Rebels by Accident

Rebels by Accident
Age Range
Release Date
December 02, 2014
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Mariam Just Wants to Fit In. That's not easy when she's the only Egyptian at her high school and her parents are super traditional. So when she sneaks into a party that gets busted, Mariam knows she's in trouble...big trouble. Convinced she needs more discipline and to reconnect with her roots, Mariam's parents send her to Cairo to stay with her grandmother, her sittu. But Marian's strict sittu and the country of her heritage are nothing like she imagined, challenging everything Mariam once believed. As Mariam searches for the courage to be true to herself, a teen named Asmaa calls on the people of Egypt to protest their president. The country is on the brink of revolution—and now, in her own way, so is Mariam.

Editor review

1 review
Rebels by Accident
(Updated: April 05, 2015)
Overall rating
Writing Style
Fifteen-year-old Miriam hates being the only Egyptian in her school. She longs to fit in and not have to hear yet another mean comment thrown her way. Then she goes to a party only to get busted and sent to jail. She knows she's in trouble with her ultra strict parents but nothing prepares her for her punishment--being sent to Egypt to stay with her scary sittu--grandmother. What happens next has her confront her fears about her heritage and being true to herself.

What worked: I'm a huge fan of books that have diversity in them and this one fits that bill. I have an Egyptian national brother-in-law, who dealt with many of the issues brought up in this novel-discrimination, fear, and hatred from others-for being a Muslim male. The hateful words flung Miriam's way sound so familiar like her uncle being Bin Laden. Those issues were very realistic and right on the mark.

Miriam only wants to fit in her school and not hear the many nasty comments that are attacks against her culture and religion. Dunn does a good job showing Miriam's struggles and inter conflict with her Egyptian heritage.

I liked how Miriam perceptions about Egypt and her grandmother are shattered once she gets there. I loved the relationship between these two as readers get a glimpse into the lives of Egyptians right before the revolution. I heard of them first hand from my brother-in-law who has extended family living outside of Cairo but I'm sure others might not have known some of the hardships that everyday Egyptians faced.

I also liked the spunk of her BFF Deanna, who had her own challenges with a facial deformity but her personality and upbeat behavior kind of balanced out Miriam's own.

What I had problems with had to be some of the dialogue that read like someone was reading from a textbook. More than a few times it felt stilted and not authentic. This is turn slowed the otherwise engaging story line down.

One big thing for me was the revolution scene. It was intriguing for Deanna to be a part of it but I wanted Miriam there. This very pivotal scene felt lightly brushed over with only a few mentions of the atrocities committed by that government. I'm not sure if that was the intent or not?

Also it was really hard to believe the Insta romances with the Egyptian boys that only reinforced a borderline cliche and aren't a true reflection of most Egyptian males. And the abrupt ending I felt could have been fleshed out more. As it was I felt the story rushed through some key moments that could have added more to this story. But that's just me.

A coming of age tale that gives readers a glimpse into the Egyptian revolution as seen through the eyes of a teen confronting her own inner battles and how she's able to make peace with not only that but embrace her culture.

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