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Rebels by Accident

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  291 ratings  ·  76 reviews
A Troubled Teen Sent to Cairo Finds Revolution is Everywhere, Including in Ourselves

When my first party ends in jail, I think things can’t possibly get worse. But then my parents send me to my grandmother in Cairo, and I’m sure my life is over. My sittu is Darth Vader’s evil sister, and I’m sure the only sites I’ll get to see in Egypt are the rooms in her apartment.

Turns o
Paperback, 290 pages
Published October 1st 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire (first published August 15th 2012)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  291 ratings  ·  76 reviews

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Aliaa El-Nashar
Jun 14, 2012 rated it liked it
The main reason I decided to read this book and requested it at Netgalley was because of the storyline. As many of you well, should know –it is obvious – I am Egyptian. And I had spent some time in Egypt during the events of the 25th of January, but had to go visit my parents in Kuwait before it got dangerous. It was weird being so far from your family and friends and having no way to contact them, completely terrifying really, and not the holiday we’d all hoped for obviously. Let me tell you, w ...more
Rebecca (Unbound Pages)
This review is also on my blog, The Library Canary.

***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***

I requested this book because of the interesting topic and setting. I’m calling this historical fiction, but this is pretty recent historical fiction, as these events just happened in 2011. I was excited to learn more about this time in Egypt’s history as
Oct 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Miriam is 16 years old and the only Egyptian American at her school. Her best friend Deanna has a physical diability that prohibits her from smiling. Both girls are teased and bullied. Deanna, however is able to maneuver through the bullying and is better equipped at defending herself. In an attempt to fit in with the crowd, the girls decide to go to a party, but have to do it on the sneak. When drugs are reported and the girls are arrested simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, ...more
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There are not enough words to describe this book, but I guess I will try...How about awesome? Fabulous? Mind-blowing? Can you tell I really liked this book?

First, I loved this book because of the setting. I've never been to Egypt, but I really felt like I was there touring the pyramids and riding on the back of a camel. Dunn did a great job pulling in the Egyptian culture as well, without making it too touristy. As a reader, you were able to see so much more of the country by pulling in the lan
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is such an exciting read! I started reading it and couldn't put it down! The protagonist is likeable and relatable as a young adolescent who transforms into a self-assured, confident person who learns to appreciate her cultural heritage. It's a contemporary novel, set against the 2011 Egyptian revolution, and Dunn realistically portrays the technological (Facebook, twitter, iPhones) and cultural and even linguistic (OMG!) usages of teenagers. And the friendship between Deanna and Mariam is ...more
Mina Lobo
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
I give it 4.5 stars. As a "grown up" 1st generation American, I could relate to Mariam's feelings of alienation from her peers. On the bright side, she had her BFF Deanna to support her when the mean girls of high school brought her down. On the other hand, Mariam finds herself battling feelings of jealousy when first her Sittu (grandmother) and then A Boy both seem to prefer Deanna to her. I understand her sense of inadequacy and smallness, but because of the sass with which she tells her story ...more
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Clara Attalla
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After the party Mariam goes to with her best friend, gets busted by the cops, and everyone gets arrested, her parents decided to send her and her best friend Deanna, to Cairo to stay with her with her sittu. But on January 25th, the rebellion against President Mubarak changes Mariam’s life. Will the rebellion change her life for the better? Or will it just make things worse?

Rebels By Accident is an outstanding book because of how the informational book was. I learned so much about my country’s h
Mary Ann
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
After Mariam and Deanna get into trouble for sneaking into a party where there are alcohol and drugs, they are sent to Egypt to spend time with Mariam's grandmother. I think this is a good choice for my classroom bookshelf. Themes: self-acceptance, confidence, tolerance ...more
Megan Geissler
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
teenage angst amidst the egyptian revolution. pretty decent for YA fiction.
Jimin Han
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Brilliantly captures today's Egypt with all its political and cultural complexities as we travel with this young American protagonist and her friend. I was riveted from page 1. The relationship with the grandmother was very moving. Powerful and important read, particularly during this time. ...more
Soma Rostam
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Beautiful and touching, one of the books that touched my heart and left a spot there that will never be erased. I loved this book, it is set in a time that was truly phenomenal and rebellious in the history of the World. This review will be REALLY long, since I have a lot to say, please stick with me.
It's Mariam's second trip to the police station, but this time she is arrested because she was in a party with drugs and alcohol. It was her first party, but it looks like it's her last, too. Mari
Michelle Wrona
*Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!*

From the moment that I set eyes on this book, I knew that I was going to be captivated from the first page. Firstly, the cover is utterly gorgeous and so simple that it suits this contemporary-diverse novel perfectly, and second—everyone'll want something to brighten up their days once in a while, right? Thankfully, this book is it. Rebels by Accident was a really good read that kept me up all night until I
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My review:

The blurb seemed really interesting and caught my attention right away. So did the book itself. Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn is a very good YA novel; it is well written has very likable characters and touches important issues like coming of age, religion, family. It is easy to read and after you have turned the last page, you keep wanting more!


The book starts with 15-years old girl Mariam being arrested on a party, having a conversation with her best friend Deanna. You quic
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this YA selection, it addressed so many issues so well- racism, self-confidence, privilege by virtue of one's birthplace, respect and compassion for others. Highly recommended! ...more
Tsana Dolichva
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn is a contemporary YA novel about an Egyptian-American girl whose father sends her to stay with her grandmother in Egypt after she gets into (normal teenager) trouble at home.

I have some mixed feelings about this novel, I think mostly stemming from the fact that I don't read a huge number of non-speculative contemporary YA. The story starts with Mariam in jail because the party she went to with her best friend, Deanna, was busted by police. Her somewhat conserv
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ncte, signed, alan, arc
This was one of the books I was most excited about from ALAN (land of ARCs and meeting fabulous authors!), and it did not disappoint. The only reason this is not a five star review is that the whole book felt really fast to me. If they would have arrived two days earlier in Egypt, it would have allowed things to wind up just a bit more before the big day of crazy coincidences.

At least one of the other reviews has complained about Instalove, which is one of my pet peeves as well, but in this cont
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
It was her first party in over a decade; it was a high price to pay for Mariam as she is whisked off to jail before her night was over. Disappointment, shame and trust were lost in those short moments, something that her parents valued greatly. Shipping Mariam off to Egypt to spend time with her Sittu (grandma) was their only solution. The horror stories she heard from her father about the iron-fist that Sittu cast was bad enough but then to drag along her best friend Deanna, another party guest ...more
Tressa (Wishful Endings)
3.5 Stars

Rebels by Accident was a pleasant surprise. It wasn't what I was expecting, but I ended up being perfectly happy that it turned out to be something different. I loved that the main character, Mariam, was an Egyptian-American. I loved the pieces of culture throughout the book and the sweet endearments and sayings from Sittu (her grandmother). I also loved the friendship and camaraderie between Mariam, Deanna (her best friend who comes with her to Egypt) and the other characters they befr
Lovey Dovey Books
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Rebels by Accident is fun and enlightening. Patricia Dunn engages readers with a young Egyptian-American teen who struggles to accept being Muslim and her Egyptian roots. Every page captures the essence of a young girl who finds herself through hope and motivation.

Mariam and her best friend Deanna are sent to Cairo, Egypt as a form of punishment. Turns out the trip not only straightens Mariam's attitude, but the time spent with her wise sittu also helps Mariam come to terms with who she is. Dunn
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was fun and fast-paced and I kept wanting to come home and read more of it- and when I was finished, I wanted to read a sequel.
I especially enjoyed the part when Mariam realized her Sittu had known all along that she hadn't gone up to the top of the pyramid. It was like she was finally blinking, and that by the end of the book her eyes were totally open and she was a lot less naive.
Just a few things I didn't really like/were slightly irritating:
I have never heard someone call someone e
LilyCat (Agent of SHIELD)-- on hiatus :(
2.5 stars
The concept sounded really cool. I honestly don't read a lot of contemporary fiction, unless they look like they'll prompt some kind of "soul searching" ( Silent Alarm) or really popular ( The Fault in Our Stars). I really expected a lot more out of this book, thinking I'd at least give it a 4 star rating. The concept is a brilliant thing that could have easily gotten a 4 1/2 out of me. So was the main character, sassy, slightly insecure Mariam.

The problem I had was the fact we're alway
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a story about the Egyptian revolution, as well as a coming-of-age story for an Egyptian American teenager who can't seem to find a place where she belongs.

Mar is a great main character because she doesn't realize who she is, or who she can become. She's spent her whole life trying to be American, ignoring her Egyptian roots. But when her home country's freedom is at stake, she feels the need to help fight for it.

I loved all of the characters in this novel. Perhaps the only thing I didn't
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was incredibly enjoyable and such a great change of scenery from the normal YA coming of age novels. This is still a novel along the same lines as Princess Diaries or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - great fun reads with depth and many lessons to be learned but still a sense of general fluffiness - but it is likely to encourage young readers to think a little deeper about what they see on the news, especially with so many movements involving young adults and social media.

At first, I
May 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this mature YA contemporary novel set in Cairo, Egypt against the backdrop of the turmoil of a country during a revolution. I really like how skillful Patricia was in weaving a myriad of concepts, emotions, culture, and political and social commentary into the storyline of the lives of two young women. These two young women's characters were every enriching and insightful. I loved the fact that in the end these young women grow and mature from their experience in Egypt. The reader will ...more
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Rebels by Accident is a great book for preteens, adults and anyone in between. My daughter Molly and I read Rebels together. I told her we would read one chapter a night together, but she always made me read more. We would stay up later than planned because neither one of us wanted to close the book. Rebels by Accident is a refreshing book to give your pre-teen or teen to read because it gives them a glimpse into real world events with likeable characters and a riveting plot. I am looking forwar ...more
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teens, librarians, teachers
How I wish there were more books for teens like this! Well-written, engaging, realistic and an up-to-the-day accurate in the portrayal of Egypt from the perspective of an American Muslim author. Perfect for a gift for a teen girl or for a reading list for a language-arts or world events/history class or summer reading list for schools and libraries. Quality story-telling at its best! I'm looking for more great work from Patricia Dunn in the future. ...more
Megan Owdom-weitz
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Being a huge fan of young adult fiction, I picked this up on a whim. I had no idea what it was about. I ended up learning a lot about Egypt -- probably more than I have ever known. It was such an easy way to learn about such large issues, in the context of rebellious teenagers. I thought the Grandma was such a strong character and continued to surprise me to the end. Would definitely recommend!
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PATRICIA DUNN is the author of the novel, "Last Stop on the 6" (Bordighera Press, Nov. 9, 2021) and the young adult novel, "Rebels by Accident" (Sourcebooks Fire, Dec. 2014). Her writing has appeared in Salon, The Village Voice, The Nation, LA Weekly, and The Christian Science Monitor. She has also been published in the New York Times best-selling anthology, Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives ...more

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