by Jennifer Donnelly
Published by: Random House Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Big Themes: French Revolution, Music, Depression, Guilt, Antiques/Artifacts, Time Travel
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.
What I Loved:
Music. I actually learned a lot about the history of music composition through this book. It was fascinating to learn about how modern music was influenced by composers of the past. And that certain rhythms of music were seen as “naughty” in the past.
French Revolution. The half of the book that took place in the French Revolution was my favorite part of the book. I loved hearing what life was like and the story of the little prince. Donnelly really describes this period with incredible detail. I felt like I had traveled back in time!
The Research. The amount of research Donnelly must have done to so seamlessly blend the present, the French Revolution, and music composition–WOW. As a writer myself, it truly blew my mind how each component worked so well together and all the research Donnelly must have done to pull this off.
The protagonist’s depression and guilt was hard to get through. But I absolutely loved the parts about the French Revolution (so fascinating!), and I loved the use of music in the story. Jennifer Donnelly is fast becoming a favorite author for me!