The Tyrant’s Daughter – J.C. Carleson.

5/5 stars.

The Tyrant’s Daughter is, I think, a very timely novel. Here in the States, in the Land of Plenty, we are usually so very far removed from what war-torn countries go through each and every day. This novel brings all of this closer to home, through the eyes of Laila, a dictator’s 15-year-old daughter who immigrated to the US from an unnamed country with her mother and younger brother, after her father was killed.

The webs of deceit and treachery that weave themselves throughout the novel are not far off from the truth of what happens in countries like Iraq. The images painted in The Tyrant’s Daughter are amazingly worded and very, very haunting. This is a book that will stay with me for some time, I believe, and I will also not hesitate to reread it. I do not reread many books, simply because I have so many to read, but this novel was so well-written, so engrossing, and so haunting that it is worth rereading many times.

Although it is a YA novel, I believe that adults could learn much from reading this as well. It describes what the US is like for an immigrant – and right now, when immigrants, legal or illegal, are more common than ever, this is something important for Americans to understand. Laila struggles with fitting in at her high school for the brief time that she is in the States – she cannot fathom the lives of her classmates, so fanciful, so wealthy. Even though she is of “royal” blood, the wealthy in her country have next to nothing compared to the wealthy in the States.

I feel as though I learned a lot, too, from reading Ms. Carleson’s words. I cannot say it enough – this is a very, very timely novel, in today’s world where international violence is so common. I feel lucky to have been able to read it.

Many thanks to Random House Children’s, through NetGalley, for an opportunity to read and review this book.

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So it’s 2014!!

What are you all looking forward to in this year, still so new that it is squeaking as each day passes?

I know I’m looking forward to a lot of things.  Fall will be “the beginning of the end” – my final year as a grad student.  In about a year and a half, assuming everything goes as planned, I will be graduating with my MSW.  I am so excited about this.  It feels like finally maybe my life can begin – I mean, I know that it has begun and is going on all around me right now – but I haven’t ever had a job in the field that interests me.  Also, we are being hammered with adult things like bills – but without the fulfillment of having jobs we love.  Hopefully that will happen in 2015.  But that is still a year off yet – I was asking you guys what you’re looking forward to this year, and I need to answer my own question!! 😉

I’m looking forward to summer – who doesn’t, especially with the temperature having been as low as it has been (-35’F was logged in a town near me with windchill), and all of the snow/rain, depending on where you live.  But summer – besides being a time of warmer temps and sunshine – is also the only time in the next year and a half that I won’t have an internship to go to, and the only time that I’ll be taking one class at a time instead of two.  So, presuming that things this summer go like they did last summer – online classes, namely – I will have more time to read!!  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the internship I am currently at, and I am looking forward to having a more clinically based one in my final year, but it is also nice having a break from all of the structure.

And books!!  What books are you guys looking forward to seeing published in 2014?  I have to admit that I haven’t really been keeping up with what is to be published this year, but I do know that Winter by Sierra Dean is being published this month (!!!) and I really want to read that, since it’s the sequel to Autumn, which I read and reviewed here sometime last year.  And I also want to manage to get my hands on a copy of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (even though that was published last year, I believe) since I so adored Eleanor & Park.  I’ve also heard that Courtney Summers is a good YA author, so I should probably try some of her books as well, if I am going to be dipping into YA more. (I love the genre – it makes me feel younger, which is usually welcome. :D) Also, I want to read more of Sarah Dessen books that I own. 🙂

More immediately, I am looking forward to the return of writing group. 😀 It starts the second week of classes, but man, I have missed the women in it, including my mentor.  It will be good to be back.  I just hope I can make myself do the edits on some of my poems, since I currently have a sheaf of scribbled on copies of poems that I brought to the meetings last year (how odd to say that when I just mean last fall…) to be critiqued, sitting on top of my defunct printer.  I don’t want to lose those poems, because I want to make sure to edit them, obviously, but for some reason I am finding it very difficult to just sit down and work on editing them, although it would certainly be easier than sitting here and agonizing over losing the sheaf.  I am such a strange person, sometimes.  My husband would agree, for sure. 😉

Now, your turn.  What are the top 3 things you’re looking forward to this year (if you can narrow it down so)? 😀