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. – Goodreads.com
The story being told from a young adult perspective is what intrigued me about this book. Laila is only 15-years-old, but has already experienced horrible circumstances in her young life that most of us only see on the news.
I had my ups and downs with this book. When Laila discovered the truth about her “king” father, I sympathized with her struggle to see him through different eyes and how something that earth shattering could be almost unbelievable for her. Her moral compass seemed to be pointing in the right direction and I liked that she took initiative in trying to do the right thing, despite being just a teenager. Seeing America and American teenagers through her eyes was a little jarring for me at times, but when I stopped to think about it, some of her observations were very insightful.
On the other hand, I don’t think Laila made a sincere effort to assimilate. She obviously had a lot going on in her personal life, yet she never really tried to make friends and was self-centered to the point that I found it difficult to like her sometimes. Her moods turned on a dime so that she almost seemed to be two different people. With the exception of Ian, the American teenagers were portrayed as very frivolous and spoiled. Yes, this could be an accurate description of some teens, but as I’m around teenagers a good percentage of the time, I felt it was an unfair stereotype and rather one-dimensional.
I enjoyed the author’s style of straightforward writing and thought the story moved along very well. Although I’m not sure of the appeal this book will have to its intended YA audience, I would recommend it to teens in order to gain a broader perspective of the world outside their own.
Even though book wasn’t my typical choice of reading, I’m glad I stepped out of the box and read this book. The Tyrant’s Daughter is scheduled for publication February 11, 2014.
This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.