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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