This is an interesting and enlightening read for middle schoolers through adults. It has some excellent insights into human motives and behavior in community. It’s an eyeopener for those of us who have lived all our lives in the shelter of the US and our limited exposure to the realness of the world. Here’s the summary:
A family has been abruptly transplanted from an unnamed Middle Eastern country after the assassination of the head of the family. They are living in a small apartment barely above the poverty level in New York City. Laila, the tyrant’s daughter, and her mother and brother have been given asylum in the US. The story follows two paths, one of intrigue as she explores and discovers who her father was to the outside world and becomes involved in a political plot that will include their return to their own country. The parallel story involves her reaction and acclimation into a very different world for young women in this country. Suddenly she finds herself free to wear modern clothing and attend school dances with classmates. She develops a crush on a young man and even experiences her first kiss. Wiser than her years, and involved but not completely understanding the scheme to get back home, she breaks off the relationship. She researches in the library to find out who her father really was and what happened. Her discovery of who murdered her father and the persons involved in the plot changes her world view forever. She is no longer the carefree teenager exploring her identity as a young woman and accepts her fate as her mother prepares to pack and leave for “home”. The story provides a new and fresh perspective on the impact of the political conflicts of the waring parties in countries far from our understanding and the humanity of those who are often portrayed as evil tyrants.