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An Infidel in Paradise

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Set in Pakistan, this is the story of a teen girl living with her mother and siblings in a diplomatic compound. As if getting used to another new country and set of customs and friends isn't enough, she must cope with an increasingly tense political situation that becomes dangerous with alarming speed. Her life and those of her sister and brother depend on her resourcefuln ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Tundra Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
It was refreshing to read a young adult novel that was not a paranormal or dystopic romantic triangle (although I do love those). Emma is a sixteen year old daughter of a Canadian foreign consul. She has traveled all over the world but her own world is turned upside down with her parents separation. She is also dealing with yet another move, this time to Pakistan, in which she makes enemies on her very first day. I liked this book, and as I said before, it was refreshing. I don't know enough abo ...more
May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted on http://canlitforlittlecanadians.blogs...

noun \ˈin-fə-dəl, -fə-ˌdel\
1 : one who is not a Christian or who opposes Christianity
2 a : an unbeliever with respect to a particular religion b : one who acknowledges no religious belief
3 : a disbeliever in something specified or understood
Retrieved from on May 8, 2013

Under this definition of infidel, just about anyone could be called an infidel. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus,
Lisbeth Avery {Domus Libri}
Where do I start? AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE is about a girl who has moved to Pakistan and has to adjust to living there which basically means it's a high school drama set in well, Pakistan. That's really at AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE was - a high school drama. The plot promises a YA political thriller. I mean, it actually says this in the plot summary:

an increasingly tense political situation that becomes dangerous with alarming speed

But then again it says this in the plot summary...

an enigmatic
I received this ARC from Netgalley.

The idea of this story intrigued me from the beginning. I love that it is about a Canadian girl who's mother is an ambassador and that they're stationed in Pakistan. The story itself was a good read and an interesting look into what that type of life is for young adults. I wish it described Pakistan itself a little better, but given the climate of the book, it really couldn't be done. All in all, a satisfying story, but I could do without the romance aspect.
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-sarc
An Infidel in Paradise is the first book I've read that takes place in Pakistan, or even the first that takes places in that section of the Middle East. Whereas I haven't experienced that section of the planet in person or through books, I, like many people, have a distinct (but not necessarily accurate) picture of Pakistan. When I hear the name, I think of a dry, barren place filled with violence. I realize it is unfair to take a country I know virtually nothing about and apply such a negative ...more
So, Emma and her family (minus Dad, who left them for their maid in Manila) have just moved into the Canadian embassy enclave in Islamabad, Pakistan and what follows is a pretty fascinating culture-clash story as she adjusts to life in yet another new country, and finally comes to terms a little with all that moving around she's done. It's a tough life having to completely pick up and start fresh every few years, leaving behind old friends and having to make new ones that you'll just leave again ...more
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Infidel in Paradise is young adult fiction at its finest. The plotting is fast-paced and compelling. The main protagonist, Emma, possesses a nuanced authenticity that is engaging and credible. Within minutes of beginning this book, the reader is plunged into Emma's inner world and vicariously experiencing all the tumultnous emotions of a young girl coming to grips with daily life in an utterly alien society.

And what a world it is! Pakistan is depicted with an immediacy that is palpable. The read
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book! I found the characters to be very engaging and the story to be a page turner. Emma, the main character, has a lot of depth to her and it was very enjoyable to see how she and her various relationships (i.e., with her sister, mother, brother) developed over the course of the book. I found the setting of the book very compelling. It was also interesting to see what it is like for children and teens who move around a lot.
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Description: Sixteen-year-old Emma is no stranger to moving. The daughter of a Canadian diplomat, her life has been a series of changing landscapes, cultures and friendships. But when her parents split up and she and her siblings are forced to move to Pakistan with her mother, her feelings of loss and culture shock are overwhelming. Add to that rising political tensions and her attraction to a local boy who has been promised to someone else, Emma’s life very quickly spirals out of control, putti ...more
Moze (SmartFolksRead)
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
When Emma’s parents split up she is left reeling especially because her mother has decided to pack her and her siblings up and relocate to Pakistan from Puerto Rico. This isn’t Emma’s first move, though. As the daughter of an employee of the Canadian Embassy, Emma has lived all over the world, but this time around she is having a hard time adjusting to the culture. Emma finds herself experiencing things she never thought she would: from riots in the streets that result in the students at her sch ...more
Jenni Enzor
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a fast read, but it was because I was so invested in the character. Emma is difficult to like, but her humor and her way of seeing the world really endeared her to me. Her observations were often bluntly honest, but that was so refreshing and believable. Having lived abroad (although not in Pakistan), I could relate to her feelings of not fitting in anywhere. I liked the ending, and thought Laidslaw made a great choice in how she resolved the main question of the plot. I would recommend ...more
The Twins Read
This review can originally be found at The Twins Read .

Emma's life is in upheaval; after her father left them to live in Boracay with their maid, her mother uproots them from their cushy life in Manila and transplants them to Pakistan for a chance to start over. It's not easy for Emma to get used to her new surroundings; she has to deal with her parents' separation, the growing distance between her siblings and herself, and being the new girl in school.

Emma is your typical teenage girl. She's s
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Imagine what it would be like to be yanked away from all the things that you are familiar with and comfortable with, and having to start fresh at a new place. This is bad enough as a teen moving from one town to another. Now picture all that and instead of a new town, you are in a foreign country where you don't speak the language, you aren't familiar with the culture, and its natives hate you purely because you are a westerner: white, blonde, and blue-eyed. This is what Emma facing and she's no ...more
Mar 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
A well-written book with an extremely unlikeable character. A captivating setting and premise was tarnished by a selfish protagonist.

Full review forthcoming on
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
i loved it i was intereaged the whole way through , and the ending is good just not what your expecting
Liz Fichera
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book.
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: meh, mini-review
I got this from Netgalley a week or so ago. I have never heard anything about it, but it looked very interesting.

Emma, the main character is pretty likable. A couple times, I thought she whined too much. Also, she made some bad decisions. However, she developed throughout the story, which was good. She had a backbone, and she didn't just stand there while people yelled at her.

Mustapha was a pretty good love interest. It seemed like it sped up a bit too much, at the end. Overall, though, he was
Overall a good read. Excellent use of language, writing style, and the main character was well formed. The reader can understand her motivations, her feelings and her development.

Here were the issues I had:

I kinda wish we'd gotten to see the main character happy, because when the book begins we only get her memories of being happy. That is just my opinion.

I mostly felt that there are a few chapters missing. It's like Point A went to Point C, without Point B. Mostly I felt this in regards to the
Vidya Tiru
Nov 26, 2013 rated it liked it
For me, this read was a quick read that I enjoyed. I loved that the characters developed throughout the story though I cannot honestly say I liked the characters much. They endeared themselves in some scenes of the book but not overall. The plot was fast-paced but sometimes a little over-the-top for me.
I especially joined the scenes that Emma shares with the gardener at the school - those scenes were among the most realistic ones.
Overall, a nice quick read..
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was uncertain about this YA novel, but it surprised me with its fast-pace and appealing characters. The author's examination of the clash between cultures was well-presented from the view point of a teenager who is also dealing with the separation of her parents. The writing is clear, but not exactly exceptional.
Kendall H
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this story quite a bit. I love reading about different cultures, and having a Canadian embassy kid in Pakistan was a new mix for me. The cultural element of the story was well done, as was the realistic teen issues of parental divorce and possible school romance. I recommend this book.
Dec 07, 2013 rated it liked it
An interesting premise (Canadian teen in Pakistan) a bit undone by the characterization (I realize the main character wasn't supposed to be particularly likable in the early part of the book, but I never warmed to her). A strong three stars.
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An “Infidel in paradise” is neither about an infidel nor set in paradise. A majority of people may agree that Pakistan isn’t full of rainbows but no place is, and a blood shed country is the perfect place for a know-it-all teen who’s “seen” everything to finish 11th grade. In this book you cannot tell what is fictional and what is real, so let me help you, Mustapha’s charm and affection is fictional, but her sister's annoyance is real, hope that helped you! This book shows complete humility, so ...more
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
Wonderfully descriptive of life in Pakistan, this would be a great novel for opening teens up to cultural sensitivities. Readers will identify with Emma's struggle after her parent's separation and the level of danger from the locale adds intrigue.
Laurie Cybulski
Oct 19, 2016 rated it liked it
An Infidel in Paradise tells the story of Emma, a diplomat's daughter who has a hard time adjusting to the double whammy of being relocated to Pakistan and her parents' divorce. The best parts of this book are when Emma struggles to cope with the alienation that moving causes and the anger at her mother for being chronically absent. Those parts of the novel felt visceral and real to me. You could feel the turmoil from what was written.

The other half of the book deals with Emma making friends and
Asha Loves Apple Juice
Pretty good book. REALLY unlikable, snobby, disrepectful, main character. Would've liked to see more brother-sister relationship growth. Mustapha and Aisha were great characters; the opposite of the main character. The last 5 pages were boring. Overall, it was alright for a first book. Probably would not recommend.
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Following a Canadian girl who has lived in a variety of vountries for her mother's job, An Infidel in Paradise was a well written book about family and learning from new cultural experiences. The kind of book you would expect to see on a diverse reads lists yet don't. . .
Arianna M
Feb 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
A quick read. It's okay, but has all of the expected nuance of a Western teenager in a different land. Rebellious, spoiled and judgmental becomes "oh you're not so bad after all".
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
Originally posted at A Girl that Likes Books

I received this book as part of the LybraryThing Early Review and here is my review

What's the book about?

Emma is a sixteen year old girl who happens to be in a diplomatic family with her mom making part of the diplomatic body of the Canadian embassy. After her parents have separated, her mother gets transferred to Islamabad, Pakistan. Here Emma will have to "re start" her life and will meet other diplomat kids at the international school, as well as s
****** YOU CAN READ THIS REVIEW AND MORE ON mylink Corralling Books

Emma seemed like a girl who never knew what she had until she almost lost it. She constantly whined and acted younger than her age at the start of the book, which did irritate me a lot, as I felt she didn't appreciate what she had. She did grow, however, and by the end of the book, she was a likeable character for me.

Now for Mustapha. He was the most dislikable character for me. I felt he was leading on Emma the whole time! I ju
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Susan Laidlaw has twenty years experience as a teacher and counselor in schools and clinical settings around the world. She has published articles on parenting and has led workshops for parents and professional educators on a diverse range of topics related to raising and working with third culture children. When she isn't backpacking through Asia or birdwatching around her island home in Honduras ...more

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