Title: Rebels By Accident
Author: Patricia Dunn
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.
The main reason I decided to read this book and requested it at Netgalley was because of the storyline. As many of you well, should know –it is obvious – I am Egyptian. And I had spent some time in Egypt during the events of the 25th of January, but had to go visit my parents in Kuwait before it got dangerous. It was weird being so far from your family and friends and having no way to contact them, completely terrifying really, and not the holiday we’d all hoped for obviously. Let me tell you, watching from the sidelines was not fun. So I was intrigued, since the author did not appear to be Egyptian, and I had hoped it wasn’t one of those books where they just serve in stereotypes about Arabs whilst not knowing much about them. But this book was well researched and so I was glad for that.
This book is about Mariam, an Egyptian girl who was born in the States and thinks of it as home, hating everything that reminds her of her Egyptian background. That includes her name, her looks and her family's peculiar habits. She hates it all and longs to be freed of her dad's strict reign. Only, one day things go too far with her in a party she wasn't supposed to be at and as punishment, her father decides to send her to Egypt to stay with her grandmother for a bit with her bestfriend Deanna, there they both embark on a journey neither had ever anticipated. One where they join the point of anger a whole country faces, making them be a part of something big, and belonging in it.
One thing that bothered me was the part where the luggage was thrown on the floor. In Cairo there are 2 airports, they're called the new airport and the old airport. Never have I gone to either where your bags were just thrown on the floor for you to gather up.
Other than that, the book was great. I am one of those people whose parents weren't so fond of life in Egypt and decided to live abroad instead. Dad had a choice between France and Kuwait, and chose Kuwait because he wanted us to be raised in an Arab and Muslim country, so we had the values engraved in us as we grew up. Unfortunately for Mariam, her dad didn't make the same choice, causing the identity crisis and gap between the cultures to form an overload for her. In any other regard though we were the same, I never felt like I belonged in Egypt, I hated every minute of it and thought my parents absolutely overbearing. Frankly, I couldn't wait for the day to go out.
I really liked this part:
Deanna makes us take about a dozen pictures of her and the Sphinx from all different angles. Right profile. Left profile. Foot to paw. "I'm going to put these all over Facebook," Deanna says. "Didn't Beth - or was it Karen? - call me Sphinx Face?"
It was Karen. "They didn't mean it as a compliment, Deanna."
"Of course not. But I like it. Look how amazing this thing is," she says.
Why do I like this part? Because yes, the Sphinx is amazing! That's honestly how I felt like the first time I saw him, I was so enthralled and in awe of him I had to be practically dragged away. See the photo? That honestly did happen!
I am so glad to have read a book that put a new perspective on people during the revolution, especially from a non-Egyptian. I could relate so much to Mariam, and the only time I ever felt like belonging to Egypt were in those moments of the revolution, one where we were all united with hopes of a better future. I enjoyed the thorough research, the plausible scenarios, and the use of Arabic -especially colloquial- in the book, it added an extra charm to it.
Long story short, a journey of a girl searching to find a meaning in life, fitting in to an aspect of her life she'd never thought possible, and growing up.
I enjoyed this book very much and would absolutely recommend it.
(To be honest I am not sure if this is only an ebook copy of the book or a paperback, but both ways an interesting read!)