Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know
Told in alternating narratives that bridge centuries, the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Samira Ahmed traces the lives of two young women fighting to write their own stories and escape the pressure of familial burdens and cultural expectations in worlds too long defined by men. It’s August in Paris and 17-year-old Khayyam Maquet—American, French, Indian, Muslim—is at a crossroads. This holiday with her professor parents should be a dream trip for the budding art historian. But her maybe-ex-boyfriend is probably ghosting her, she might have just blown her chance at getting into her dream college, and now all she really wants is to be back home in Chicago figuring out her messy life instead of brooding in the City of Light. Two hundred years before Khayyam’s summer of discontent, Leila is struggling to survive and keep her true love hidden from the Pasha who has “gifted” her with favored status in his harem. In the present day—and with the company of a descendant of Alexandre Dumas—Khayyam begins to connect allusions to an enigmatic 19th-century Muslim woman whose path may have intersected with Alexandre Dumas, Eugène Delacroix, and Lord Byron. Echoing across centuries, Leila and Khayyam’s lives intertwine, and as one woman’s long-forgotten life is uncovered, another’s is transformed.

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know Details

TitleMad, Bad & Dangerous to Know
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 7th, 2020
PublisherSoho Teen
ISBN-139781616959890
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Historical, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Fiction

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know Review

  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    OMG! Isnt it enchanting idea to read a book about two powerful women from different time lines who want to raise their voices and tell their stories! One of them is in Paris, searching for the deepest secrets hid behind a remarkable drawing with a charming French guy carries his descendant Alexandre Dumas name! And the other woman is a haseki, leaving behind the walls of Ottoman Harem, telling her secret love triangle story which resulted tragically! Didnt you get excited and start to dance like OMG! Isn’t it enchanting idea to read a book about two powerful women from different time lines who want to raise their voices and tell their stories! One of them is in Paris, searching for the deepest secrets hid behind a remarkable drawing with a charming French guy carries his descendant Alexandre Dumas’ name! And the other woman is a haseki, leaving behind the walls of Ottoman Harem, telling her secret love triangle story which resulted tragically! Didn’t you get excited and start to dance like me? To get in the mood I added some Oriental belly shake moves to my dance but my friends laughed so hard and recorded me (yes, after seeing my magical movies on their phone camera, I decided they were combination of Gangham style and a hamster who tries to catch its own tail! So I gave up!) in the meantime. So I locked myself in my bathroom and kept on dancing (of course I put blanket on the mirror not to see myself) and started my reading! Khayyam, the young heroine of the book named after famous Persian poet Omar Khayyam. She is French American, Indian American and also Muslim American. An immigrant, biracial, interfaith. But she is not a blank page of passport everyone gets to stamp a label of their choosing! She wants to be heard, she wants to leave her traces in the universe! She wants to follow her own path to create her own story she’s destined to do! She wants you to know her name. Just like Leila who wants to take control of her own life and make her own choices but she lives at the world dominated by man power and she has no choice but keep her silence, bow her head and patiently endure the hand life dealt to her. Instead of some historical faults about the harem life structure ( I was planning to work on a documentary about the hidden face of Harem behind the closed doors so I read tons of researches for months but guess what, I went back to work on thriller projects!) the book’s story-telling is pure, lyrical, fascinating. The powerful feminism messages and intersected stories of two different women’s lives and their challenging quest to raise their voices were remarkable. It’s memorable and heart felting, poignant time travel story. Not literally but the author takes your feet off the ground and helps to take a journey between different continents, time zones, cultures to tell us we’re a part of different cultural, lyrical mosaic and a note from a symphony and we deserve to heard, understood and we can actually find our own tunes by our own life experiences! I think I have to read the previous books of Samira Ahmed. Especially “Internment” is part of my long time TBR list and I have to prioritize the best books and work on my pile if I don’t want to be squeezed under them sooner!Special thanks to NetGalley and Soho Teen for sharing this poetic book’s ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review!
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  • jv poore
    January 1, 1970
    Khayyams life is finished and shes only seventeen. Ok, that may be a bit over-the-top, but she truly is beyond bummed to have completely blown her chance to achieve her life-long dream. Admittedly, her over-eager attempt to get into the Chicago School of Art Institute was not as well researched as it should have been. The needlessly harsh criticism of one judge plays on repeat in Khayyams mind. The hateful words arent wrong; but neither is Khayyams theory. A portrait must to be missing from Khayyam’s life is finished and she’s only seventeen. Ok, that may be a bit over-the-top, but she truly is beyond bummed to have completely blown her chance to achieve her life-long dream. Admittedly, her over-eager attempt to get into the Chicago School of Art Institute was not as well researched as it should have been. The needlessly harsh criticism of one judge plays on repeat in Khayyam’s mind. The hateful words aren’t wrong; but neither is Khayyam’s theory. A portrait must to be missing from Delacroix’s series based on Byron’s prose. And there is no way that a woman who inspired poetry and paintings was a fictional character plucked from a dark fairy-tale. Khayyam will use her month in Paris to do some proper sleuthing.Meeting the adorable descendant of Alexandre Dumas and discovering that he, too, is conducting historical studies could prove to be beneficial. And exponentially more entertaining.As Khayyam gets closer to a truth from the past, she begins to see that even in the present, people are not being completely honest. Going from a having a potential partner to wondering who to trust was unnerving, but uncovering the constantly-controlled life of a mysterious woman was absolutely infuriating.This woman who had been talked about never got the opportunity to speak for herself. Her name was Leila and her story matters. In learning about Leila, Khayyam’s initial goal to rewrite her essay and prove her case grows distant. She’s no longer focused on her future, but resurrecting Leila’s past is imperative.Teenagers are completely capable of being many things at once. Inquisitive, determined and tenacious while inexplicably also reckless, romantic and immature. I’ve not seen those traits so perfectly captured and conveyed before “meeting” Khayyam in Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed. Truly terrific YA Historical Fiction!This review was written for Buried Under Books by jv poore, with a huge thank-you for the Advance Review Copy to donate to my favorite classroom library.
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    Two teens unravel the mystery of a Muslim woman mentioned in letters from Alexandar Dumas. Yes.
  • Nenia ❤️️ I hate everything you love ❤️️ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    As a fan of Byronic heroes, the title is Relevant to My Interests™
  • Sahitya
    January 1, 1970
    Despite following the author for a long time on Twitter, I have actually never read her books before. Internment has been on my tbr for a long time but it intimidates the hell out of me and Im just so scared to read it. But when I saw the blurb for this one, I just knew this was my type of book and I had to read it immediately. And it was amazing. Even though I mostly read fantasy or romance novels, I am actually very fond of books which have a lot of archeological, historical or artsy elements. Despite following the author for a long time on Twitter, I have actually never read her books before. Internment has been on my tbr for a long time but it intimidates the hell out of me and I’m just so scared to read it. But when I saw the blurb for this one, I just knew this was my type of book and I had to read it immediately. And it was amazing. Even though I mostly read fantasy or romance novels, I am actually very fond of books which have a lot of archeological, historical or artsy elements. I usually find these favorite aspects in my adventure novels, so it was actually very refreshing to see a literary/art history related mystery in a YA novel. I’ve never been to Paris but it’s a dream destination of mine, and the setting here in the book was so vivid and lush that I felt transported, but also sad that i haven’t been there already. I also liked that the author takes us to those places in Paris which are not the main tourist attractions - we only get a single mention of the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower doesn’t even get that - but we see the charm in the places which only the locals would know. And the way the author interconnected the stories of Alexandre Dumas, Eugène Delacroix and Lord Byron with the plot of this book was genius and it’s a great feeling to be exploring the lives of such great artists who have left indelible impressions on us. The writing style is equal parts endearing and poetic and beautiful, and I just found myself lost within the words - it was a mesmerizing experience that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. The main theme of the book is about stories - how we all have a story to tell, how the past and present and future are all connected, and an examination into who finally gets their stories told and who are lost to history. We get a very critical look into how women and their accomplishments have been forgotten or deliberately suppressed for ages now, and how it’s important to not let that happen anymore. History is always being rewritten as we go along, because we uncover new facts or alternate POVs which change the context, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that the women and marginalized people whose stories were lost get a chance to voice their truth. And all these discussions happen very organically between the characters within the novel and I thought the author did a marvelous job highlighting the importance of giving women the agency to tell their own stories. I will not say I was completely in love with our main character Khayyam. I definitely admired her love for art history, her desire to prove herself and the earnestness with which she proceeded to bring Leila’s story to light. She is also torn between her multiple identities - Muslim, American, French, Indian - and it was fascinating to see her grow more comfortable in her own skin as the book goes on. But she is also a teenage girl who is attracted to two boys and is conflicted about whom to choose, especially because none of them are perfect - I had to actually remind myself repeatedly not to judge her through my adult gaze. Her parents are professors and I absolutely adored them, and their relationship with her. Total parental goals and these are the kind of adult figures we don’t often see in YA, so that was a nice change. In the past, Leila is a woman of the harem who is not allowed any freedom or privacy, but she is a formidable woman who takes matters into her own hands and decides to carve her own path. It’s a story mired in tragedy but also immense strength, and every step of getting to know her was a joy. Her story also plays such an integral part in Khayyam’s character development, and I commend the author for the beautiful way she wove their narratives together. In conclusion, this was a powerful story of two young Muslim women across centuries trying to carve their own path in life despite all the obstacles, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If like me, you are a fan of books that combine an engaging story with historical elements, or if you are an art/literary history nerd, I think this book is perfect for you. It has an interesting mystery, flawed but relatable characters and a love of art that permeates the pages. It gave me a lot of joy while reading and I hope it does the same for you too.
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  • Dany
    January 1, 1970
    OH MY GOODNESSMy heart was soaring through the book with the amazing plot and fun mystery. Khayyam is in Paris for her Summer vacation where she is ridiculed for her art essay for a Young scholar prize. After stepping in dog poop and feeling like a total screw up , Khayyam meets a cute french boy who might actually be a solution to her love life and her chance to get her Young Scholar Prize .Why should you care / read / pre order Mad , Bad & Dangerous to know? Lemme explain.CharactersOur MC OH MY GOODNESSMy heart was soaring through the book with the amazing plot and fun mystery. Khayyam is in Paris for her Summer vacation where she is ridiculed for her art essay for a Young scholar prize. After stepping in dog poop and feeling like a total screw up , Khayyam meets a cute french boy who might actually be a solution to her love life and her chance to get her Young Scholar Prize .Why should you care / read / pre order Mad , Bad & Dangerous to know? Lemme explain.CharactersOur MC khayyam , named after the famous Persian poet , Omar Khayyam .She isFrench American. Indian American. Muslim American. Biracial. Interfaith. Child of immigrants.She's the best Indian American portrayal I've seen so far (granted not many) , and Khayyam roxxxx. Khayyam is rightfully angry about Women's voices being silenced all the time.Meet the French hottie , Alexandre Dumas.Hot CuteTallFrenchDescendant of "The Alexandre Dumas"Alexandre has more layers than what I prematurely described. I can promise you he's not another Étienne St. Clair . I can't say more without giving out spoilers.The PlotKhayyam is invested in digging through Paris to find the voice that was lost in too many men's narratives. Leila just wants to live her life. Which her fate doesn't let her. Leila struggles to live and breathe while fate tosses her around in it's cruel hands. There's more to her story than the men care to tell.Khayyam's determination to unravel the truth is the plot , really. While Khayyam ventures through Leila's life connecting the dots , she can see herself reflected in some ways . FeminismFeminism , #TellHerStory is the theme of this book. Women get to tell their stories. They can't just be muffled around all the time or seen through another male perspective.This , obviously , isn't the male bashing type people seem to think feminism is. I'm mentioning this in my review because this is the message I'm taking away from Samira. I would hate to see it misinterpreted or misunderstood. Let my fears be just paranoia.WritingThis is the first full length Samira Ahmed's novel I've read . Her writing is mesmerising. The switching of PoV is so easy to navigate. Not just because of the font difference or the timeline difference. Khayyam and Leila's voices are totally unique and majestic in their own way which made me shed a few tears at some points. I loved Samira's writing so much. The direction the plot was taking is laid out in the first page. And the journey was so amazing. The pacing was even and .. if you haven't noticed , I love this book. So . Damn. Much.If you like Young Adult contemporaries , or , diverse books , or , Specifically looking for Teen Muslim rep ,I wholeheartedly recommend reading Mad , Bad & Dangerous to know. This will be a perfect summer read❤️Thanks for reading my review.
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  • Lulu (the library leopard)
    January 1, 1970
    ok i'm gonna admit some slight confusion that this isn't related to lord byron but this also sounds AWESOME
  • Saajid Hosein
    January 1, 1970
    *Requested and ARC in exchange for honest review.3.5 for now. Will write a review soon.
  • Vee_Bookish // mauve and dangerous
    January 1, 1970
    the UK cover looks like a historical inspired fantasy and the US cover looks like a modern contemporary with cute coffee dates, wild
  • Geoff
    January 1, 1970
    I'm clearly not the target audience for this novel, but one of the reasons I wanted to read it is to give myself a booster shot in remembering what it was like to be a teenager, simultaneously struggling with expectations and self-definition and love and friends and figuring out my moral truth. It's something that I don't want to forget as my kids get older and I approach the potentially turbulent adolescent years form the other side.That said, I can tell that I'm coming at it from the other I'm clearly not the target audience for this novel, but one of the reasons I wanted to read it is to give myself a booster shot in remembering what it was like to be a teenager, simultaneously struggling with expectations and self-definition and love and friends and figuring out my moral truth. It's something that I don't want to forget as my kids get older and I approach the potentially turbulent adolescent years form the other side.That said, I can tell that I'm coming at it from the other side, not only because I identified more with the modern protagonist's parents than her, and found her thoughts about love and ambition more exhausting than insightful. But I think that's on me!One of the things I found interesting about the book were the parallel structure moving back and forth in time between modern Paris and the 19th century Ottoman Empire and Paris. The book is a love letter to art and Paris and to feminism and letting women's voices and stories be heard, and I love that. I also, without spoiling, loved how the relationships in the book were resolved. It was not done in a standard, expected way, and I really appreciated that.**Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • aarya
    January 1, 1970
    Argh. Im writing a review a week after reading and Im docking a star from my initial 4 star rating. This is why I should always write reviews ASAP, because otherwise I over-analyze and realize that some irritating things were EXTRA irritating. I still liked the book and would recommend it for fans of Parisian settings and alternating timelines, but there were enough qualms to make me dock another star.- Khayyam is freaking great. A+ heroine, would read a ten-book series about her. The Leila Argh. I’m writing a review a week after reading and I’m docking a star from my initial 4 star rating. This is why I should always write reviews ASAP, because otherwise I over-analyze and realize that some irritating things were EXTRA irritating. I still liked the book and would recommend it for fans of Parisian settings and alternating timelines, but there were enough qualms to make me dock another star.- Khayyam is freaking great. A+ heroine, would read a ten-book series about her. The Leila parts are interesting but Khayyam is the star. - I can’t tell what’s fact vs fiction (and there is a lot of fiction re: Leila and her connection to Dumas/Byron) but I also didn’t care. It is a romp! I’m uncertain which Dumas/Byron letters are fictionalized but the historical treasure hunt is super fun. Loved the message on how some people’s stories are lost to history (and if found, should we make them public if they want to stay lost?). - Is a lot of the book unbelievable? Yes. Pretty much the whole book is. You gotta roll with it, from running into Alexandre Dumas’s descendent to embarking on a historical quest in literally two seconds. Let’s not forget sneaking around and stealing locked-up French artifacts. Did I care so much was unbelievable? Nope. It was fun, I loved the adventure, and I rolled with it. - Not a fan of the love triangle storyline but I didn’t hate it. I guess I’m ambiguous? Definitely don’t go in with romance expectations because you will NOT be happy. Khayyam gets a happy ending with herself, not with a boyfriend.- No romantic HEA because cute French guy is a deceiving, cute French guy. The former unfortunately negates the latter. He is redeemed (good-intentioned deception but still a crappy thing to do) and they part as friends, but my heart was broken. This was my original reason for docking a star. I was so sad.- And now my reason for docking another star to a final rating of 3 stars. I was skimming my highlights and found a scene that made me SQUIRM. Okay, so the real-life Alexandre Dumas has a Black grandmother (she was a slave in Haiti). In contemporary times, Khayyam teams up with Dumas’s fictional descendent (also named Alexandre, eyeroll). He truly is a descendant. That isn’t the deception part; I won’t spoil that even though I guessed from foreshadowing. It’s been centuries since Dumas’s lifetime and contemporary fictionalized Alexandre is white-passing/identifies as white (I don’t think he has any other non-white relatives).There’s this discussion about Dumas’s race and his Black grandmother (e.g., how Dumas carried his grandmother’s legacy by taking her surname). The current-day fictionalized Alexandre is talking about his connection to the legacy, the struggles of the Haitian grandmother, the racism faced by Dumas, fictional Alexandre being unable to ignore ancestors that are both slaveholders/slaves, etc. It did feel a bit like “I’m white/privileged but I understand more about Blackness/racism than the average person because I’ve researched my family history from 200 years ago.” Maybe that’s an unfair interpretation, but I got that vibe while rereading. More egregiously, if you take a step back from that particular scene, Dumas’s race isn’t the main topic of conversation anywhere else in the story. I skimmed the book again and it felt... odd. I was looking for discussions of Dumas’s Blackness in particular and it wasn’t omnipresent the way it *should* be. It’s there in bits and pieces, but I don’t think Dumas’s Black identity is as fully realized as Lelia/Khayyam’s Muslim identity. I don’t think anything was offensive; I just perceived a glaring omission.And the more I think about it... perhaps the contemporary/fictional Alexandre would’ve been better off as *not* white. He’s the reader’s main lens for interpreting and understanding real-life Alexandre Dumas. I don’t know! I’m not in any place to say “make X choice to improve the story!” I simply wonder if the book would’ve been better with a fictionalized biracial descendent to interrogate the past. So yeah. I liked reading this book, but it didn’t sit well with me during the review process. I know nothing about Dumas or Byron at all, so I’d be interested in reading a review by someone with more expertise. Still, I’m definitely going to search out Samira Ahmed’s backlist because her voice is exceptional.Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Mad, Bad, & Dangerous to Know hooked me from the first pages. It's full of personality and Khayyam's thoughts jump off the page. I love how quickly she establishes herself in your heart - her fierce ambition, her passion, and her heart. And she only gets better and better! The characters have to be my number one reason for loving this book. Khayyam is a complex character who is (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Mad, Bad, & Dangerous to Know hooked me from the first pages. It's full of personality and Khayyam's thoughts jump off the page. I love how quickly she establishes herself in your heart - her fierce ambition, her passion, and her heart. And she only gets better and better! The characters have to be my number one reason for loving this book. Khayyam is a complex character who is both driven, but also struggling to come to terms with her own feelings. At the same time, this dual POV book feature Leila a woman who is similarly struggling with matters of the heart as well as her own survival.Leila and Khayyam are linked in a story that weaves art, forgotten women, and love. The way women are often not given a voice, the space to speak, erased from history and looking on from the shadows. Mad, Bad, & Dangerous to Know unravels Leila's story all while allowing Khayyam to evolve as a character, to make mistakes, and to speak her own story. Khayyam talks about the struggles not only of being a woman of color, but also being biracial and how it has impacted her sense of identity. Mad, Bad, & Dangerous to Know is a book rich with layers and full of heart.full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! This book really took me by surprise. I honestly didn't expect to love it as much as I did. The story is beautiful, written well, and has just enough intrigue and complications to keep me turning the pages.Full review: https://picturethisliteraturecom.word...
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  • Zoë ☆
    January 1, 1970
    This was an enjoyable read!!! The setting was dreamy (because obviously... Paris is amazing) and the investigation was really fun to read about! There were some things that happened romance-wise that I wasnt a fan of, but other than that I feel like this is a fun summer-y (or spring even) read!! I really want to revisit Paris now 😂🙈Samira Ahmed = yes please!!! This was an enjoyable read!!! The setting was dreamy (because obviously... Paris is amazing) and the investigation was really fun to read about! There were some things that happened romance-wise that I wasn’t a fan of, but other than that I feel like this is a fun summer-y (or spring even) read!! I really want to revisit Paris now 😂🙈——Samira Ahmed = yes please!!!
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  • SanaBanana
    January 1, 1970
    dude, this sounds AWESOME!!
  • Celia T
    January 1, 1970
    I was really excited for the release of this book - so excited that I kind of assumed it would be a let-down when I actually got to read it. But it wasn't! It was great!
  • Patti Sabik
    January 1, 1970
    Terrific romance and mystery while weaving history throughout. I was compelled to research where fact and fiction met when I closed the book because the threads were woven together so seamlessly and believably. Such a fun book with compelling and thought-provoking undertones made this a page-turning read. Characters that were likeable and real; with thoughts that mimicked my own as the story and relationships unfolded. The settings of modern day Paris juxtaposed with 19th century India Terrific romance and mystery while weaving history throughout. I was compelled to research where fact and fiction met when I closed the book because the threads were woven together so seamlessly and believably. Such a fun book with compelling and thought-provoking undertones made this a page-turning read. Characters that were likeable and real; with thoughts that mimicked my own as the story and relationships unfolded. The settings of modern day Paris juxtaposed with 19th century India stimulates the reader's imagination senses, making it even more enticing to stay immersed in the luxury of this wonderful book.
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  • N
    January 1, 1970
    This book is gorgeous. I love the complexities of personalities and relationships. The convergence of history, story, and the present. How stories change and morph through time. How we skip over some stories or manipulate them for our own gains. Such a wonderful look at complicated emotions.
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  • Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
    January 1, 1970
    I read Mad Bad and Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed without really knowing that it was about. I'd read a previous book by the same author and figured I'd request it on a whim and take my chances. I'm so glad that I did as Mad Bad and Dangerous to Know was really fascinating and unravelling this mystery of Leila and also navigating Khayyam's love life really kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved that this book was set in Paris, I loved the descriptions of different foods and pastries, the I read Mad Bad and Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed without really knowing that it was about. I'd read a previous book by the same author and figured I'd request it on a whim and take my chances. I'm so glad that I did as Mad Bad and Dangerous to Know was really fascinating and unravelling this mystery of Leila and also navigating Khayyam's love life really kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved that this book was set in Paris, I loved the descriptions of different foods and pastries, the swoony flirting with a cute French boy gave me heart palpitations, and it was just really interesting to discover this link between Byron, Alexandre Dumas and the artist Delacroix. Extra points for all the points made about POC and about finding a way to give a voice to a woman who history had silenced.
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  • Yas
    January 1, 1970
    can i just say- this is by the women that made Internment just take my money all of it.
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    Khayyam, a teen girl who is American and French, Indian and Muslim, biracial and interfaith and a child of immigrant academics, travels to Paris with her parents on summer vacation and, having messed up an art history essay that could have gotten her admitted to her dream school, is determined to do further research to fix the essay, and possibly make a huge art discovery. Enter Alexandre Dumas, the offspring of that famous author who wants to team up with Khayyam for reasons of his own. As a Khayyam, a teen girl who is American and French, Indian and Muslim, biracial and interfaith and a child of immigrant academics, travels to Paris with her parents on summer vacation and, having messed up an art history essay that could have gotten her admitted to her dream school, is determined to do further research to fix the essay, and possibly make a huge art discovery. Enter Alexandre Dumas, the offspring of that famous author who wants to team up with Khayyam for reasons of his own. As a premise, I was on board with their sleuthing, despite the repeated Scooby Doo references. I found my attention slipping in the back half of the novel, getting annoyed at Khayyam's boy craziness. She's either thinking about kissing Alexandre or thinking about her ex-boyfriend, like all of the time. Or she's getting angry at the patriarchy for how they have hijacked history, which yeah, but enough already. Add to that some unbelievable storytelling by Leila, the woman Dumas the writer was in love with and who has her own sections, and some almost illegible font used for the letters between Leila & Dumas, and my experience reading became rather frustrated. I really liked Ahmed's Internment and I thought Khayyam could have been a really interesting character if only she was given a bit more dimension. Review from galley.
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  • Sacha
    January 1, 1970
    I received this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. That review will be posted upon publication.Updated 4/7/20: Three starsThis book was a solidly mixed bag for me. I had a very hard time with the bulk of the novel, which focuses on Khayyam's perspective. There is a love triangle that I struggled hard (and failed) to care about. Khayyam's problems for the first two-thirds are grating. She finds herself torn between two potential romantic interests, but they are I received this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. That review will be posted upon publication.Updated 4/7/20: Three starsThis book was a solidly mixed bag for me. I had a very hard time with the bulk of the novel, which focuses on Khayyam's perspective. There is a love triangle that I struggled hard (and failed) to care about. Khayyam's problems for the first two-thirds are grating. She finds herself torn between two potential romantic interests, but they are both kind of awful. Since this is her main focus, it has to be the reader's, and it's just...tough to care. The sections told from Leila's perspective are much more interesting; those were the sole reason I completed the book. Overall, I feel a bit disappointed in this. The concept and structure seem so interesting, but overall, the focus on the present-day romantic relationships made me wish for my own jinn to come to the rescue. I have read a lot that I like from this author and look forward to more, but this one just did not work well for me.
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  • priya
    January 1, 1970
    i need to know why more people arent hyped for this book. muslim indian american rep? alexandre dumas? lord byron? city of light? told in alternating povs? sign me up! i need to know why more people aren’t hyped for this book. muslim indian american rep? alexandre dumas? lord byron? city of light? told in alternating povs? sign me up!
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  • ♠ TABI ♠
    January 1, 1970
    this sounds glorious
  • Cheska the Great is Not Okay
    January 1, 1970
    Somebody please tell me this isn't the final cover.
  • Nina O'Daniels
    January 1, 1970
    Khayyam's summer is off to a bad start. Her boyfriend Zaid is back in Chicago, posing up a storm with beautiful girls in precarious positions on Insta, and her academic career is over even before it even started. Fresh off the humiliation of trying to prove an art theory correct for an essay at her dream college (spoiler alert- she doesn't), she and her family are in Paris for the month. It's a tradition. Her parents are academics who have the month of August off, and her father is French, which Khayyam's summer is off to a bad start. Her boyfriend Zaid is back in Chicago, posing up a storm with beautiful girls in precarious positions on Insta, and her academic career is over even before it even started. Fresh off the humiliation of trying to prove an art theory correct for an essay at her dream college (spoiler alert- she doesn't), she and her family are in Paris for the month. It's a tradition. Her parents are academics who have the month of August off, and her father is French, which makes her more than just a Muslim American girl with brown skin. Discouraged by her lackluster introduction into the academia of art and the possibility of her boyfriend cheating on her, she's immediately cheered up by a chance meeting, albeit embarrassing one since she was wiping off dog poo from her shoes, with a boy named Alexander Dumas. She cannot believe the coincidence since the failed essay just happened to be her trying to prove the existence of a connection between Alexandre Dumas, the famous french writer, and the artist Delacroix. This boy is an ACTUAL descendant of Dumas, and he's here, talking to her. The two strike up a conversation, and she and Alexandre are quickly immersed in her disproved theory. Except, maybe she WAS on to something.Centuries before Khayyam and Alexandre existed, there was Leila. A favorite in the Pasha's harem, she is destined to be a slave, but her secret love spurs her on. When she is asked to be a spy of sorts to a poet of all people, she has no choice but to accept. Little did she know the connection she would make with Lord Byron would change her fate. Her destiny is sealed when she sees her lover killed by the Pasha, and an attempt on her own life fails. She steals away with Byron and Dumas, leaving her beloved country behind. It is Lelia, a woman whom Byron dubs "mad, bad, and dangerous to know," a moniker previously bestowed onto him, whose story Khayyam desperately wants to tell. She and Alexandre hunt through relics of the Dumas family, old hotels, and his crowning jewel, the Chateau de Monte-Cristo, where the paths of the present and past intersect. Their sleuthing pays off, but Khayyam isn't so sure what to do once the truth is out. This story dabbles in many genres, including mystery, romance, diversity, minority voices, coming of age, and historical fiction. There were times when Kheyyam's actions in her love life made me cringe, but I loved her passion for telling (or not tell) Leila's story. The blend of the poets, writers, and author's lives and connection to Leila made it feel like the truth, not fiction. This unique approach to history made me think of a few other stories, like Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly and The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato. #writeherstory is a fantastic hashtag, and I can absolutely get behind Samira Ahmed's message. Be sure to check out her author's notes. And, check out some pics of Chateau de Monte-Cristo; it's gorgeous.
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  • Kathy Sandlin
    January 1, 1970
    The title of this book had me from the beginning. I loved the book. I have enjoyed the other books by Samira Ahmed. Both of her previous books confronts real issues with two completely different storylines. This follows the same path. In this story she confronts the idea that women are not always heard even now in today's society and must fight for others to hear them. In Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know she also takes us on a trip back into time when women really were not heard and thought of The title of this book had me from the beginning. I loved the book. I have enjoyed the other books by Samira Ahmed. Both of her previous books confronts real issues with two completely different storylines. This follows the same path. In this story she confronts the idea that women are not always heard even now in today's society and must fight for others to hear them. In Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know she also takes us on a trip back into time when women really were not heard and thought of as property. I loved the alternating stories of Leila and Khayyham and how it was mixed with real artists in history. I really enjoyed Khayyham's sarcastic personality and spiritual side of Leila's personality. The setting of Paris was beautiful and romantic. I loved the walks through the streets and into the little hidden nooks in the city. There were some parts in the French language and some references to French culture that may get lost on some readers. These are little parts that are hard to pick up in textbooks unless you have lived or visited a French country. I really wanted to drink an Orangina several times in this book! I enjoyed the relationship between Alexandre and Khayyham but the love triangle with Zaid was not really my cup of tea. I zoned out a bit with her inner dialogue about Zaid. Overall another great read from Samira Ahmed. Thank you NetGalley for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Bridgette
    January 1, 1970
    This was soooooo good. While in Paris, Khayyam runs into a descendant of Alexandre Dumas, and the two set out to prove a lost piece of Dumas family history, finding a lost of woman's voice and story in the process to both save the crumbling Dumas estate and bring this women to the forefront of the story. The voice was strong, the pace quick, and I adored the descriptions of French food. Leila's POV was breath taking in it's action, emotions, and courage. The alternating POV worked well to keep This was soooooo good. While in Paris, Khayyam runs into a descendant of Alexandre Dumas, and the two set out to prove a lost piece of Dumas family history, finding a lost of woman's voice and story in the process to both save the crumbling Dumas estate and bring this women to the forefront of the story. The voice was strong, the pace quick, and I adored the descriptions of French food. Leila's POV was breath taking in it's action, emotions, and courage. The alternating POV worked well to keep the tension up. I wasn't a big fan of her being torn between two guys (I never am), but the exploration of why she felt for both of them is one of the better ones I've read. I loved Khayyam--her drive, her courage, her mistakes, her ponderings on the world. This is great for anyone who likes contemporaries, but especially those who love history, art, literature and romance.
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  • Vaiomo ♡
    January 1, 1970
    Hot damn this was good. I started off really not knowing what to think of it. The book started very slow paced and I couldn't get a grip on the story to keep reading. I didn't really connect with the characters and overal it was just not great. But I kept reading and thank god that I did. First of all I love art and history together. It's some kind of mystery that has to be solved everytime. This book had that and that's what was amazing. I loved that everything was in Paris, France and that Hot damn this was good. I started off really not knowing what to think of it. The book started very slow paced and I couldn't get a grip on the story to keep reading. I didn't really connect with the characters and overal it was just not great. But I kept reading and thank god that I did. First of all I love art and history together. It's some kind of mystery that has to be solved everytime. This book had that and that's what was amazing. I loved that everything was in Paris, France and that there were little small french things in it. However I do want to give a little note that I do think some more french sayings should be a bit more translated. It wasn't a problem for me because I know french but I feel like it would be for future readers. The story was absolutely amazing and I really enjoyed specific scenes and thought it made an amazing development for the story. The ending was also amazingly written and I couldn't get enough of the main characters. Would definitely recommend. Thank you to the author and publisher for giving me this arc I loved it and would definitely buy this when it comes out!
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Samira Ahmed is one of my favorite YA writers right now. All of her stories feature such strong and complex protagonists. In this book, she made me care about the history surrounding Alexandre Dumas, and author Ive never really been interested in reading. But shes not telling Dumass story, but a woman who most likely inspired him and other romantics of the time. #writeherstory Samira Ahmed is one of my favorite YA writers right now. All of her stories feature such strong and complex protagonists. In this book, she made me care about the history surrounding Alexandre Dumas, and author I’ve never really been interested in reading. But she’s not telling Dumas’s story, but a woman who most likely inspired him and other romantics of the time. #writeherstory
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