Published by Simon Pulse on May 23, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Religious, Social Issues, Young Adult
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Caroline Kelly is excited to be spending her summer vacation working at the local amusement park with her best friend, exploring weird Ohio with her boyfriend, and attending soccer camp with the hope she’ll be her team’s captain in the fall.
But when Caroline’s mother is hired to open an eye clinic in Cairo, Egypt, Caroline’s plans are upended. Caroline is now expected to spend her summer and her senior year in a foreign country, away from her friends, her home, and everything she’s ever known.
With this move, Caroline predicts she’ll spend her time navigating crowded streets, eating unfamiliar food, and having terrible bouts of homesickness. But when she finds instead is a culture that surprises her, a city that astounds her, and a charming, unpredictable boy who challenges everything she thought she knew about life, love, and privilege.
Guys, I have the perfect summer read for you! Best part? It comes from the author who brought us the swoony and feels filled Where the Stars Still Shine, the super creepy The Devil You Know and the book I STILL need to read (cause everyone I know raves about it) Something Like Normal. That’s right, Trish Doller newest release, In a Perfect World, is perfect for your beach bag, pool side reading or your picnic basket. Not only does this one deliver on the swoons, but it also has a very timely and important message that makes it a MUST READ this summer
Before I give you more of my review, I want to share the interview I recently had with Trish. I got to ask her about her inspiration for her latest book, as well as some personal fun facts. Check it out and then keep reading for my review…
An Interview with Trish Doller
Sarah: Can you talk a little bit about what inspired IN A PERFECT WORLD? It’s clear that your thoroughly researched Egypt and it’s culture and customs, was there something in particular that drew you to the country?
TRISH: In the beginning the setting was pretty wide open, but I ended up choosing Egypt because it’s politically messy and tense, yet not boiling over in a way that would make it implausible for a family to move there. And Cairo is a dirty, beautiful, noisy, historically rich, smelly, and impossibly romantic city. The perfect place for a Christian girl to fall in love with a Muslim boy.
Did you know you wanted to tell the story of Caroline and Adam from the moment you met them? They are both such complex and intriguing characters with so many layers. What drew you to their stories?
Each of my books has been different when it comes to what aspect presented itself first. Sometimes it’s character, sometimes it’s setting, which was the case with In a Perfect World. It took some research and discovery to get to the heart of my characters, but the key to Caroline was understanding her history and family that’s when she became most real and Adam evolved in the writing. For example, I didn’t know until I wrote the kushary scene that he was an aspiring chef, but that was the spark that brought him to life. Once all the pieces fell into place, I had a story I was very excited to tell.
As I read IN A PERFECT WORLD, I kept reflecting on how timely and important the overall message is. Can you share with us what you hope readers take away from it?
My hope is that readers will fall in love with a sweet and charming boy who struggles to do right by his faith, aspires to be a chef, respects his family, and improves his English by reading Harry Potter. In doing so, readers will see that the vast majority of Muslims are ordinary people. And I hope readers will, like Caroline, open their hearts and minds to a larger, better world.
I love to ask authors to share fun, little known facts about themselves. What are some tidbits of information that you think your readers would love to know about you?
- I was born in Germany and still have family who lives there.
- The first song I played on my first night working as a radio deejay was Roxanne by The Police.
- My all-time favorite song is Train in Vain by The Clash.
- If I could eat just one food for the rest of my life, it would be sushi.
- When I worked as a reporter, my best interviews were with Bob Newhart, Jeff Foxworthy (who laughed at one of my jokes), and Alice Cooper (to whom I confessed that I used to pretend to be him when I was little).
If you could visit the home of any fictional character in the history of literature, who would you pick and why?
I’m not sure it counts as a home, but I would love to visit London Below in Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I’m not sure I would survive, but then again Richard Mayhew did, so I’d at least stand a chance!
In a Perfect World is a thoughtful coming-of-age romance set against the stunning backdrop of Cairo, Egypt. When we fist meet Caroline she is struggling with her mother’s decision to move to a completely new and unfamiliar country. Instead of spending the summer with her BFF and boyfriend in her familiar hometown. she is Cairo-bound with her mom and completely unprepared for the adventure that lies ahead of her. I appreciate how Trish Doller approached this complete upheaval in Caroline’s life and didn’t gloss over the fact that most young women would be completely overwhelmed and frankly, devastated, at the prospect of leaving their entire life behind for a new beginning in a strange land. Caroline first impressions and initial experience felt so familiar and although I’ve never moved halfway across the world, I could totally relate to her experience as the “new girl”.
As much as I loved the romance and swoons that were abundant in this book. what I loved most was the total immersion in to the Egyptian culture. I loved discovering Cairo along with Caroline. It’s markets, music, food, culture and people. It was evident that Trish Doller put so much research, time and effort in getting this book right. I can’t say with absolute certainty if she DID in fact get it right, but I CAN say that as the reader, it felt authentic and seemed written with careful consideration. In a Perfect World is a timely book with an important message of acceptance, inclusion and understanding.
Ultimately, this book is one of discovery. That special time of realizing who you are as a person and how you fit into the world around you. It’s human nature to search for a home wherever you may be, and this book is a beautiful story of how Caroline does just that.