My brother the king does not like that he has to share a bedroom with me.
I don’t like it either. So I pretend he’s not there. I ignore his king-sized tantrums and the dirty royal socks that he leaves on my bedspread. I pretend not to hear him when he tells me what to do.
“Mom!” Bastien shouts. “Laila isn’t obeying me. Tell her she has to obey. I’m the king!” He pouts in a very regal way.
Around the lunch table everyone seems to have given something up – dairy, meat, gluten, sugar, carbs. Only in a land of plenty could people voluntarily go without so much.The Tyrant’s Daughter (J. C. Carleson)
Laila is a princess. Her little brother, six-year-old Bastien, is next in line for the throne. Or so she thinks. It’s what she’s been lead to believe her entire life. But when her father, leader of an unnamed Middle Eastern country, is assassinated, Laila’s world is turned upside down. The CIA relocates her, Bastien, and their mother to the US, where they are expected to assimilate into the completely foreign culture.
In America, Laila lives a different life. The palace she had lived in is replaced with a tiny apartment. The servants bringing her food have been replaced with empty cupboards. Her private tutors have been replaced with public school. Back home, she was royalty. In America, her family can’t even keep up with the rent.
Laila thought she knew everything, but she had been sheltered. She’d been steadily fed a stream of lies about her family. In America, she finds, the internet is unrestricted. Unfiltered. She finds an article calling her father a dictator. She finds out that he was responsible for the death of thousands of innocent people. She is no princess. Her brother will not be king. Her entire life has been a lie.
The Tyrant’s Daughter was an incredible story. I read a few chapters before bed on a Thursday, came home from work on Friday night, and devoured the rest. Everybody should read this book. It’s one thing to hear about Middle Eastern conflicts on the news. It’s another thing entirely to read a fictional book, told through the eyes of a teenage girl, that perfectly illustrates what nobody wants to think about. This book tackles serious issues – war, racism, and women’s rights, just to name a few – and does it in such a way that you don’t even realize that you’re learning.
I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.