Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Date Published: October 12th, 2010
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. (GoodReads)
This is the second book I have read for the GoodReads Summer Reading Challenge. It meets the historical fiction category. I decided not to go in order because I have been waiting to read this one for so long! The idea weaving together the lives of two different girls in two different centuries seemed absolutely fascinating.
This book was unique and engaging. I found Andi's story very real. As a reader, I couldn't help feeling sorry for her. She has experienced so much guilt and grief with her younger brother's death, her parents separating, and her mother's mental state. At time Andi's character did come off very rude and vindicitve; however, it is important to keep in mind what she has gone through and that she is suicidal. Her father doesn't help the situation. Showing up out of nowhere and dragging her to Paris only creates more tension in the relationship. Instead of dealing with all the pain inside, Andi takes prescribed anti-depressants which only makes the pain go away for a little while. The only good thing that Andi has is her music.
Through her music she discovers Alex's diary. Each time Andi reads the diary, she becomes more engaged and more connected to Alex's life. A connection forms between the two that eventually leads to something very strange happening. This allows Andi to not only collect information to finish her paper (so she doesn't get expelled) and a make a discovery which is left unfinished in Alex's final diary entry.
The historical aspect of this novel was great. What a fun way to learn about the French Revolution. Donnelly definitely did her research! Through Alex's diary, Andi discovers the story of King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and their young son, Louis-Charles. The diary presents an action packed adventure of survival, as well as self-discovery.The parallel lives of the two girls is well done. The characters were very much alive in the story. The writing is very engaging and flowed, making the story easy to read (even if it was a little long). It is a great read for historical fiction fans and non-fans alike.