Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Jennifer Donnelly Book!

Here's a sneak peek:

Kira Porton, a buyer at A Children’s Place in Portland, Ore., recommends a new work of historical fiction for young adults.

I was a bit suspicious when I started reading Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution, since it starts out with a rich girl from Brooklyn who is depressed about her brother’s death, is showing signs of having suicidal thoughts, and is not doing well in school. So many novels begin with a similar premise and sometimes I feel as though I’m reading a book that I’ve read before. But I soon realized that this one has so much extra. The author keeps adding unexpected twists, trains of thought, and connections.

After putting his mentally ill artist wife in the hospital, Andi’s father takes her to Paris, where he is doing DNA research. There, he expects her to work on her senior thesis about a French composer from the past and how his music relates to modern-day music. She comes across an old guitar in a case that has a secret compartment where she finds a diary written by a girl 200 years earlier, during the French Revolution.

The author makes fascinating parallels between Andi and the girl who wrote the diary. The present and past are perfectly blended, especially the themes of Andi’s pain over her brother’s death and the brutality of events that happened during the Revolution. Sometimes when I read books in which the author tries to blend two time periods I find myself skimming through one part to get back to the other. But this author pulls it off so well. The novel delves so deep into emotions that sometimes I had to put the book down for a while because of all the sadness. And I mean that in a good way.

I will definitely handsell this to teens 14-up, and I already have kids in mind who will gobble it up. Even kids who don’t usually like historical fiction won’t be able to put Revolution down, especially given its great modern-day story. We do a lot of business with teachers and librarians and I can’t wait to get this into their hands, too. It is definitely one of those books that seem to have something for everyone.

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