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Revolutionby Jennifer Donnelly
Synopses & Reviews
Those who can, do.
Those who can't, deejay.
Like Cooper van Epp. Standing in his room--the entire fifth floor of a Hicks Street brownstone--trying to beat-match John Lee Hooker with some piece of trip-hop horror. On twenty thousand dollars' worth of equipment he doesn't know how to use.
This is the blues, man he crows. It's Memphis mod. He pauses to pour himself his second scotch of the morning. It's like then and now. Brooklyn and Beale Street all at once. It's like hanging at a house party with John Lee. Smoking Kents and drinking bourbon for breakfast. All that's missing, all we need--
--are hunger, disease, and a total lack of economic opportunity, I say.
Cooper pushes his porkpie back on his head and brays laughter. He's wearing a wifebeater and an old suit vest. He's seventeen, white as cream and twice as rich, trying to look like a bluesman from the Mississippi Delta. He doesn't. He looks like Norton from The Honeymooners.
Poverty, Coop, I add. That's what you need. That's where the blues come from. But that's going to be hard for you. I mean, son of a hedge fund god and all.
His idiot grin fades. Man, Andi, why you always harshing me? Why you always so--
Simone Canovas, a diplomat's daughter, cuts him off. Oh, don't bother, Cooper. You know why.
We all do. It's getting boring, says Arden Tode, a movie star's kid.
And one last thing, I say, ignoring them, talent. You need talent. Because John Lee Hooker had boatloads of it. Do you actually write any music, Coop? Do you play any? Or do you just stick other people's stuff together and call the resulting calamity your own?
Cooper's eyes harden. His mouth twitches. You're battery acid. You know that?
I am. No doubt about it. I like humiliating Cooper. I like causing him pain. It feels good. It feels better than his dad's whiskey, better than his mom's weed. Because for just a few seconds, someone else hurts, too. For just a few seconds, I'm not alone.
I pick up my guitar and play the first notes of Hooker's Boom Boom. Badly, but it does the trick. Cooper swears at me and storms off.
Simone glares. That was brutal, Andi. He's a fragile soul, she says; then she takes off after him. Arden takes off after her.
Simone doesn't give a rat's about Cooper or his soul. She's only worried he'll pull the plug on our Friday-morning breakfast party. She never faces school without a buzz. Nobody does. We need to have something, some kind of substance-fueled force field to fend off the heavy hand of expectation that threatens to crush us like beer cans the minute we set foot in the place.
I quit playing Boom Boom and ease into Tupelo. No one pays any attention. Not Cooper's parents, who are in Cabo for the holidays. Not the maid, who's running around opening windows to let the smoke out. And not my classmates, who are busy trading iPods back and forth, listening to one song after another. No Billboard Hot 100 fare for us. We're better than that. Those tunes are for kids at P.S. Whatever-the-hell. We attend St. Anselm's, Brooklyn's most prestigious private school. We're special. Exceptional. We're supernovas, every single one of us. That's what our teachers say, and what our parents pay thirty thousand dollars a year to hear.
This year, senior year, it's all about the blues. And William
Brooklyn teen Andi acts out in her rage and grief over her younger brother's death to the point that she is forced to spend winter break with her estranged father in France; while in Paris, she discovers and becomes obsessed with a journal she finds that belonged to Alexandrine Paradis, an aspiring Parisian actress who lived two centuries earlier and who had a fateful encounter with the doomed French king and his young son. By the award-winning author of A Northern Light. 250,000 first printing.
An angry, grieving seventeen-year-old musician facing expulsion from her prestigious Brooklyn private school travels to Paris to complete a school assignment and uncovers a diary written during the French revolution by a young actress attempting to help a tortured, imprisoned little boy--Louis Charles, the lost king of France.
About the Author
Jennifer Donnelly is the author of two adult novels, The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose, as well as the young adult novel A Northern Light, winner of Britain’s prestigious Carnegie Medal, the L.A. Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature, and a Michael L. Printz Honor Award. She lives and writes full-time in upstate New York. You can visit her at www.jenniferdonnelly.com.
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