My rating: 4 of 5 stars
From a former CIA officer comes the riveting account of a royal Middle Eastern family exiled to the American suburbs.
When her father is killed in a coup, 15-year-old Laila flees from the war-torn middle east to a life of exile and anonymity in the U.S. Gradually she adjusts to a new school, new friends, and a new culture, but while Laila sees opportunity in her new life, her mother is focused on the past. She’s conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to regain the throne their family lost. Laila can’t bear to stand still as an international crisis takes shape around her, but how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations?
J.C. Carleson delivers a fascinating account of a girl—and a country—on the brink, and a rare glimpse at the personal side of international politics.*Bonus Backmatter includes a note about the author's CIA past, and a commentary by RAND researcher and president of ARCH International, Dr. Cheryl Benard. Recommendations for further reading are also included.
J.C. Carlson brought a young adult novel and made it into a educational read for all ages. Bringing this into high schools around the country would open up doors and windows into the world of the middle east. Our children would be discussing cultural and political differences, which are HUGE! It would bring a little more understanding and empathy to those who live here in the US as well. Ignorance is what brings hate and fear. Sharing things like this book with our children would educate as well as entertain, but most importantly get them interested in our political world.
Some parts of this book were difficult to read just because of the violence toward women and the reality of the world they live in daily. The main character, Laila, won my heart immediately. Manipulation, bribery, and betrayal were a heartbreaking world to wake up to... being so young and sheltered, then given the freedom to explore and learn truths about her father and mother.
One thing that I admired about Carleson, was she didn't pinpoint a country, or last name to the characters. She made it a generalization yet making it a real place.
I would highly recommend this book to everyone over the age of 14 due to the violence and politics.
Please read this and pass it on! It is a subject that needs to be brought to light, especially to our youth!
Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for the ARC of this book.
My brother is the king of Nowhere.
This fact doesn't matter to anyone except my family- a rapidly shrinking circle of Used to Be. And, even for us, there are surprisingly few perks. And now we sit in our airless apartment, curtains closed against the outside world, pretending.
My Mother pretends that nothing has changed.
She is good at this charade. Her every gesture oozes money and power now long gone. They wouldn't let her take her closets full of designer clothes when we left our country, but she still spends hours on her appearance- pretending that photographers might still want to take pictures of her every outing, even dressed as she is now in J.C. Penny sale-rack clothes and drugstore lipstick. Pretending her old life didn't die along with my father.
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