Review: Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn
Title: Rebels by Accident
Author: Dunn, Patricia
Length: 274 pages
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher / Year: Alikai Press / 2012
Source: From the publicist for review.
Why I Read It: Dunn was an author included in the Love InshAllah anthology which I enjoyed.
Date Read: 17/07/12
Mariam is a young Arab-American who is ashamed of her heritage and culture, and even of herself for the way she looks. Growing up in an area and going to a school where she is one of the only children of an immigrant family, she has always felt like she was on her own and too different to fit in. These feelings and the bullying and teasing at school all led her to feeling ashamed and wishing she fit in. After a party in which she and her friend attended behind her strict parents backs, she and her friend are sent off to live with her grandmother in Cairo for a few months.
While in Cairo, Mariam has to learn to accept herself, her family, and her culture. She learns that things aren’t quite as simplistic as she thought, and she learns the importance of family, friends, and policies. While in Cairo the revolution is just starting, and she and her friend get caught up in the action.
I have to begin by saying that the book itself seemed incredibly unbelievable to me. How likely is it that two young school children (fifteen and sixteen) would be sent to Cairo and be allowed to miss months of school with the caveat that they would just have to keep up with emailed assignments and write a report at the end of the year? Maybe but… Also, the romance in the book was also a bit excessive.
That being said, Dunn does discuss what it is like to be the child of immigrants, to feel like you stand out, and to be ashamed of who you are. She covers some of the important history of the Egyptian revolution. We also see a bit in the book about why it is important to know what is going on in the world and how it can affect you, and to care about others. Although simplistic, the writing is still decent and the story remains engaging.
Recommended to those wishing to read something set in another part of the world, and who would like to learn a bit more about travel and culture, and about believing in and loving yourself. A good resource for young teens.