The Egypt Book I Wanted: In a Perfect World by Trish Doller

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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.

Source: GoodReads

I love books about travel.  I love emerging myself into other country’s history and culture.  If done right a book about traveling will very easily end up on my favorites lists since I’ll feel like I’m emerging into a whole new world.  If done wrong, it will have me raging so hard.

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Luckily, for Trish Doller In a Perfect World had me smiling throughout the entire book.  Was it perfect, no there were some parts that were a little unbelievable, but I think overall the general feel of the novel worked.

Full disclosure I have never been to Egypt or anywhere near that area of the world, but from what I read it did seem like Doller did her research.  Or at the very least, she did a better job than Colleen Houck did with that God awful mummy book of hers, which isn’t exactly a high bar.  And it did address the geopolitical issues in the area that many other books that take place in the area often overlook.

The Egypt that Doller depicts is multi-dimension you see the good and bad bits of it, and above else it feels real.  I think the fact that the location itself is a character, its much the same way where I felt that Paris and San Fransisco were a character in themselves in Stephanie Perkins books.

The plot of this book isn’t really there that much.  Sure, there is a love story and sure the character grows, but it’s not that plot heavy.  And maybe that’s why I didn’t really like what happened to the eye clinic at the end of the book.  It just seemed too random and out of place more than anything else.  Merely a way to end the story sooner rather than later.

And while I understand why Doller chose this plot point, it still came off a little cheap.  Just like the end of the book.  Don’t get me wrong, the romantic part of me liked the ending but the more realistic part of my brain was crying foul since I know that the situation would be a lot more complicated than Doller made it seem though.

That aside though, I really did like this book a lot.  It’s the perfect summer book for escapism.  The characters were depicted and their parents were more than just merely there because-hey, seventeen year olds need parents.

The main character’s parents, in particular, are well drawn out and felt like real people.  I particularly liked the father’s relationship with Caroline throughout the book.

I also liked the romance for the most part too.  The relationship builds up realistically and it does address the problems that the two characters are going to face.  Again though, not such a big fan of the ending even though it was cute.

If you can’t get away this summer and want something that can transport you to another location if only for a few hours.  This is your book.

Overall Rating: A-

Where the Stars Still Shine: Trish Doller

 

Book Cover Doller Where the Stars Still Shine

If you know me, you know I liked to watch bad Lifetime movies.  I’ve actually reviewed quite a few of them for this blog.  And when I read the summary of this book, it sounded a bit like a bad Lifetime movie (a kidnapped child reunited with their custodial parent).  And a lot of my friends-who are hard critics loved it.  So, automatic read, right?  Well, I had other die hard critic fans that hated it.

 

My verdict: It’s okay.

 

If it was just for the plot and style this book would be getting an A plus.  I read it within the span of three hours.  Grant it, I was highly stressed when I read it which meant I finished it in record time with little moaning.  But if it was truly groan worthy I would’ve been bitching a lot more than I did.

 

I also loved how the book took place in Florida.  While I don’t like in the sunshine state, I have made many a trips to different parts (i.e. not just Orlando) of Florida.  And I also loved how she decided to give Callie a rich heritage.  While Callie might’ve found some of that Greek food disgusting, I found my mouth watering.

Really, how can you not like dolmas?

 

Okay, I get how you can not like them.  They might not look the most appetizing, but they are delicious.  Really delicious.

 

Really the setting and the utilization were probably Doller’s strongest strengths in what is a rather interesting story for the most part.  The problem: well, the characters…

 

I will say that not all the characters are bad.  I did like the dad character and the stepmother.  And Callie’s big Greek family was pretty cool.  But, the lead character.  Ugh.

 

I actually feel a bit conflicted about Callie.  I get that she’s supposed to be fucked up.  And I do think in that regard Doller really succeeded.  But God, this is one character I just wanted to smack.  She is self absorbed on so many levels, makes bad life choices, and has to deal with little to no consequences.  And I sort of get given the way she was raised this is expected, but at the same time I wanted her to develop as a character.  Instead, it seems she was enabled to be the brat that she was.

 

Maybe part of the problem was that most of the book seemed to be confined to a small time frame.  Developing character in that sort of time is sort of difficult, but I have to say Callie really, really, got annoying fast.  Much like her love interest.

 

Alex isn’t the worst YA love interest I ever read, but he’s by far not the best.  I guess in some ways he acted how a real guy would act.  But man, he was a bit of a jerk and a man  ho.  And it’s not like he was Callie’s only choice.

 

Really?  Why do all the guys in this book even want her.  I mean, everyone wants this dipshit.  I just don’t get it because she acts like such an ass.

 

Actually, I can sort of get the Alex thing.  All they want to do is have sex.  Well, and that automatically turns into love according to many daytime TV programs.  And that to me is really annoying.  While I get that they have physical chemistry and that’s great and all, I sort of wish that Callie would develop a healthy relationship.  I sort of thought Conner got the bum end of the stick and if developed more they could’ve been pretty interesting together.  But I’m not going to complain (much).

 

Besides, Callie the character that annoyed me the most was Kat.  My sister loves the ABC show, The Middle.  I cannot stand said show mainly because of the character, Sue.  Kat reminds me of Sue.  Over eager, annoying, and just  plain cringe worthy.  I really didn’t even understand her desire to be besties with Callie, it wasn’t like she didn’t already have friends already….

 

Overall, I rate this one as average.  While the story and setting were engaging enough, the characters really drove down some of the appeal.  In the end, I really didn’t end up loving or hating this one.  I just have sort of an average feeling for it.

 

Overall Rating: Six out of ten stars.