Best Book of March–Jennifer Donnelly’s “Revolution”

rev_coverIt has recently come to my attention–ie. I discovered the book sitting under a half-eaten, one pound box of Sees candy and an 2″ by 3″ acrylic box full of multi-colored standard sized paper clips–that when I returned home from spring break, I had forgotten to update my book list with the best book I read all the month of March: Jennifer Donnelly‘s Revolution.

I first encountered this book while shelving returns in the high school library where I worked. I immediately added it to what has already becoming a voluminous “Roberts’ Books I Want to Read” list. When I returned to work in September, now full-time at a different location, the Downtown Learning Center, I was delighted to find the book was on our shelves, too! However, I was in the middle of reading something else and figured I’d check Revolution out next.

Unfortunately, by the time I finished whatever it was I was engrossed in, a student had checked out Revolution. Phooey! I started reading something else, figuring when she turned in the book I’d check it our right away.

However, the school I work in is a GED center. Thus, our students graduate whenever they complete their last test. The reader of Revolution? She graduated in October, and evidently not finished with the book, it graduated with her.

Finally, this March, I got my hands on Revolution. As soon as I  began reading, I was hooked. This is a fabulous novel whose story follows the lives of two characters–Andi, in modern times and Alexandrine, a young woman who lived during the run-up to and aftermath of the French revolution. I’m not giving away anything. This information can be found in the front blurb.

Initially, being a historical fiction lover, I was a teeny-weeny bit disappointed that the first third of the novel was set in modern times. However, it was gripping, and I almost immediately cared about the main character and what she was dealing with in her life, so I was in no way reluctant to push on.

The second third of Revolution alternates back and forth between Andi and Alexandrine, and you grow to empathise with  the 18th century French girl as well. And the last third of the novel immerses Andi in Alexandrine’s world. The structure fascinated me, because as a writer, I have been drawn to ideas for novels that spanned two worlds or two time frames and had never  considered this kind of structure for executing them.

This novel is gripping–stay up way too late reading at night and hitting snooze multiple times each morning until the absolute last-minute to get up for work–gripping. I most definitely recommend you go acquire a copy of it now.