Basic review: High school senior, Andi is failing. Failing out of school, failing to care for her mother, failing to maintain a relationship with her father, failing to let go of guilt. To help escape her self-destructive environment, her father, a Nobel Prize winning geneticist, brings her on a business trip to Paris where she must complete an outline for her senior thesis on the connections between a French composer and contemporary musicians. While researching, she stumbles upon a royal guitar, a secret compartment, and a diary of a young French girl caught up in the Revolution. Amongst her desperation to return to Brooklyn, her desire to finish her thesis, her desperate reading of an 18th Century diary, and her friction-filled relationship with her father, she discovers a loving relationship, her self-worth, her ability to move past grief and despair and ultimately her ability to heal.
This was the first novel I have read by Jennifer Donnelly. I just downloaded my next.
One of the things I adored about this book is how cleverly the author integrated contemporary themes, mostly music. During a tender moment, when Andi’s friend sings her a Tunisian lullaby, Ya Gamrat Layl, he tells her she should listen to it sung by Sonia Mbarek. I googled Sonia Mbarek and the title of the song. I fell in love with it. I am desperate to find the English translation of the lyrics. I have spent hours researching. If you know of a way to get the lyrics, please let me know!
* I was not paid or endorsed in any way for this review. It is simply my wish to share a book that touched my soul.