February 4, 2014

The Tyrant’s Daughter by C.J. Carleson: Book Review

tyrants daughter Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: February 11th, 2014 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Series: Stand-alone
Source: Netgalley, thanks!
(this does not affect my opinion of the book, all opinions are my own)

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. (via goodreads)

My Thoughts: While The Tyrant’s Daughter may sound like a political novel, it is ultimately the story of a teenage girl struggling to fit in and attempt to have a normal life. After moving to America, Leila struggles to make sense of what really happened in her home country while attempting to fit in. It was interesting to see how Leila’s perception of her father changed as she left the country. The author’s note describes where the idea came from and it was just phenomenal to see how it played out.

In general, I am not one for mystery or political novels but despite that, I really enjoyed The Tyrant’s Daughter. Everything that happened was well explained so I never felt out of the loop, which is something that worried me going into the book. The plot flowed smoothly and I really enjoyed it. I also really liked the family dynamic. YA novels are seriously missing out when it comes to family and I really liked that The Tyrant’s Daughter was centered around Leila’s family life, it was great. Besides the family dynamic, Leila’s friends are also a big part of the novel. The friendships she made were important and it was awesome to read about. We also have CIA agents, annoying little kid brothers and worrying moms mixed in as well which I find quite awesome.

Another thing I liked was that the romance wasn’t a big part of the plot, at all! I was worried that the book would turn over in the “only my true love can help me” direction but nothing of the sort (at all) happened. I also really enjoyed the ending. The ending wrapped up the story nicely but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I wanted to read more. Overall, The Tyrant’s Daughter is an interesting story about discovering yourself and the importance of family. I highly recommend it if you are looking for an interesting contemporary YA novel. four stars Have you read The Tyrant’s Daughter? What did you think of it? If you haven’t read it, is it being added to your TBR pile? Let me know!

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