Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn - Review, Giveaway and Guest Post!

Happy Tuesday!

Welcome to my stop at the Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn blog tour! The tour is organized by JKSCommunications and by the author Patricia Dunn. My stop includes a review, guest post by Patricia Dunn and a giveaway!

Before we start with the review, I would like to say, that I am very happy I decided to read Rebels by Accident. I have visited Egypt four times during the last year and I find its people and history very fascinating. Patricia Dunn has besides writing a good YA novel also given a good short insight into Egypt.

Paperback, $12.95
ISBN: 978-0-9854921-2-0
eBook, $9.99
ISBN: 978-0-9854921-5-1
Young Adult, 290 pages
Alikai Press, Aug. 16, 2012

A Troubled Teen Sent to Cairo Finds Revolution is Everywhere, Including in Ourselves

When my first party ends in jail, I think things can’t possibly get worse. But then my parents send me to my grandmother in Cairo, and I’m sure my life is over. My sittu is Darth Vader’s evil sister, and I’m sure the only sites I’ll get to see in Egypt are the rooms in her apartment.

Turns out she’s not so bad.

We ride camels by the pyramids and ice skate at a mall. As Sittu says, “Sometimes a moment can change your life.” But it can change the life of a country too. When a girl named Asmaa calls the people of Egypt to protest, I find myself in the middle of a revolution, running from tear gas and guns.

Oh yeah, and I meet the cutest guy I’ve ever seen. Fall in love for the first time. And have my first kiss.

My review:

The blurb seemed really interesting and caught my attention right away. So did the book itself. Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn is a very good YA novel; it is well written has very likable characters and touches important issues like coming of age, religion, family. It is easy to read and after you have turned the last page, you keep wanting more!


The book starts with 15-years old girl Mariam being arrested on a party, having a conversation with her best friend Deanna. You quickly find out, that Mariam is American of Egyptian origin who got to go to her first party secretly without her parents knowing about it. As a result of her actions, her parents decide to send her to Cairo, Egypt to learn how to behave properly as a young Muslim woman.

Mariam is mortified by her parents' decision and on her way to Cairo it seems that she hates everything about being a Muslim, being Egyptian, speaking Arabic language. It's her way to rebel against the school harassment and against her parents, she wants nothing to do with her heritage and religion, she just wants to be American.

As the story develops you find out, that Mariam's grandmother - Sittu - is not as bad as it sounded and Mariam and Sittu are quickly creating a very strong bond with each other. Besides that, she discovers, that Egypt is different of what she has imagined: parts of it are much better and parts of it are much worse. She finds new friends, a new country to care about and last, but not least, her roots.

The plot was fascinating, well created and quickly paced. The on thing which I missed though was better insight into the revolution in Egypt and its part in the plot. I do understand why the author did not emphasize it more and it is quite difficult to incorporate the revolution into YA novel, but I felt that this part of the book had a too sudden end to it. I wanted more! I was in Cairo few weeks after the revolution and I think that the author did a wonderful job to mirror, what happened with people and their country during the revolution.


I really liked Mariam! I think that is due to the way author described her. Mariam had her insecurities and doubts about who she is and in the beginning of the story she really struggled to be like others. When she travelled to Cairo, she started to grow into a young woman knowing what she wants and how she wants it. What is even more important she found her roots and dealt with the fact that she is American Muslim and this is how she wants to be.

Deanna, Mariam's best friend, was so lively and energetic, that it scared me! :) She could be severely annoying and stubborn like teenagers are, but she had a heart of gold. She was a sweet girl and I think her curiosity, enthusiasm and stubbornness leaded her into serious lessons she learned on the Tahrir Square.

My favorite character in the book was Mariam's grandmother - Sittu. I adored that woman! I was happy that she was not made into a stereotypical Muslim grandmother, who forced Mariam into her decisions, but that she was well-educated, smart, modern and I loved she had a Facebook account (which not many women especially in her age use in Egypt)! I think that the advices (sic!) what she gave to Mariam helped her to become to a strong minded young woman.


I highly recommend Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn!

5 Flowers!
5 stars.

Thanks goes to JKSCommunications and to the author Patricia Dunn for providing me with the review copy!

About the author:

Patricia Dunn’s debut novel, Rebels By Accident (Aug. 16, 2012, Alikai Press) tells the story of a troubled teen sent to Cairo who finds revolution is everywhere, including in ourselves.

Dunn was the managing editor of Muslimwakeup.com, America’s most popular Muslim online magazine from 2003-2008. She has an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College where she also teaches.

Her writing has appeared in Global City Review, where she edited the post-9-11 International Issue. Salon.com, Women’s eNews, The Christian Science Monitor, The Village Voice, The Nation, L.A. Weekly and other publications have featured her writing.

Her work is anthologized in Stories of Illness and Healing: Women Write Their Bodies, from Kent State University Press (2006); Progressive Muslim Identities: Personal Stories From the U.S. and Canada, Muslim Progressive Values; and most recently in the bestselling anthology, Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women, Soft Skull Press. She is featured on WISE Muslim Women.

Dunn was raised in the Bronx, became a political activist while living in Los Angeles, has traveled throughout the Middle East, and lived in Jordan and Egypt before settling back down in New York where she lives with her teenage son and her toddler dog.


Twitter: @shewrites


And now, ladies and gentlemen, a giveaway!

What can you win this time?

Me and Reading is lucky to be able to give away one copy of Rebels by Accident! There will be 1 winner who will receive 1 e-copy of Rebels by Accident.

Giveaway details:

In order to enter you have to leave a comment by answering the question below the guest post. Please don't forget to write your name and email, so I can contact you in case you are picked!

I would also appreciate, if you visited Patricia Dunn's homepage: http://www.patriciadunnauthor.com/
and Liked her FB page: http://www.facebook.com/RebelsByAccident
If you did that, please add that to your comment too!
This giveaway is open internationally and it runs from today until the midnight of 19th of August.

Good luck and enjoy the guest post below!

Rebels By Accident: Inspiration and Hope
by Patricia Dunn

A year ago last fall a kid on the bus told my son to go back to where he came from. When my son said that he was born in New York, right there in the same town they were driving through, the kid said, “Well, all you Muslims should just leave.” My son, who is very secure in his identity as a Muslim-American told the kid that there where millions of Muslims in this country and this is where they come from. The kid shouted something about terrorism and on the way off the bus he hit my son on the back of the head.

My son was angry but I also could see he was sad. He’s a child who has watched Jon Stewart since he was eight, so he's always been aware of how people are discriminated against in this country. But he'd never had it hit home so hard before. He has been very involved with organizations at his school that help students educate themselves and others about issues that mean a lot to them.

In this spirit I wrote Rebels by Accident. The journey of an Egyptian-Muslim-American teen who, in our post 9-11 world, is very disconnected from her culture, and how she finally figures out what it means to be Egyptian and American. I also wanted to tell a love story. Not just the girl meets boy story, but a story that also includes falling in love with a place and a people, and friends and family.

Today my son does a lot of work to educate other students about Muslims but also about the Lesbian, Gay and Transgender communities, too. What it comes down to, as Ali says, is giving people information so they don’t go hurting others because their ignorance makes them scared. I hope Mariam's journey helps Muslim teens, like my son, or any teens that have ever been bullied or ostracized because of others' ignorance, understand that they are okay and it’s the bullies who need to change.

My greatest hope is that Rebels by Accident will inspire readers to embrace difference and not fear it. There is so much cool stuff we can learn from others that helps us to gain a deeper understanding of the world and ourselves. After all we are all more alike than we think. We all cry and laugh and fall in love and get our hearts broken. And most of us still manage to fall in love again.

As Ali says, "Our voice does make a difference. We can change this world for the better!" It starts with knowing and accepting ourselves. We can change the world, one action, one story, one book at a time.

Thank you so much for the guest post, Patricia! It is appreciated!

What do you think? Can a book, a voice, a song, an action, a single person make a difference? To enter the giveaway, please answer in the comments.

BTW, my short answer to that question is yes. :)

Details on the Tour: http://www.jkscommunications.com/virtual-book-tour-for-patricia-dunns-rebels-by-accident/

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for taking the time read and review my book. It means a lot. I love your blog. Thanks for inspiring all of us to read more!