Friday, December 24, 2010

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

A gorgeous depiction of loss that somehow ties together modern day Brooklyn and revolutionary Paris. 17 year old Andi Alpers is in the kind of space one can only inhabit after a sudden traumatic loss: she finds herself teetering on the edge of rooftops, pausing on the curb considering moving traffic, and unable to connect with anyone. When her Nobel prize winning DNA scientist of a father swoops in to Brooklyn, checks her artist mother into a mental institution (she hasn't stopped painting Truman, Andi's dead brother since he died), and insists that Andi accompany him to Paris over the winter holidays so she can complete the thesis she needs to write in order to graduate from her private academy, she finds herself forced to deal. In Paris, she finds the diary of Alexandre Paradis, an actress who also served as nanny to Louis-Charles, son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The plot twists and turns but never loses sight of its goal. A beautiful, lyrical commentary on how little has changed in our modern world since the revolution. Not to be missed under any circumstances! This would make a fantastic tie-in for students studying the French Revolution. Grade 8+