the fascinating history, the romance will capture the girls and the adventure and mystery will intrigue the boys.  The heartache will touch all.
Call number: YA DONNELLY; YA CD DONNELLY (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

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