The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson is the story of 15-year-old Laila, who has been torn from her home country by CIA operatives. Where Laila is from is never disclosed; however, it is hinted that it is in the Middle East. Laila believes she is from a royal family and her father has been assassinated; however, the reality is much darker than she could have ever imagined. As she begins to assimilate to her new environment and new school, Laila begins to become suspicious of who she is and of what her mother is doing with rebels from her home country and the CIA walking in for information every chance they get. Not knowing what to believe Laila begins to research her country, her father, and the acts of violence committed by those that she has loved and thought to be good people.
I really liked this concept. I believe it is important for outsiders to understand what the Middle East looks like to someone coming from there. We, as Americans, can sometimes judge too harshly and too quickly about other countries’ customs and traditions. Also, as an educator I find that children of this generation have a very small amount of knowledge about the Middle East and the wars that our country has fought over there. It’s important for YA novels to give light to circumstances or issues of the real world, especially if they are engaging to the audience. As part of World Literature, students need to broaden their horizon with literature from other countries. One particular unit deals with the Middle East, and I find that this would be a great supplemental resource for avid readers and even students who are not avid readers but are interested in how children from the Middle East view their own world and us, as well.
4 out of 5 stars. Thank You Edelweiss.