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Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know

By: Samira Ahmed

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.

ISBN: 9781616959890

JLG Release: Jul 2020


Sensitive Areas: Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes , Language: Mild Language , Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Reference or Discussion , Violence: Mild Violence , Discrimination: Reference/Discussion
Topics: Art history , Muslims , Racially mixed people , Americans , Mystery and detective stories , Paris, France

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Praise & Reviews

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School Library Journal

School Library Journal

Khayyam, a trilingual senior awash with worries about college, is a first-generation American, the daughter of French and Muslim Indian immigrant university professor parents, and spending her annual August in Paris. Set on getting into a prestigious art school, she suffers a setback when a prominent art historian faults her research on a potential Khayyam, a trilingual senior awash with worries about college, is a first-generation American, the daughter of French and Muslim Indian immigrant university professor parents, and spending her annual August in Paris. Set on getting into a prestigious art school, she suffers a setback when a prominent art historian faults her research on a potential undiscovered Eugène Delacroix portrait of a legendary Muslim woman named Leila. Leila, a kind of Helen of Troy, was adulated in the 19th century by Byron and Delacroix, and was mostly known for her ill-fated beloved. Khayyam wants to find Leila’s real story, and will find allies who mourn the “centuries of women” who never got to have a voice. Khayyam’s tale alternates chapters with Leila’s. A primer on French flirting, estate management, impulse control, and Instagram, this art history mystery will be a sure hit with readers who grapple with love triangles, have their eyes on Paris, or are budding feminists. Leila’s chapters echo a lush and soulful prose, while Khayyam’s follow a sarcastic, neutral banter. This is a whirl through 19th-century hidden drawers, libraries, salons, letters, hashish clubs, mansions, and tales of squandered monies with a descendant of Alexander Dumas and a determined young Muslim woman, on a quest to determine who has the right to #writeherstory. Perfect for romantically and historically inclined teens whose ideal first date is an evening out to an art museum.

Book Details

ISBN

9781616959890

First Release

July 2020

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

8 3/10" x 5 1/2"

Page Count

312

Accelerated Reader

N/A

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Soho Teen

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes , Language: Mild Language , Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Reference or Discussion , Violence: Mild Violence , Discrimination: Reference/Discussion

Topics

Art history, Muslims, Racially mixed people, Americans, Mystery and detective stories, Paris, France,

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