Welcome to the Bookshelf Detective, a site packed with tricks and tips for readers and writers of children's literature. Thank you for visiting!
Kim Tomsic

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14th, Bastille Day...a perfect day to read REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly

Happy Bastille Day, La Fete Nationale! Although I've celebrated in the past by standing on the Champs-Elysees, waving at Jacques Chirac, I've decided to do something less royal this year. In the spirit of giving back, I labor for the people and produce a book recommendation (dramatic military drum roll please)...REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly.
WINNER - 2011 Young Adult Book of the Year - American Booksellers Association.

High School senior Andi is a brilliant musician as well as an academic genius, but the tragic death of her brother has caused her to spiral into a depression. She's failing school, her mother is hospitalized, and her Dad forces her to spend her holiday in Paris (poor dear). In France Andi's father conducts DNA research to determine if a small heart sitting in a medical jar once beat in the chest of the child king, Louis Charles, son of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.  Meanwhile, Andi has a find of her own: a 200 year-old diary written by a seventeen-year-old girl who lived with Louis Charles and the family from their time at Versailles up until the parents' beheading. Because Andi pops a ton of feel-good pills, it's hard to distinguish what "really" happens in Andi's world. This historical fiction cleverly weaves the 21st century with the 18th century. The uncertainty is part of the joy of this novel which is packed with adventure, mystery, drama, romance, and comedic relief.

Positives and Negatives:
The story hints at a beautiful message, one of no longer standing by and watching as injustice takes place. There are fabulous secondary characters (like Vijay). There's also a great leap that ties the Green Man of Paris and the girl in the diary (Alex), almost like Phillipa Gregory's THE QUEEN'S FOOL. I found the use of music lyrics and music references heavy, but I still wanted to belt out George Michael's Praying for Time (or even the Black-Eyed Pea's Going Gone...see, now I'm carried away). In regard to the music references, I did enjoy the discovery, inclusion, and clean wrap-up angle on the 18th century musician Malherbeau. Bravo!
Like the dark and winding uncertainty of Paris's catacombs, this historical fiction takes the reader on many exciting twists and turns that keep the pages turning. Tragedy, comedy, romance, history, music...what more could a reader want? A perfect read for Bastille Day, or any day.

Hardcover October 2010 (18.99 Delacorte Books for Young Readers); Paperback release, July 26, 2011 (Ember) $9.99.

  • ISBN-10: 0385737645

  • ISBN-13: 978-0385737647

  • ISBN-10: 0385737637
         ISBN-13: 9780385737630
    Published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 10/12/2010
    Pages: 496    Language: English  

  • Buy at...
    Boulder Bookstore
    The Strand

    Click here to link to Discovery's Curiosity.com for the best slide show of art inspired by the French Revolution (Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI, the escape and capture in Varennes, Guillotine, storming of the Bastille, Robespierre, etc.)

    1 comment:

    Ruth Donnelly said...

    Great review! I'm in the mood for a good historical novel, and this sounds perfect.

    Blog Archive