Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Revolution ~ Jennifer Donnelly (audio) review

Delacorte Books for Young Readers/Listening Library
October 12, 2010
472 pages/15 hours, 1 min
add to Goodreads/find on Audible/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

[paperback cover]
I don't always review the 'old' books I read, tending to focus more on upcoming/recent releases or those with sequels coming out. Some, however, just can't be ignored.

So, if you've already read this one ages ago, forgive me. If you haven't, here's an older book to consider.

From the synopsis available on Goodreads:
From the privileged streets of modern Brooklyn to the heart of the French Revolution, 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.

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.

Revolution was actually a book I kept thinking about and thinking about reading or listening to, but then never actually doing it. I'm not sure what pushed me to finally do it, but I'm so glad it did. I haven't read anything by Jennifer Donnelly before (though her other books are also on my 'to read' list) and was more than pleasantly surprised by Revolution.
Andi and her mother are in a troubled, seemingly codependent relationship with Andi's father mostly out of the picture, living his 'new' life. It's when he steps in and takes action that Revolution starts, but not when Andi begins to change.

That seems to being after she finds Alex's diary. Written during the throes of the French Revolution, the diary connects Andi to a girl from centuries ago. A girl that soon seems not that from her. Andi lost her brother and it's still tearing her up while, in the days of the diary at least, Alex is getting closer to a boy the same age.
[hardcover & usual audio cover]

The parallels Donnelly drew between Andi and Alex, both the more obvious ones and those that took a little more time to see, were brilliant. It made Andi's pain that much more real, for her and readers but also made Alex come alive more.

Despite the similarities in the girls lives, relationships, their stories did stay very separate and I kept waiting for what would bring finally overlap the two timelines. Things came together differently than I was expecting yet I like the way that it all happened. Especially the end end.

Deeper and so much better than I expected Revolution was a fantastic audio book listen. The narrators for both Alex and Andi do a great job. The narration of Alex's part is done with a French accent, obviously, but it's not one that interferes with understanding the reading. (I've listened to -- or tried listening to -- an audio book before where the narrator had overdone accent, not their natural one, that was distracting).

My only real issue with the audio is that Emily Janice Card's narration of Andi is a bit louder than Emma Bering's narration of Alexandrine. It's not much, but it is noticeable.

Rating: 9/10 ~ a definite audio listen

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