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
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.
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.
©2010 Jennifer Donnelly (P)2010 Listening Library
"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)
I am a 55 year old father, as far away from the "youth adult / female" classification of this book as one can get. I generally listen to historical fiction and took a chance on this because of another adult review in Amazon recommnding it. It was one of the best audiobooks I have purchased ( over 400 and counting). It had everthing I ask for in historical fiction - characters to move the plot along, real history mixed with the story, and good enough writing to cause me to research the period ( the French Revolution) on my own. I have 2 quibbles. One, the character from the past is read by an adult ( Emma Bering), who sounds like an adult, and I had to continually ignore that - they should have used a teenage narrator as they did with the girl from the present (Emily Card), as that is the obvious intent - teenager to teenager. Second - SPOILER ALERT - the time travel thing at the end of the book, though entertaining, felt manufactured and unnecessary, a perplexing break the straight narrative that had been used to that point,
Other than that - wonderful. I recommend it for any age
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” ― Ernest Hemingway
I've bought probably more than a hundred audiobooks but not many of them is as good as Revolution. Both of the narrators are awsome. I don't want to make this too long but all I wanted to say is that this book touched my life and I'm sure it can touch yours too.
I'm another middle-aged reader who enjoys reading young adult fiction. In fact,
I actually aspire to write some someday. Jennifer Donnelly has given me alot to look up to in this novel. It's a layered, thought-provoking story with characters I hated to leave behind after three days of frantic listening. Without being heavy-handed, the author highlights parallels between different eras and different kinds of revolution. Even if readers don't think that they are interested in history, they'll still be likely to be drawn in by Andi's story.
The time-travel plot-device was deftly handled, and it actually only occurs in the last third of
the book, after it's been well set up. And by
then I would have gone anywhere the author
chose to take me, time-travel or not!
I also can't praise Emily Card's amazing
narration enough. She does a tremendous job
of "being" Andi. Her performance is moving,
funny, and unpretentious. She is also so good
at voices that I think she could have handled
reading Alex as well. Emma Bering's Alex is
initially less engaging, and hearing her mature
voice speak the words of a 17-year-old does
take some getting used to, as other reviewers
have said. However, Alex does speak with a
different vocabulary that's meant to evoke
another time, an era where some young people
were likely to sound more mature than their
age, at least to our modern ears. So, Ms. Bering and her main character are not that
badly matched, and she does a fine job with
the many other voices in Alex's world. But
Card's award-worthy reading, and the great
story, are what make Revolution more than
worth my credit--and what made me write my
I enjoyed every minute of this book and could not wait for the next opportunity to continue listening. The different characters were true and honest. The narrator was pleasant to listen too. It was truly a pleasant listen.
Just A little bibliophile!
The reviewer who summed it up as perfection pretty much scoops my review of this story, but for my unabridged opinion, please continue.. this is one of those rare books that not only is an engaging, entertaining story deftly written (with an intelligent, wry sprinkling of humor) by Ms. Donnelly, but makes an engrossing listen as an audiobook. The narrator(s) do a great job, and bring so much life and "animation" to the characters..without being over the top. Both of them pretty much nail the personalities and essence of Andi and Alex spot on, and even the more "minor" characters are engaging. This is a wonderful story that takes you so much farther and in such a different direction than it might sound like in the beginning, even though the beginning is enough to pique one's interest. (Sampling the excerpt made me want to continue on with the story..) It is a masterful blending together of different elements such as music, history, family relationships, travel, first love, overcoming grief, and a young woman's finding love and her "path" in life. This woven tapestry of a story is deftly written by the author, and if, as a human, you are touched by any of the aforementioned elements, you don't want to miss this story. Enjoy!
There are multiple stories going on which is really interesting. It took a while before I could really get into the story so you may have to hang in there knowing it will be worth it in the end. You also have to be in the right mind set when you are listening to it. It is not a light read/listen. I tend to listen to audiobooks while I work and so what I can listen to will depend on what I am working on. This book required a little more attention so things weren't missed. There is a lot going on and it is a long book so plan accordingly. I appreciated the amount of research that had to have gone into writing this book. There was a lot of detail on multiple subjects. The narrators did a great job with both the characters and voices. I am interested in looking into other books by this author and the narrators.
I'm a high school librarian and I've already started book talking this book to students and teachers. The title Revolution refers to the French Revolution and it is a wonderful combination of contemporary fiction, historical fiction, and mystery with a touch of romance thrown in. I think this one will appeal to both boys and girls. Musical references are woven into the story and now I feel compelled to visit itunes to check out the composers the main character loves.
I'm currently searching madly for another title that might fill that void I always feel when I've finished a really wonderful title. This is the best book I've read since finishing Life of Pi! Thank you so much Jennifer Donnelly.
Great escape on a number of levels, age, time, place and attitude. The protaganist here is a somewhat unlikeable 17 year old; smart, angry, a bit redundant but fascinating. (Like many of us if we look back honestly). I got a feel for revolutionary France and the perspective from the "Royal's" point of view. Was reminded just how much a 17 year old knows and feels. Good narration with a couple accent slips but easy to follow.
The story line is amazing and the reader does the book justice. My niece read this and then listened to the audio book and was able to get a better understanding of the characters after having listened to it.
I don't know of any right now
My favorite character was Alexandrine.
I would have wanted to if I could spare the time, but I would listen on my way to and from work. Better than any radio station I ever heard.
The story was absolutely riveting and was well narrated by the reader
The juxtaposition of time between present day and the time of the French Revolution. It really taught me a lot about the French revolution
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
Oh yes. I neglected everything until my children MADE me put it down
Your quality of books is just wonderful - please keep that up!!!!!!!
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