For me, one of the biggest challenges of reading YA fiction is the angst. I completely understand that angst is an important part of a teenager’s growth, but as I am not a teenager, I find it difficult to relate to a character who hates her life before she has even had a chance to live it.
At first, the main character of Revolution, Andi, seems like one of those angsty girls. She is surly, she hates her father, and is thinking about ending her life. However, there’s something different about her. Unlike most teenage characters whose dissatisfaction with life seems overly dramatic and self-centered, Andy has serious problems. Her brother died two years ago, when he was only 10 years old. Worst of all, Andi feels responsible for his death and can’t stop thinking about that fateful day when she might have been able to save him.
Andi is on the verge of losing it. She is on anti-depressants and doesn’t seem to care much about anything in her life except music. When her father needs to spend some time in Paris for work, Andi is dragged along against her will and embarks on an adventure that no only bridges cultures, but time periods as well.
This book is difficult to categorize. The beginning of the book reads like realistic fiction (if you can call borrowing Keith Richards’ guitar from a friend realistic). Shortly after Andi arrives in Paris, she finds the diary of a girl who lived in Paris during the French Revolution. Much of the middle section of the book is devoted to Alex’s storyline and Andi finds that despite living 200 years apart, the two of them have a lot in common. I would consider this portion of the book to be historical fiction.
The book takes a surprising turn towards the end. Andi somehow finds herself in 18th century France, talking with Malherbeau- the composer who she has been researching for her thesis. Did she travel back in time? Did she hallucinate it? The author wisely leaves this point ambiguous so the reader can make up his/her own mind.
Listening to this book adds another dimension to the story. Most of the story takes place in France, and although the characters speak in English, the French accent adds a lot to character development. I personally know very little about French, especially the pronunciation, so I found it very helpful to listen to this book. I could have muddled along on my own, but I wouldn’t have heard the French words correctly if I had read the book instead of listened.
I had originally intended to listen to this book in the car, but I ended up bringing it in each night so I could listen to another hour or so before I went to bed. For me, that’s the test of a good audiobook!
Recommendation: 4.5 out of 5 lupines