An Infidel in Paradise by S.J. Laidlaw

15767359An Infidel in Paradise by S.J. Laidlaw
Tundra Books
272 pages
Pakistan, High School, Romance
How I obtained the book
Netgalley, E-galley


Set in Pakistan, this is the story of a teen girl living with her mother and siblings in a diplomatic compound. As if getting used to another new country and set of customs and friends isn’t enough, she must cope with an increasingly tense political situation that becomes dangerous with alarming speed. Her life and those of her sister and brother depend on her resourcefulness and the unexpected help of an enigmatic Muslim classmate.

Where do I start? AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE is about a girl who has moved to Pakistan and has to adjust to living there which basically means it’s a high school drama set in well, Pakistan. That’s really at AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE was – a high school drama. The plot promises a YA political thriller. I mean, it actually says this in the plot summary:

an increasingly tense political situation that becomes dangerous with alarming speed

But then again it says this in the plot summary…

an enigmatic Muslim classmate

And everyone knows when a plot has the word “enigmatic” in it, it’s usually about a romance not what it actually promises. In fact, I don’t think I’ve read one books with the word “enigmatic” in the plot summary that didn’t have romance as the main focus… (seriously guys, if you can find one non-romance focused book with the word “enigmatic” in the summary, I’ll send you some chocolate).

My biggest overall complaint is the simple fact that AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE glorified cheating. I don’t think this is the intent because of some key plot moments but even so, it was there.

The love interest, Mustapha, is engaged to Aisha. Emma comes in and starts flirting with Mustapha, trying to get him to leave Aisha (who he admitted to loving). That’s what the main story is about. Aisha is portrayed as the jealous bitch even though she’s just trying to get Emma to stop. Emma even acknowledges that she is flirting with Mustapha but she continues throughout the book.

Cheating is not okay. I don’t give a damn if it’s because you love her (you don’t). Cheating will never be ok. Mustapha is also to blame since he seems to want the best of both worlds, both Aisha and Emma.


The main character in the novel is where many of my complaints center since she’s so infuriating. I really wanted to strangle her around twenty times, which isn’t really that much but I restrained myself – a lot. Emma hates every person with boobs really.

If the girl looks at her the wrong way, she giving her death glares. If a girl dresses a certain way, she has to be an idiot. There’s one character where Emma takes one look at her and nicknames her Hip-Hop Barbie. The little adjectives here and there make it very obvious that she thinks that everyone is an idiot to her genius.

Emma seems to think that the world revolves around her. Everyone in her family is mad? Obviously, the only reason they could be annoyed is because of her. I mean, it couldn’t be any other reason!

The other characters were stereotypes. There was the ice queen bitch who hates the main character, the amazing handsome wonderful love interest, the idiot friends who don’t know as much as the amazing wonderful main character, the angsty little brother who hates the main character, the understanding teacher, the parent who is like totes annoying and doesn’t understand our main character … I could go on and on.

The only character I’ll go over is Aisha, or better known as ice queen (she was seriously called Ice Queen). Aisha was that bitch who takes one look at Emma and WAAHH I HATES YOU AND I WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE MISERABLE 4EVER. Except, in this one, I totally agree with that sentiment. Sure, it was weird that she immediately hated Emma but the first time she met Emma, Emma flirted with her fiancé and disrespected Aisha’s country. I would hate her too , oh wait I do.

Plot and Writing
As I said, the plot is very disappointing. The only “political tension” in the book is at say 75% and it’s only mentioned a bit before forgotten in favour of the romance. The “political tension” comes back at the very end in an odd and sudden terrorist attack but that’s it.

The summary says that …her life and those of her sister and brother depend on her resourcefulness and the unexpected help of an enigmatic Muslim classmate. but honestly Emma’s life is not in danger and Mustapha isn’t really doing any helping.

The plot summary is a LIAR.

The one positive thing in this book is the writing. Though, childish and mediocre at times (well most of the time but who’s counting right?), some of the descriptions for the places were truly amazing. I felt like I was right there with Emma at times. That was awesome.

Likes and Dislikes
– Writing

– Everything else

In conclusion
I really hated AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.


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