cover image My Own Revolution

My Own Revolution

Carolyn Marsden. Candlewick, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5395-8

In contemporary and historical novels like The White Zone, Starfields, and Take Me with You, Marsden has offered intimate glimpses of cultures around the world as seen through the eyes of children. Her first book for teens is no different, detailing the tumultuous life of 13-year-old Patrik, who lives under the repressive Communist regime in 1960s Czechoslovakia. Patrik and his friends rebel against authority in small (but still dangerous) ways— defacing Communist slogans, buying black market Beatles records, and urinating on a statue of Lenin—but after Patrik recklessly burns a flag at the May Day parade, his entire family is put at risk. Marsden palpably depicts the paranoia of the time and the stress Patrik’s family is under; there’s an unremitting tension to the second half of the story as they make plans to flee the country. It’s an entirely believable portrait of a boy whose daily life is divided between normal teenage concerns—like winning the girl of his dreams and improving his photography skills—and worries about his very uncertain future. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Oct.)