Title: Rebels By Accident
Author: Patricia Dunn
Genre: Realistic Fiction, contemporary, romance
Publisher: Alikai Press (I received and eARC from NetGalley)
Publication Date: August 2012
Rating: 3.5 stars
Synopsis (from goodreads):
The storm is coming!A Troubled Teen Sent to Cairo Finds Revolution is Everywhere, Including in Ourselves
When my first party ends in jail, I think things can’t possibly get worse. But then my parents send me to my grandmother in Cairo, and I’m sure my life is over. My sittu is Darth Vader’s evil sister, and I’m sure the only sites I’ll get to see in Egypt are the rooms in her apartment.
Turns out she’s not so bad. We ride camels by the pyramids and ice skate at a mall.
As Sittu says, “Sometimes a moment can change your life.” But it can change the life of a country too. When a girl named Asmaa calls the people of Egypt to protest, I find myself in the middle of a revolution, running from tear gas and guns.
Oh yeah, and I meet the cutest guy I’ve ever seen. Fall in love for the first time. And have my first kiss.
Mariam, an American teenager born to Egyptian parents, doesn’t feel like she fits in. The kids at school liken her family to terrorists despite the fact that Mariam doesn’t speak a word of Arabic and can remember ever visiting her parent’s homeland.
After sneaking out to go to a party and ending up locked up at the local police station, Mariam’s overprotective parents decide to send her to live with her grandmother, Sittu, in Egypt for a while. Mariam’s terrified of the stories her father has told her of his mother but at least she’ll have her best friend, Deanna – resident Egyptophile , to accompany her. But from the moment they touch down at the airport the two girls can sense that Egypt is very close to an uprising.
Thrust into a world of the unknown and amidst a political revolution, Mariam comes to grips with who she is – as a person, as an American and as a proud Egyptian woman.
I enjoyed getting to see Mariam grow from the timid teenager to a stronger and more mature young woman who knows who she is and starts to understand her place in the world.
From the time Mariam and Deanna arrive in Egypt to the time they leave it’s only five days. Five days… and most of them are spent in a hospital just waiting. And in that time they girls managed to fall in love for the first time, witness first hand an incredibly violent and devastating political demonstration, and develop a deep and strong relationship with Sittu – the grandmother that neither of them knew before boarding the plane in New York.
But it’s only as I reached the end of the book and it was stated that everything happened in less than a week that I realized what a short time their stay in Egypt really was. The author managed to write their story in such a way that it felt like no time had passed and at the same time like months had gone by.
Sittu was a standout character for me. She was a bizarre combination of old, wise grandmother combined with a strong woman who embraced change – both political and technological. I loved that she was in touch with social media like Facebook and Twitter. My own grandmother refuses to have the internet in her house.
I couldn’t quite understand why Mariam’s parents who were rather protective decided to send the two girls to a country who was on the verge of a political revolution… It really confounds me especially because of Mariam’s dad’s history but I understand it was necessary for them to do so in order for the rest of the novel to happen.
This book was an interesting read about a young woman’s coming to terms with her own identity set against Egypt’s revolution. There were a few too many coincidences at times but a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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