Monday, January 24, 2011

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Ever since her younger brother's death, Andi and her parents have been swallowed by grief. Her father, a Nobel winning DNA scientist, is as consumed with his work as ever and has moved on with a new girlfriend. Her mother, an artist, paints portriats of Turman all day and night, commenting that she can never get the color of his eyes right. Andi is a senior at a prestigious Brooklyn prep school. She is gifted both academically and as a guitartist, but is failing out of school over her guilt in Truman's death. When her father finds out from the school that Andi hasn't started her senior thesis, he encounters a house filled with grief. He checks her mother into a mental hospital for treatment and takes Andi with him to Paris where he is going to be working on a project and she can begin her thesis outline.

Andi and her father go to stay with his college roommate, G, who is a world famous expert on the French Rvolution. G is looking for the financial backing to start a museum on the Revolution and has brought in Andi's famous father to help him on a gentic experiment. G wishes to do DNA testing on what is believed to be the heart of Louis-Charles, the son of King Louis XVI and Marie Antionette. When Andi sees pictures of the heart encased in its glass urn and a portriat of the ten year old heir, she immediately thinks of Truman. The resembalance is uncanny. G allows her to play an expensive antique guitar that he illegally purchased from someone who found it in the catacombs beneath Paris. Andi is thrilled to be playing such a fine guitar. In looking at it's case, she realizes that the lock is broken and begins to work on opening it. In a last ditch effort to free the lock, the key Andi keeps around her neck falls from her shirt. The key belonged to Truman and Andi has worn it since his death. She tries it in the lock and it works. When the bottom opens, Andi thinks she has broken the case but soon realizes that it has a false bottom. In it she finds a miniature portriat of Louis-Charles and a diary written during the Revolution.

Soon Andi is drawn into the diary of a young girl named Alex who was the companion for Louis-Charles. The diary is her way to get his story to the public but was lost for the past 200 years. Between working on her thesis outline and reading the diary, Andi meets a handsome young taxi driver who is an aspiring musician. She soon finds herself falling in love with Virgil but is terrified by becoming close to someone after walling herself and her emotions off from the rest of the world.

Will Andi be able to pick up the pieces of her life and resolve her feelings of guilt over Truman's death? Can she repair her broken relationship with her father and manage to write her thesis? Is Andi capable of revealing herself not only to Virgil but herself? And what will happen to Alex in the diary and the mysterious Louis-Charle? Does the story end well for either girl?

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