Cover Image: Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know

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Member Reviews

Unfortunately, I had to DNF this one because I'd been trying to read it for months and just couldn't get into it. Skimmed the rest and read the author's note at the end, though, and it seems really, really interesting! Hopefully I'll be able to give it another try someday. Maybe when I don't have pandemic brain.
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For some reason this book didn't hook me as I thought it would. The personalities of most of the characters in this story are prominent, but I found myself getting bored and my attention frequently drift away to other things.
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I have so many thoughts about this book I don't even know where to begin. I want to start out by saying that in terms of originality, I've never read a book quite like this one before and that in itself is something I enjoyed. I love discovering new concepts of fiction and stories because it expands my knowledge and imagination greatly. This was also my first Samira Ahmed book and one of the things I enjoyed the most about this book was her writing style. There were a few times it felt like the sentence ran off a little bit, but other than that it was just beautiful. The imagery was insightful, but not too flowery. There was a lot of attention to detail which is something I personally appreciate. I felt like she did a good job being able to transport me to Paris with her characters and go on this adventure alongside them. With that being said, I unfortunately didn't love the characters as much as I thought I would and the plot was interesting, but I don't think it was entirely up my alley. 


Deep diving into the characters, there were things I liked and disliked about most of them. On a positive note, I actually found Leila's story to be really interesting and almost wish it was a little longer. She was a very strong and prominent figure that I would have liked to get to know more of. I think that Khayyam, being that she was in high school, was on this journey not only to uncover history but to learn more about herself. I appreciated that she stood up for herself, corrected the male characters when they needed to be checked, and learned to find her voice. With that being said, one of the most annoying things in this book was the petty relationship situation going on. Things weren't clear on if she was still dating her "boyfriend" or not, and it seemed that they were still together. Instead of confronting him about it she decides to make him jealous using another guy. I was just not a huge fan of all the lying, deceit, and pettiness that was intertwined among the romantic relationships. It also shocked me how fast Khayyam suddenly had feelings for this boy she happens to run into in Paris. At least to me, it was unrealistic. Zaid's character was a jerk. Alexandre's character was charming, a bit too charming, and then turned out to also be a bit of a jerk. It was just difficult for me at times to root for these characters when I couldn't find them super likable. 


Finally, in regards to the plot, I did find the mystery that Khayyam was trying to uncover interesting at first. There were moments I was really invested in uncovering the next mystery to lead us to this unknown women. My issue with some parts of the plot was that it all got really jumbled so it was difficult for me to keep track of each person. I still don't think I fully understood each individual character and their role in Leila's story. I also found the transition from uncovering historical secrets to relationship drama and kissing was kind of unnecessary. Totally a personal opinion, but again, it was hard to get invested into the sleuthing when it was disrupted constantly. 


As a whole, there was so much to appreciate about this book and I'm glad I read it. I don't think this book was entirely for me because I'm not super interested in history and art as much as other people might be. With all that being said, the themes of feminism and strong women were prominent and I was really happy to read about that. 


Writing: 8/10
Characters: 6/10
Plot: 6/10
Ending: 8/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall: 37/50
Cover: 8/10
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I was super excited for Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know because I absolutely loved Love, Hate, and Other Filters. However, this book just didn't do it for me. 

I can't even provide a comprehensive summary of this story because most of the text left my brain immediately after I read it. There really wasn't anything I cared about: the characters, the plot, the writing style, the dialogue, the contemporary and historical perspectives, the romance--nothing. I was extremely disappointed because Samira Ahmed's writing has definitely made me feel intense emotions and has made me feel a strong liking towards her characters, but I felt nothing but bored while reading this novel. I struggled to finish and felt like I still didn't exactly know what Ahmed's goal was by the time I reached the last page. The romance and mystery, which drove this story, never caught my attention at any point. I can't even remember the characters' names even though I finished the novel a few minutes ago. 

Overall, I found Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know to be terribly disappointing--however, I'll be looking out for future works by Samira Ahmed because I know she's capable of so much more!
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An engaging art history mystery told in dual perspectives, featuring two strong female voices. Brings up some interesting themes of erasure, autonomy, and who gets to tell the story.
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Innovative and original! The two timelines are dabbled in beautifully and you just have the best time being transported into the world of these two girls.
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I really enjoyed Internment by Samira Ahmed so I thought I would love this one. I just thought it was okay, I don't think romance is exactly Ahmed's thing and it felt a little fake or forced so I wasn't a fan of that. I enjoyed the setting of Paris, I felt like I was there. I did like the alternating points of view as well and the representation this book provides. Thank you to the publisher and to netgalley for the advanced copy!
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17-year-old Khayyam Maquet is American, French, Indian, Muslim, and she’s at a crossroads. It seems like her kind of boyfriend has ghosted her, she’s maybe blown her shot at her dream college, and even though she’s on an annual trip to Paris with her family, she’d rather just be at home in Chicago. Her summer gets interesting, however, when she meets a descendant of Alexandre Dumas and may just uncover a cool historical mystery about a woman whose story should be told. Across the centuries, the reader watched not only Khayyam’s story unfold, but that of the mysterious Muslim woman whose paths may have crossed with some of the most remembered writers of their time (men, of course).

I loved the dual narrative, the twist on history, the characters, and the intersecting stories. The jump in POV is a tough choice, and when it’s not done right, it takes away from the story. No such problem here. I loved the back and forth. The stories complimented each other, and I loved Khayyam’s chase for the story.

Only one drawback here, for me. I’m not a huge fan of love triangles, and this one has two of sorts, but the other elements of the story were amazing. I had so much else to focus on, so I didn’t mind it too much. Also, though Khayyam’s caught up in her feelings for two boys, the mysterious woman and the quest to know that woman’s story is what really drives Khayyam, and she’s not some besotted teenager at the mercy of these guys. She makes some hard choices and doesn’t always let her emotions get the best of her. She’s pretty strongly realistic in that way, I think, and I admired her more for it.

This one’s out now in print and audio, so if you’re looking for a summer getaway to Paris from your couch, definitely pick it up.
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I'm just letting y'all know that whilst I'm so grateful for receiving this arc especially as an OwnVoices reviewer and this being my most anticipated release of the year I never got to this cause I was about 15%  through and then Corona threw a huge dent in my life. My apologies and I will no longer miss a deadline this late. 

I will say the 15% I did read I thought was intriguing, well-paced, and thoroughly enjoyable. It's such a unique concept and was so rich in research and atmosphere. It's also a rare story cause you do. not often see books with POC, especially desi characters set in Europe in the modern-day.

Will pick this up soon but I just wanted y'all to know
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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 
Khayyam is on her yearly trip to Paris with her parents and is frustrated with life.  She was denied a prestigious Art award (and belittled while being turned down) and a guy, who never said he was her boyfriend, is not contacting her.  So, while she's out, hoping to prove the Art award committee wrong, she happens to bump into a descendant of Alexandre Dumas-his great, great...grandson.  The two of them pair up, finding clues that will lead them on a hunt that delves into the history of Dumas, Lord Byron, and a Muslim young woman, named Leila.  Mixed in with the hunt for Khayyam's answers are letters between Byron and Leila, as well as some of Leila's history and how she impacted the men. 
I enjoyed the story line, but felt that the overall storytelling was a bit weak.  Perhaps it was a little bit too much of the exposition that could have been shown, or the fact that Khayyam, who is very focused on her award, did some stereotypical waffling between two boys.  It also reminded me a bit of one of my favorites, Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution, as it also moves between time periods-however, again, not quite as strong.
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I tried twice but just can't. It simply didn't work for me. The synopsis sounds great, the concept, premises, title, everything seemed so intriguing until I start reading this book. It was just not my cup of tea.
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Samira Ahmed never disappoints. This was a lovely read, and I look forward to when I can share it with students who are fans of her work. I think they'll enjoy this new facet.
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A brilliant combination of historical fiction, romance and mystery, told from the perspectives of two young women 200 years apart...seriously, what's not to love?! 
Leila and Khayyam's interwoven story was a joy to read and I definitely want to read the author's other works now after this.
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Samira Ahmed's books are always amazing! We can't wait for her to publish more. We didn't love this one as much as some of her others, but a great read nonetheless.
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This was a title that had many worthwhile plot points. I loved the art history aspect as well as the incorporation of the Alexander Dumas' heritage.  There were times when Khayyam's character felt overly strident--especially given her own behavior. Other plot points that concerned me were Khayyam's insistence that Leila's story had to be heard, but only Khayyam was qualified to tell it.  There were multiple assumptions that had to be made--including the idea that Leila's story was not "written" therefore, Leila was discounted, when it could be as simple as a culture that values oral tradition rather than writing. 

Overall, this is a great title for introducing teen readers to the skill of reading using feminist theory, it's a fascinating art mystery, and is likely to be a story that encourages students to research further and even read some of Dumas' works.
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Loved this book and its use of alternating story lines in different periods. 

What I enjoy most about Samira Ahmed's writing is that each book is grounded in history that makes it feel like you're living events right alongside the characters. I would recommend this book for an intermediate high school classroom (grades 9 & 10). It would pair nicely with a chat around the danger of a single story and how narratives shift based on time, space, and the individual.

Worth the read.
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Who is the mysterious woman who inspired Byron's poem The Giaour, which then inspired Delacroix's The Combat of the Giaour and Hassan paintings?  And what is the link to Alexandre Dumas?  Fascinated by the Delacroix, Kayyam has written a paper about her belief that there is a missing painting - this paper should have gotten her into an exclusive art school but instead has lead her to an incredibly dejected and lost summer with her parents in their apartment in Paris.  

On her way to see the Delacroix at the Petit Palais, she meets Alexandre Dumas (the many greats-grandson of the famous author).  They pair up to find some mysterious treasure related to the paintings and Dumas' book The Count of Monte Cristo and somehow Byron's poem.  The places they go to are real: any reader could do a tour of Paris based on this book.  Is the story of Leila real?  Well... there's no evidence of that.  However, it is not implausible given women's lives at that time and the way that some female managed to inspire those three works.

Many are comparing this to Byatt's Possession but I see it more as akin to Donnelly's Revolution.  The blending of history, mystery, real artifacts and the effects of religion and race on art and society are well done; if only the characters had been just as well-rounded.

eARC provided by publisher.
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There is much more than meets the eye in this book. It was more than just a teenage girl and her summer in Paris.  Khayyam is young but brilliant and multifaceted , I enjoyed the depths of her character and world. I also liked how she was confronting real, adult issues while also balancing teen love in a typical YA style. This book was very much like a history mystery novel which was fun. I liked how it was in Paris so we learned more about another world and culture.
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See my review on YALSA's The Hub, where Mad, Bad, & Dangerous to Know is a Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA21) nominee:

http://www.yalsa.ala.org/thehub/2020/06/12/best-fiction-for-young-adults-bfya2021-nominees-round-up-june-12-edition/
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Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know is both smart and fun, and I'd forgotten how rare that is. The mystery of the rumored painting Delacroix gave to Alexander Dumas is a tantalizing puzzle, and Ahmed adds to the fun with smart characters and a budding romance, all set against the backdrop of summer in Paris. The strong feminist themes give the work an even greater depth. This isn't just a story about two dead dudes who were famous--it's a story about women's voices and their ability to tell their own stories. A must-read!
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