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.
As a note, an ARC/ finished copy of this novel was sent to me by the publisher and or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions in any way.
In a Perfect World has a lot of elements I love in a YA contemporary. The main character that’s taken out of her comfort zone. A breathtaking, swoon inducing love interest and an involved loving family. Yet, it also has things that you don’t come across that often. There was an Egyptian setting, tons of culture and diversity, and in depth talk about privilege. This book was so much more than meets the eye and I loved every page.
Caroline was a fabulous main character. She was likable and easy to relate to. She took all these big changes as easy as one could expect. I loved that she wasn’t whiny or bratty about having to spontaneously move away from her home. Her parents were very involved in her life and the story! That’s something that always makes me happy.
Trish Doller can write some chemistry. There were sparks as soon as Caroline and Adam met. Of course, things were very complicated for them. Adam is Muslim and Caroline is not. Adam’s family had some pretty tough opinions on dating, let alone dating a girl that wasn’t Muslim. So there’s a bit of a forbidden romance thing going on. Swoon! The chemistry just sizzled off the page. Adam was sweet and shy, but he really stood up for what he wanted. Their feelings for each other felt so sincere. They were one of the best couples I’ve read in a long time.
The setting was a huge surprise love for me. Trish Doller brought the setting to life. I love that she included the beautiful touristy locations along with the grittier, poorer side of Cairo. There was an amazing amount of Egyptian culture in this story. I learned a lot of interesting new things about Islam. Caroline is also forced to face her privilege head on. All of this stuff fits into the story perfectly. It didn’t feel forced at all! This made the book so much more than a summer YA romance. I learned things. It was amazing!
Caroline and Adam start their relationship pretty early in the story, and this isn’t a long book. I was afraid it was either going to break my heart or be unrealistic. I shouldn’t have worried because it was absolutely perfect. There’s just so much to love about it. I’m still thinking about the characters. That’s always the mark of an incredible book for me. Add this one to your Summer TBR!
Format: Paperback ARC