Memphis grew up traveling the world with her father, visiting archeological digs and learning lost languages and cultures. But when her father died unexpectedly, her life changed to boring, normal school with people who think they know more than she does under the watchful eyes of her guardians, friends she never knew her father had.
Until one evening she realizes a shadowy figure is following her. When she catches him by surprise, Memphis meets Ash, sent by an ancient cult to discover the secret her father might have been able to solve. Memphis finds out her dad is still alive, held captive by another ancient cult also after the icons to be found if the secret is revealed.
There’s no way Ash can decipher the clues and find the icons himself. And Memphis doesn’t know where her father is being held. They’ll have to work together for them both to get what they want.
I Do Not Trust You had such an intriguing premise: adventure, ancient cults, archeological mysteries…but the delivery was a bit short on the adventure front. Memphis was a great character, just a touch naïve, which makes sense, considering she hasn’t had much interaction with people her own age. I loved her intelligence, and her determination. Ash…was just kind of “meh” for me. He wasn’t horrible, just kind of wishy-washy. But this was still a fun, quick read.
Laura J. Burns grew up on Long Island. Melinda Metz grew up in San Jose, California. I Do Not Trust You is the duo’s newest novel.
(Galley provided by St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)
Yasmine El Rashidi has written for New York Review of Books and other outlets about the Egyptian revolution and culture.Chronicle of a Last Summer is her first novel.
In 1984 Cairo, a six-year-old girl watches the world around her change. Her father goes away. Her mother retreats into herself. Memories take on a life of their own as her city begins to change. The book next turns to the summer of 1998, when the girl is a college student, studying film. She begins to question the world around her, and the upheaval that Egypt experiences. No one speaks of her father. She has no idea where he is, or why he left. Her cousin urges her to become involved in the political struggles, but she continues to observe as the tumult grows. Finally, the novel comes to 2014, when the girl is now a writer and filmmaker. Her father has returned, and she finds out much more about what took him away—and where he’s been. This revelation shapes her impressions of Egypt in the aftermath of the overthrow of President Mubarak.
Chronicle of a Last Summer is a quiet, introspective novel set amidst the turmoil of Egypt—a turmoil that most westerners are probably oblivious to. Thought it is a thoughtful story, instead of an action-packed one, it immerses the reader in the culture and history of Cairo with a vividness that brings the city to vibrant life.
(Galley provided by Crown Publishing via NetGalley.)