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Revolution | [Jennifer Donnelly]

Revolution

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages - until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.
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Audible Editor Reviews

From Brooklyn to Paris and from the 18th-century to the 21st, Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution covers a vast spread of geography, culture, and time. Emily Janice Card does the heavy lifting in her narration of Andi Alpers, a Brooklyn prep school misfit and gifted musician with enough life experience for someone three times her age. Card delivers Andi’s heartbreak and depression with remarkable awareness, her intonation constantly evolving and adapting to the development of the character. When Andi finds a mysterious archaic diary while accompanying her father on a trip to Paris, narrator Emma Bering voices a smaller but vital role as Alexandrine, a French actress living in Versaille as a companion to Louis Charles, son of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, in Revolution-era France. Card and Bering’s collaboration yields a stunning performance of an alliance between two women separated by three centuries. Revolution will charm Francophiles, historians, and musicians alike.

Following the tragic death of her younger brother and the divorce of her mother and father, Andi spirals into a severe depression. Arguably the most stable in this arrangement, her father, an award-winning genetics professor at Harvard, takes notice when he discovers that Andi is in danger of failing out of high school. He insists that she join him on a business trip to Paris to focus on writing her senior thesis and her mental wellness. Initially reluctant to leave her mother behind, Andi soon finds a reason to explore Paris — the diary written by Alexandrine detailing the final days of the French monarchy and the Reign of Terror.

The entanglement of Andi and Alexandrine’s storylines as Andi becomes engrossed in the diary offers a fascinating glimpse into both contemporary and 18th-century Paris. Donnelly’s striking construction of these two worlds is accompanied by Andi’s acute perception and passion for music of all eras. From Beethoven to Radiohead, music plays a central role in Andi’s emotional recovery and journey throughout Revolution. Card inhabits the music’s supporting role ardently. —Suzanne Day

Publisher's Summary

Brooklyn
Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

Paris
Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want - and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages - until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2010 Jennifer Donnelly (P)2010 Listening Library

What the Critics Say

"Revolution is a sumptuous feast of a novel, rich in mood, character, and emotion. With multiple hooks, it should appeal to a wide range of readers." (School Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (374 )
5 star
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4.2 (208 )
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4.3 (204 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Joanne crump Atlanta, GA USA 02-20-13
    Joanne crump Atlanta, GA USA 02-20-13 Member Since 2012
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    "BEST STORY for young adults and old adults"
    What did you love best about Revolution?

    The story was absolutely riveting and was well narrated by the reader


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Revolution?

    The juxtaposition of time between present day and the time of the French Revolution. It really taught me a lot about the French revolution


    What does Emily Janice Card and Emma Bering bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narration was SO GOOD that I couldn't stop listening - finished it in two days and I didn't want the book to end. The narrator for the present day protagonist caught the slang, intonation and emotion of teenage angst. The person who narrated the 1700's time frame made me feel as though I was there


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Oh yes. I neglected everything until my children MADE me put it down


    Any additional comments?

    Your quality of books is just wonderful - please keep that up!!!!!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tamara Berrimah, Australia 02-06-13
    Tamara Berrimah, Australia 02-06-13 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fabulous - For anyone & everyone."
    If you could sum up Revolution in three words, what would they be?

    interesting - insightful - visual


    What other book might you compare Revolution to and why?

    'Playing Beatie Bow' - it is a cross over of contrast from two very different times in history but showing that we as people are fundamentally plagued by the same problems in life. Loss, Love, Family, Friends, Devotion & Emotion.


    Have you listened to any of Emily Janice Card and Emma Bering ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is my first time for both performers and I will be seeking out more. Possibly the best reading I have had the pleasure of listening to.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    This whole book is full of moving moments but what remains with me is the soundtrack and an image of Paris that will be with me forever.


    Any additional comments?

    Get this book. If you have ever lost anyone, suffered depression, loved music, loved history, loved 'Les Miserables', had family disputes, looked after a parent, felt like you didn't fit in or that life had no meaning, there is something in this book for you.

    It is a beautifully different and refreshing book.

    I would recommend it particularly for teenage girls 14yrs & up (I purchased it origanlly for my daughter) but I'm 34 and loved it & I believe my brother, my sisters, my Mum & my Grandmother would all take something from it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lulu 09-23-12
    Lulu 09-23-12

    I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinatinly Complex"

    For some reason I always think Young Adult books should be simpler than their Old Adult counterparts. This book went a long way towards dispelling that stereotype. The word that best describes the plot is - dense. If you peeled back the top layers, the tragic death of a sibling, the destruction of a family unit, New York and Paris through the eyes of a jaded, wealthy, emotionally unbalanced, humorously sarcastic, tragic heroine there is still so much more to explore.

    The arguments between history and science, the therapeutic quality of art, a young girl's struggle to keep her life together, parent her mother and forgive her father, the healing ability of friends and the destructive and vindictive quality of those who are not your friend and the debris that occurs when the technology and culture of today collides with a pocket of civilization that still exists but has remained unchanged for centuries all could fill a book.

    The role of music in this story is critical. And just exploring the lyrics and the history of the songs on Andi's iPod could have made a complete and fulfilling read. The author lists a playlist on her website, but I would be fascinated to know how she selected the music she used, if it all holds specific meaning to her and who wrote the lyrics attributed to the characters in the book. They were beautiful bits of poetry, absolute grace.

    My only criticism of the book was that sometimes the diary segments were hard to track. Jumping back and forth between two periods of history, especially if they are separated by several hundred years, makes the plot timeline more difficult to follow. In this book it is even more complex. The story unfolds in real time, and the narrator also relays her recent past - the death of her brother and the breakdown of her family. Then the author uses a diary to explain the distant pass, but instead of just relaying what happened on the actual dates of the diary entries, the entries also relay what happened on numerous days over the last six years. There were diary entries when the diarist was recording her interaction with the living Duke d'Orleans and memorializing her conversation with his ghost and the entries read as if both happened that day. Keeping track of whether I was reading about today or some time between two years ago and today or 212 years ago or some time between 212 years ago and 218 years ago, was difficult. The two narrators helped, and keeping the diary entries brief helped. But it still made sections of the book tough to follow. But the beauty and tragedy of the plot made this difficulty worth the effort.

    Young Adult, Old Adult or someone in between - you should read this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sash & Em: A Tale of Two Bookies United States 08-13-12
    Sash & Em: A Tale of Two Bookies United States 08-13-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good introduction to historical fiction!"

    Okay you guys, historical fiction is seriously not my thing; especially when the setting is in the 1700s. I’ve reviewed a few historical fictions here on the blog – Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, and The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell – only 3! That’s not very much considering how many books we review on the blog. And the reason for that is that I don’t usually enjoy historical fiction but oh my wow, Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution was amazing.

    It does go back and forth between the two girls, and Andi, our main character, lives in present day (Brooklyn, but the book also takes place in Paris). Her younger brother has died and she’s kind of like a manic pixie girl (read: emo) but when she finds young Alexandrine’s diary, I feel like Andi is able to find an outlet for her grief – or at the very least, something that she’s interested in. Is Andi emo? Yeah, but she never crossed into the “annoying emo” girl for me. And then she’s transported into the time of the French Revolution while she is in the catacombs, which kind of ties in a supernatural element to this historical fiction.

    Despite the fact that I don’t consider historical fiction a favorite sub-genre of mine, Revolution has been one of my favorite reads this year. It’s a great read and a good introduction to historical fiction if you’re looking to dabble in it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rola Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 06-28-12
    Rola Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 06-28-12 Member Since 2007

    Between work , kids , school and everything that life shoves at us I need a GOOD Book

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "lovely"

    The tie between past and present between both ladies was nicely done , unexpected love story was a nice hint , Chilling that people still believe in revolutions with all the suffering is causes .

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 02-01-12
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 02-01-12 Member Since 2010

    MTF

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Three stories in one - two of them fun"

    This novel is really three separate and connected stories in one. The first is a tale about a senior in high school who is depressed and her music is no longer enough to keep sane. She is a musical genius, and is dealing with grief, difficult parents, and a difficult school situation. She is a believable and engaging character, and when the novel is in her voice, it is at its best. The girl, Andy, is in Paris over her winter break, and discovers a journal written by a girl Alex during the French Revolution. The novel alternates between Andy's life, and Andy reading Alex's journal. I enjoy historical fiction, and got the book mostly because the 18th century France part piqued my interest. That started out strongly, but grew less and less engaging, as Alex's journal had too much 3rd person description of the French Revolution, and not enough of her personal story. On top of that, Alex's life and time never came alive to me on the page. Finally, there was a 3rd story, towards the end, something that I will not talk about for fear of it being a spoiler. I will say that this piece did engage me, and made another time and place come alive.

    Two of the three parts worked for me, and I was looking at this as a 3 to 4 star book. The reader was excellent, and helped me bump my rating to the solid 4 star category. The main reader captured the main character, Andy, so well. She was also very funny and on-target with the voice of the mother of Andy's Indian classmate. Another reader did a solid job with a French accent (I assume it was a different reader, as there were two for this book). This is a young adult book and will especially appeal to middle school or high school girls. I enjoyed it as an adult male. I am a teacher, and I am always looking for titles to add to my school's summer reading list. I will certainly add Revolution.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marlina 10-25-11
    Marlina 10-25-11 Member Since 2014

    Neena

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    "Revolution: A Music Lover's Delight"

    I love novels about the French Revolution, it was such a time turmoil and upheaval that it lends itself to great story lines. This is a young adult novel but I think it was probably one of my biggest favorites of this year. It is a book for anyone who has a daughter about fifteen to twenty or for anyone who enjoys the time period and music. The main character is so in love with music, much like myself and music almost becomes another character. It is a book that I have listened to it more than once and I enjoyed it even more every time. Two young women, going through difficult times in different centuries. The one of the most important question this novel asks is "What would we do without "Stairway to Heaven"?" Its read by two narrators and usually I don't get into those novels, but this time it works. If you read/listened to "Madame Tussuad" by Michelle Moran, you will enjoy this novel as well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronnie Aledo, TX, United States 09-22-11
    Ronnie Aledo, TX, United States 09-22-11 Member Since 2012

    sci/fi fantasy addict, learning to love the classics

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a fun ride"

    Really enjoy the story and the narration. It's not earth shattering and many of the premise were historical fantasy standards. But the way it was all wrapped up was fun and entertaining. I'll definitely re-listen again down the road.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dielle 09-22-11
    Dielle 09-22-11 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a fun ride"

    Really enjoy the story and the narration. It's not earth shattering and many of the premise were historical fantasy standards. But the way it was all wrapped up was fun and entertaining. I'll definitely re-listen again down the road.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yolandi woodmead, South Africa 07-26-11
    Yolandi woodmead, South Africa 07-26-11 Member Since 2015
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    3
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    "Awesome!!!"

    This was one of the best books I have listened to in a while! I love the narrator! She is absolutely brilliant. The story just comes alive.
    I will definitely be looking for more books of both the author and Narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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