Two very different books: a fun contemporary and a serious historical fiction. They both have music, good characters, and engaging stories. Welcome to Revolution by Jennifer Donnell and Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John.
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.
Five Flavors of Dumb:
The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.
The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band's manager and get her share of the profits.
The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she's deaf?
Piper can't hear Dumb's music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb.
Why I Liked Them:
The characters. Both of these books have strong female leads, and both of these girls grow over the course of the book. Both Andi and Piper felt very real, and their struggles felt very real. Although they both have faults, they were both able to make me love them. All of the supporting characters are very well done - I loved Piper's brother and Andi's friends.
The music. Piper becomes the manager of a high school rock band, Andi is a musician. I think music must be one of those things that's hard to write about; it's so auditory, and when you're reading you don't get that sense. Both of these books incorporate music very well. It's more present in Revolution because music is so important to Andi, but I loved watching Piper discover it through Five Flavors of Dumb.
The relationships. Piper and Andi each have a love interest, but the romance doesn't dominate the story. I liked that they feel like actual relationships - the guys aren't just there to kiss the girls. Neither Revolution or Five Flavors of Dumb are "love stories." The relationships work with the story to create two really enjoyable books.
The stories. Five Flavors of Dumb is a fun read. Piper is a witty and fun narrator, and her story was really enjoyable. Revolution is a much more serious story. (It's about the French Revolution - not really a happy topic.) As I got farther into the book I found it harder to stop reading - the story captivated me.
So far, these are my two favorite reads of Christmas break.
What are you reading?