Parents' Guide to

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know

By Nayanika Kapoor, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Charming story mixes art history and teen romance in Paris.

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This endearing story is well-written and impeccably weaves history into Khayyam's coming-of-age. Khayyam is a strong but vulnerable character, and teens will relate to a lot of the internal conflict that she deals with -- about her goals, romantic relationships, and her own identity. This novel deals with colonialism, sexism, and racism, especially the historical roots, in a very approachable way, and readers will learn how important these topics are in understanding history. Readers will also get a realistic glimpse into French and Indian culture, and how they inform Khayyam's life as a child of immigrants.

The romantic relationships in Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know will keep readers entertained. Will she choose the cute, easy option, or will she try and make it work with a boy she has her own history with? While the love stories are charming and engaging, they don't overwhelm the story, and the positive messages are clear and meaningful. Socially aware teens will see a lot of the same questions that they ask themselves, and relate to her struggles. The art history can be dense at times, for those unfamiliar with the context, but readers will learn a lot from the stories of Dumas, Delacroix and Leila.

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