Thursday, December 1, 2011

Review: Revolution

I have to admit, when I first heard about this book last year when it came out, I thought it sounded kind of stupid. I don't think I heard more than a one-sentence description before deciding that I didn't need to read this one. It had something to do with "two girls, living two centuries apart..." and I was out.

What a difference a year makes, huh? I was scanning through titles on my library's digital audiobook catalog and stumbled upon Revolution again, but this time, I took the time to read the full description. I couldn't wait to stick it on my iPod. What struck me so differently this time? I have no idea, but I'm so glad that it worked out, because I absolutely loved this book.

The story follows Andi, a privileged girl who lives in Brooklyn, attending private school with the cast of Gossip Girl and only awkwardly getting along with any of them. She'd rather be playing her guitar, which she plays very, very well. In fact, music is her escape - from dealing with the sudden death of her brother, from her mother who has mentally slipped away from the world, from her father who has left them behind. So when her father drags her, kicking and screaming, to Paris (where he's going for work), it's no surprise that she'll do anything she can to get back home, even if that means working on her thesis (about a French musician) like her father wants. While she's pouting around the apartment they're staying in, she finds the journal of Alexandrine, a girl caught between the royals and the revolutionaries during the French Revolution - and that's when the story really starts to pull together.

Andi's voice is what really hooked me on the story. Since I was listening to the audiobook, it was like the story was being performed for me (one reader does Andi's part, including accents for the various characters, and another read's Alex's diary entries). But even now, flipping through the actual book to write this, Andi's voice jumps off the page. She feels like a real girl who has had to deal with things that no one should have to deal with (teen or not), and her being rich and privileged hasn't helped her one bit. She is in turns desperate, exhausted, exhilarated, suicidal, full of life, pouty, and a million other things (like most teens, in fact).

The story was mostly compelling. Like I said, Andi's voice kept things fresh and interesting for me. The segments that were Alex's diary entries lagged a little bit in comparison. (The might also have lagged because I find diary entries in general to be a bit of a cliche, but to be fair, they were used perfectly in this case.) Had I been reading the book instead of listening to it, though, I would have been able to skim through those bits and gone happily on my way.

I was very happy to find Donnelly's playlist on her website after finishing the book. Music plays so heavily into the story, and Andi name-checks all kinds of musicians and songs, so it was great to see them all listed (although the list seems awfully short, but I guess a lot of the songs were repeated over and over again in the book).

4/5 stars

Buy Revolution on Amazon
Buy Revolution at a local store through Indie Bound

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