If you don’t like us being demanding, then we politely ask you to check out “Revolution.” But it’s rare when a story hits me so hard. I read many books, and they make me laugh, cry and smile. Once I’m done with it, I give it little thought and move on to the next book. I thought it would be the same with “Revolution.” It’s in the middle of my long list of books to read. But now that I have finished it, I can’t seem to move on from it. “Revolution” is a powerful story with history, love, grief, and mystery beautifully woven together.
The story follows Andi Alpers, a Brooklyn native who is grieving the loss of her brother, Truman. Wrecked by sadness and guilt, Andi stops doing well in school, takes anti-depressants, and focuses only on her music. Music seems to be the only thing that is keeping her alive. Her usually absent father decides to give her an intervention. He sends off her grief-stricken mother to a psychiatric hospital and takes Andi with him to Paris for her Winter break. The deal is that she uses the time in France to work on a thesis for a school project. While researching, she stumbles upon the diary of Alexandrine Paradis, an actress who lived during the French Revolution. As Andi reads Alex’s diary, she becomes enraptured with Alex’s tales and can’t help but find how much their stories are alike.
The story focuses a lot on the French Revolution. If you don’t know too much about it, don’t fret. Author Jennifer Donnelly provides enough information to make it interesting and not like you’re reading a history textbook. I personally knew an overview of what happened during the French Revolution. But I didn’t know the little details. I found it so fascinating how Donnelly was able to weave fiction and history together so perfectly. She made Alex’s story feel so real; every time I read her one of her diary entries, I felt like I was right next to her living in 1790s France. Andi’s story is just as gripping. She is a girl on the edge. Literally. When reading her thoughts, my heart felt pained with her grief. I felt her annoyances, her sad moments, and her little flickers of hope.
“Revolution” is a very human story. When we learn about history, there’s usually a detached feeling that comes along with it. Probably because many of us didn’t live through it. The story reminded me that those wars, massacres, and general evilness affected real people with the same hopes, dreams and feelings I have.
I wish I could go on and explain the sort of unexpected (yet thought-provoking) message Donnelly relays through this story, but I don’t want to ruin the magic of the book. I want you to discover it on your own. I will, however, say that it changed the way I look at the world. Alex and Andi end their tales with the same line. Even as I woke up this morning after finishing the book, I read the latest news and that line proved itself so true. It makes me want to both cry and smile.
“Revolution” is available in our TYF store. Click here to buy!