In a Perfect World by Trish Doller
When her mother’s dream of opening an eye clinic for the underprivileged in Cairo, Egypt, comes true, Caroline is forced to give up her fun summer plans with her boyfriend and best friend. Not to mention her senior year in the only place she’s ever called home. She’s moving to Cairo with Mom and Dad. Summer in Cairo is going to be weird. Mom will be super busy with work and Dad travels for his job so Caroline will be on her own. Because safety for women in the Middle East is notoriously iffy, Caroline’s parents arrange for a driver to take her wherever she wants to go, every day. They are hoping she gets to know the city, sees the sites, and will maybe meet some people her age. When her sweet, fatherly, Egyptian driver becomes ill, he has his adorably gorgeous teenage son, Adam, take over. And take over, he does. Despite their many, many, many differences, it doesn’t take long for Caroline and Adam to fall madly in love. What follows is a love story with the Nile and the legendary sites of Egypt as a backdrop, with danger and judgement as a possibility, with the differences in religion and dreams a contentious reality (Caroline’s dreams are big, Adam’s are small). Can love conquer all?
Although I adored this sweet romance, my favorite parts of this book were the Egyptian culture, descriptions of Egyptian landmarks, and truths of the Muslim faith. Part of Trish Doller’s description of culture included the food (Adam wishes he could be a chef and is obsessed with food) and she made it sound delicious. Doller is an excellent creative writer. Not only could I imagine how the food tasted, I could also imagine how the traffic sounded, how hot the sand felt, and how the scent of the Nile’s wet earth smelled from the balcony of Caroline’s apartment.