Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Series: Stand Alone
Published: July 26, 2011 by Random House
Description: Two girls, two centuries and an ocean apart, are thrust together in this gripping novel by the award-winning author of A Northern Light. Brooklyn high school student Andi Alpers feels at the end of several tethers when her father rescues her for a winter break excursion to France. When the ever-curious Andi discovers the ragged journal of an ill-fated Parisian actress, she falls under its thrall. When that emotional connection jolts into the presence, Alpers matures in sudden, unexpected ways.
I Give This ...
I've wanted to read this for awhile, but I think I was hesitate because it deals with the French Revolution. I haven't been overly impressed with what I've read concerning that time period so far. Honestly, I think this was the voice that I had been missing all along.
I initially had a hard time getting into the book. The beginning is really slow and I was wondering if I was missing something everyone else picked up on. But, the minute Andi arrives in Paris, I was hooked. It was like Andi needed the change of scenery to being to live again. Donnelly really manages to bring Paris to life for me. It's not the everyday tourist locations in this story. It's Paris as the French see it (both in the past and the present). I loved the parts with the catacombs. I confess I don't know much about them and they sound fascinating.
Andi herself was an interesting character. I've read other books were the character is depressed and even ones that are slightly suicidal. Andi takes all of this to a brand new level. I really felt her despair. I might not have agreed with her thought processes sometimes, but I understood what lead her there. I loved watching her interact with Virgil. It's one of the most subtle and sweetest romances I've seen in YA fiction. Their connections through music was awesome! It was great to see Andi open up to someone. She's closed herself off for too long.
I think my favorite parts were the voice of Alex through her diaries. She's what I had been missing in those stories about the French Revolution. I think she truly lived in the horror of it. She saw both sides and knew the fine line she was walking. But, she also cared for the Royal Family and especially the young dauphin. In the end she was willing to risk her life to show him that there was someone out there who still cared about him. Her story was really touching.
I'm a music and history person, so this really was the right combination for me. I didn't tear through it like I normally do a 5 star book. But, the story touched me and it's one that I likely won't forget anytime soon.