Discover New York Times bestseller Samira Ahmed’s romantic, sweeping adventure through the streets of Paris told in alternating narratives that bridge centuries, continents, and the lives of two young Muslim women fighting to write their own stories.
 
Smash the patriarchy. Eat all the pastries.
 
It’s August in Paris and 17-year-old Khayyam Maquet—American, French, Indian, Muslim—is at a crossroads. This holiday with her parents should be a dream trip for the budding art historian. But her maybe-ex-boyfriend is ghosting her, she might have just blown her chance at getting into her dream college, and now all she really wants is to be back home in Chicago figuring out her messy life instead of brooding in the City of Light.

Two hundred years before Khayyam’s summer of discontent, Leila is struggling to survive and keep her true love hidden from the Pasha who has “gifted” her with favored status in his harem. In the present day—and with the company of Alex, a très charmant teen descendant of Alexandre Dumas—Khayyam searches for a rumored lost painting, uncovering a connection between Leila and Alexandre Dumas, Eugène Delacroix, and Lord Byron that may have been erased from history.

Echoing across centuries, Leila and Khayyam’s lives intertwine, and as one woman’s long-forgotten life is uncovered, another’s is transformed.
© Thomas Jones
Samira Ahmed was born in Bombay, India, and grew up in a small town in Illinois in a house that smelled like fried onions, cardamom, and potpourri. A graduate of the University of Chicago, she taught high school English, helped create dozens of small high schools, and fought to secure billions of additional dollars to fairly fund public schools. She's lived in Vermont, Chicago, New York City, and Kauai, where she spent a year searching for the perfect mango. Love, Hate & Other Filters is her first novel. View titles by Samira Ahmed
Khayyam
 
I live in between spaces.
     The borders between nations, the invisible hyphen between words, the wide chasm between “one of us” and me alone.
     French American.
     Indian American.
     Muslim American.
     Biracial. Interfaith. Child of immigrants.
     A Parisienne for one month a year: the month when all the other Parisians flee the city.
     A girl staring at her phone screen, looking for love but knowing it’s not going to show up.
     I didn’t choose any of this. Which is not to say I wouldn’t have, given the opportunity. But it’s not like I ever had the option.
     I don’t even get a say in my diminutives. It’s always “Frenchie” or “la petite Américaine.”
     The people who can’t guess what I am think I’m “exotic.” Some people say I’m lucky to be an ethnomorph—a person whose brown skin, brown hair, and brown eyes make it seem like I could be from half the countries in the world. But I’m not a passport that everyone gets to stamp with a label of their choosing. Others look at me and try to shove me into their own narrative to define who and what I am. But I’m not a blank page that everyone else gets to write on.
     I have my own voice.
     I have my own story.
     I have my own name. It’s Khayyam.
 
 
 
Khayyam
 
I just stepped in dog shit. Bienvenue à Paris.
     Welcome to my life of constant code-switching. Witness my attempts to blend an occasional impulse for Bollywood melodramatics with my flair for complaining like a local. I shouldn’t be cranky, summering in Paris. I should be an expert at dodging excrement on sidewalks and accustomed to tepid service from waiters and sardonic smiles at my fluent but slightly accented French. And I should absolutely be prepared for les grèves—the strikes that bring the Métro to a standstill every single time we’re here.
     I should be French about it and nonchalant.
     Instead, I’m American and have no chill.
     Because it is hot. The air-conditioning is mostly aspirational. And I’m a captive here, since my parents value family vacation tradition more than my desire to stay in Chicago, stewing in self-doubt and woe-is-me pity and the truth universally acknowledged that the forces of entropy attack you on all fronts.
     This is what metaphorical multiple organ failure feels like:
     My head: I have likely, most probably, almost definitely royally screwed up my chances of getting into the School of the Art Institute of Chicago—my dream college that I’ve been shooting for since ninth grade. It is the school if you want to go into art history. Which I do. Obsessively.
     My heart: Belongs to Zaid. Still. Zaid, my not-exactly boyfriend, but only because he never actually called himself my boyfriend, who is thousands of miles away in Chicago.
     My lungs: On top of the dog crap, there’s a railway strike today, somehow precisely coinciding with this heat wave and my arrival in Paris. The air is humid and so thick I’m panting.
     But those are merely symptoms.
     The underlying cause? An essay. Yeah, really.
     The School of the Art Institute is super competitive, so I wanted to find a way to stand out from the pack. I had this brilliant idea to submit an absolutely mind-blowing essay for its Young Scholar Prize. Technically, I was ineligible because you have to be a high school grad to enter. I was only a junior,
and I petitioned the judges to make an exception. I didn’t want a technicality standing in the way of my dreams. Besides, my college counselor told me it would show I have “moxie” and would look great on my college applications. I was certain I had solved a centuries-old art world mystery, proving that Eugène Delacroix had secretly given a painting—one of several—from his Giaour series to the writer Alexandre Dumas, the all for one, one for all dude. Not just any painting in the series—the exact one on display at the Art Institute. I was going to astound the old fogey museum curators with my genius. I would unveil a secret that was hiding in plain sight. I would be the youngest prizewinner ever, an art world darling. I based my entire theory on a single sentence in a twenty-year-old article about Delacroix I found online and followed down a rabbit hole. Apparently fake news is also old news.
     The thing with confidence, though, is that when you’re proven wrong—and holy hell, was I proven wrong—you wither away into the smallest version of yourself. And head judge—now my lifelong nemesis—Celenia Mondego made sure of that. In her words, I had written, “an earnest if ill-conceived attempt at unraveling a mystery of provenance that fell far short of its ambitions due to slipshod research—a catastrophic inability to grasp obvious facts. The work of a dilettante, not a future art historian.”
     The words still stab.
     Maybe I could deal with it better if I didn’t feel so alone, but my person, my I’ll-always-be-there-for-you pseudo boyfriend, graduated from Lab High in June and is apparently so busy getting ready to leave for college that he can’t even pick up the phone—his second favorite appendage. Meanwhile, I’m pleading with myself not to text him again. Clinging like a lifeline to the one text he did send while I was mid-flight: I’ll see you when I see you. p.s. I got Ice Capades. Quoting our thing, our ridiculous thing, an inside joke from our cheesy retro first date movie. I melted. Ugh.
     I keep letting myself forget that it’s at least partly his fault I screwed up my prize essay. Somewhat. Probably. Indirectly. It seemed like every time I was in the library researching or trying to write, he’d sneak up behind me in the stacks and kiss me on the neck. His kisses are highly distracting.
     Basically, I’m seventeen and already washed up. What do I do now?
     Mom would tell me to go easier on myself and to trust my own voice to find a way out.
     Papa would remind me that I’m young and in Paris, a city with pastries on every corner, and that life is still beautiful: C’est la belle vie, chérie.
     Zaid, if he were acknowledging my existence and wasn’t part of my problem, would probably tell me to forget about everything and suggest creative ways in which he might be able to help me with that.
     And Julie, my best friend, who is currently inaccessible because she’s on a Dark-Ages, technology-free family holiday at a cabin in Door County, would tell me to figure out where I want to go and do whatever it takes to get there. Easy for her to say—she’s both an unstoppable force and an immovable object.
     Here’s the thing: I actually know where I want to go. But too many things I can’t control keep getting in my way.
     Sometimes literally.
     With les grèves there’s no Métro, and every electric scooter and bike share is taken. Normally I wouldn’t mind a long, leisurely walk along the quais of the Seine River on the way to the Petit Palais—that’s kind of the point of being in Paris. But I’m reminded that this is why there are no songs about August in Paris, when it’s all tourists and la vie en sweat instead of the Hollywood version of Paris where it’s perpetual spring, when young love and chestnut trees are always in bloom.
     If I believed in fate, I’d say the universe was conspiring against me.
 
 
The courtyard café of the Petit Palais has always been my reliable refuge. I plan on photographing every inch of its meandering path, fragrant plants, blue-and-gold tiled fountains, and, of course, the perfectly pillowy macarons I’ll be inhaling at a small wrought-iron table amongst the blossoms. Luckily, the place is made for Instagram, which is good because I need new content to replace all the dusty old books and archival material I posted in my “ill-conceived” attempt to impress the ultimate we are not amused, judgiest of judges Celenia Mondego.
     Maybe meticulously cataloguing my trip will help me forget my “catastrophic inability” to do anything right.
     And maybe, perhaps, Zaid will see my posts and remember I exist.
     First, though, I need to scrape the remaining dog crap from my red All-Stars.
     I skulk into the shadows of the sculptures of naked women flanking the alabaster staircase that leads to the doors of the Petit Palais. As soon as I bend down to inspect my left sole, I hear someone behind me attempting to stifle a laugh.
     Do not look, Khayyam. Keep your head down.
     “Welcome to Paris!” a honeyed French accent declares in English.
     I roll my eyes. I almost decide to bite back in French, but this arrogant jerk already chose my preferred language for sparring. “How do you know I’m not from Paris?” I ask with my back still turned to him.
     “I’m s-sorry,” the Frenchman stammers.
     I stand and whirl around, ready to go for the jugular, but see that this particular jugular leads to an extremely cute face.
An NPR Favorite Book of 2020
A Forbes Best YA Book of 2020
A Penn GSE Best Book for Young Readers of 2020
An ABA Indie Bestseller
An ABA Spring 2020 Kids’ Indie Next Pick
A Goodreads Most Anticipated for April
A YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2021 Nominee 

Praise for Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know


“Lively and passionate, this book tackles issues of cultural identity and examines which stories are passed down through time – all while indulging in a romantic amateur sleuthing romp through the City of Lights.” 
—NPR.org

“A page-turner.”
Forbes 

“A sweeping, feminist novel about equality and identity.”
Teen Vogue

“Engrossing.”
Ms. Magazine

“A fierce, feminist coming-of-age story.”
Bustle

“Khayyam is in Paris for the summer, fleeing academic and emotional disaster. When she meets Alexandre, a descendant of Dumas, she is drawn into a whirlwind romance—and a quest to solve a historical mystery. But are Alexandre’s motives all they seem? A smart, feminist holiday romance, asking some pointed questions about whose voices are honoured by history.”
—The Guardian

“An engrossing new novel . . . it’ll sweep you off your feet.”
Carole Barrowman, The Morning Blend

“There are, at a minimum, two ways to read Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know. The first is as an escapist young adult romance, with a smart teenage girl, a sort-of ex who ghosted her, a hot French teenager from the Dumas family, parents safely tucked in a Paris apartment, plenty of social media, and Paris in August. Then there's the other, as a hard-hitting work of intersectional feminism and anti-oppression and post-colonialism and history blended with art, wrapped up in the story of one incredible August in Paris . . . I don’t often find a book that simultaneously transports me to the best parts of my childhood while taking me on an anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist, intersectional feminist wish fulfillment fest, but Samira Ahmed’s Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know manages just that.” 
Third Coast Review

“In this her most ambitious novel to date, Ahmed makes art history accessible and uses this opportunity to discuss orientalism and Western narratives about Islam and 'the East' that have been presented in art and literature . . . But she never lets the serious subject matter get in the way of the fun and adventure, especially when breaking into old, abandoned Parisian buildings.”
Asian Review of Books

“The two women’s stories are told in a way that amplifies both of their voices into something unforgettable.”
Kim Bongiorno, Momtastic 

“A wonderful dual POV novel which focuses on the contemporary-set treasure hunt led by Khayyam and a history-embracing tale of Leila. This standalone is filled with history, romance, French pastries, and more, while being both thought provoking and moving.”
The Young Folks

“Ahmed's brilliant novel shows that the familiar journey of being smart, in love, and a little lost is as profound now as it was in the 19th century. Add in a romance in the hidden gardens of Paris and an explosive trove of lost historical letters from a woman almost forgotten and you've got a fresh, thoughtful joyride that you'll want to read with every woman and girl you know.”
Kim Liggett, New York Times bestselling author of The Grace Year  

“Rich, emotional, and inspirational. Samira Ahmed does it again with a work of art that reads like an anthem for the voices silenced throughout history, and a call to raise our own. Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know is a deeply thought-provoking, immersive love story to the hidden histories that dwell within us—and like any good story, it will live in your heart for years to come.”
—Farah Naz Rishi, author of I Hope You Get This Message

“Sharp, insightful and full of complex history and connections, Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know weaves a tapestry between today and the past, creating a story unlike any we’ve seen in modern YA fiction and cementing Samira Ahmed’s place as a must-read author.”
—Sona Charaipotra, author of Symptoms of a Heartbreak

“Another interesting exploration of identity wrapped up in a unique story . . . [Ahmed] continues to delight.”
Eastern Eye

"A lush YA novel."
—Popsugar

“A thoughtful and compelling book about history and the people whose lives are invisible . . . Though romance adds an interesting personal (and modern day) element to Khayyam’s story, Ahmed’s writing shines first and foremost where she has written a complex mystery and social commentary about women in history.”
—The Nerd Daily

“Samira Ahmed spins two mysterious and thrilling tales . . . Once again, the New York Times bestselling author of Love, Hate and Other Filters shows the similarities and overlaps of cultures and religions that we would never think to link together.”
Book Riot

“There’s something for everyone: Romance, nerdy art history, a summer in Paris, and a slowly unraveling mystery . . . it's a unique and inspiring story that manages to pull off something incredible.”
Rich in Color

“An ambitious project . . . a pastry-rich and knowledgeable portrait of Paris, with details that redolently evoke but never overwhelm, and Khayyam is an interesting and cosmopolitan protagonist (she’s French, American, and Muslim and comments thoughtfully on the contradictions and intersections of those cultures) with an unusual vocation. Altogether, it’s a Parisian romance with a seasoning of intrigue, a dollop of feminism, a soupçon of caper action, and a lashing of scholarship.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Ahmed explores weighty themes including Orientalism, women silenced by history, and the responsibility of sharing their unheard voices . . . An entertaining tale that will appeal most to fans of art history and literature.”
Kirkus Reviews 

“Ahmed pulls readers into a picturesque Parisian setting that brings the mellifluous language and customs to life, which makes a perfect backdrop for an art mystery . . . With a determination to give voice to a woman whose story has been erased from the pages of history, Ahmed offers yet another well-wrought and dynamic novel.” 
Booklist

“A multi- faceted blend of contemporary and historical intrigue.”
Publishers Weekly

“A whirl through 19th-century hidden drawers, libraries, salons, letters, hashish clubs, mansions, and tales of squandered monies with a descendant of Alexander Dumas and a determined young Muslim woman, on a quest to determine who has the right to #writeherstory. Perfect for romantically and historically inclined teens.”
School Library Journal

“If I wasn't already a librarian, archivist and history lover I certainly would want to be after reading this. Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know is a lovely book about history, secrets, loyalty and life’s journey. Ahmed successfully captures the thrill of solving a good old fashioned mystery with sound research, breaking and entering, and a little bit of Google. I can't wait for the movie!”
—Amy Vidlak Girmscheid, Director, Sandwich Public Library District

 “Ahmed blends art history, romance, passion and purpose as vibrant brush strokes on a canvas in this passionate narrative about the power of the past to influence the present.”
—Julia Torres, Teacher/Librarian, Denver Public Schools
 
Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know follows two Muslim girls, separated by centuries, as one tries to track down the missing history of the other. Readers will be entranced as Khayyam puts together the pieces of Leila’s story . . . Samira Ahmed deftly weaves history, classic literature, an art mystery, and a complicated romance.”
—Rachel Strolle, Teen Librarian, Glenside Public Library District


“Khayyam Maquet is determined to make her mark as an art historian, but she finds herself disillusioned and distracted by both a scholarly setback and a not-quite boyfriend who is suddenly ghosting her. Her annual family visit to Paris doesn't feel like much of a vacation until she literally runs into the dreamy descendant of the novelist at the center of her research who presents her with a priceless opportunity. Art history puzzles and romance abound in this book, and I loved the intertwining narratives of Khayyam's adventures and a mysterious 19th-century woman who may be the key to deciphering everything. Khayyam is a top-tier heroine and her infectious enthusiasm for both art history and making sure that marginalized voices get a chance to tell their own stories are the beating heart of this book.”
Julia Steiner, Book Cellar (Chicago, IL)

Praise for Samira Ahmed
 
“Heartfelt . . . Ahmed deftly and incisively explores the complicated spaces between 'American and Indian and Muslim' in modern America.”
Teen Vogue

“A compulsively readable, totally adorable coming-of-age rom-com with a serious, and timely, side.”
—Cosmopolitan 
 
“This smart, heartbreaking, honest debut novel is as timely as it is hopeful. Ahmed tackles weighty issues with thoughtfulness and flair. I was completely swept away.”
—Sandhya Menon, New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi
 
“Love, Hate & Other Filters made me laugh and made me cry . . . [Maya’s story] is one that will stay with me forever. A much-needed addition to the young adult canon.”
—Aisha Saeed, author of Written in the Stars
 



About

Discover New York Times bestseller Samira Ahmed’s romantic, sweeping adventure through the streets of Paris told in alternating narratives that bridge centuries, continents, and the lives of two young Muslim women fighting to write their own stories.
 
Smash the patriarchy. Eat all the pastries.
 
It’s August in Paris and 17-year-old Khayyam Maquet—American, French, Indian, Muslim—is at a crossroads. This holiday with her parents should be a dream trip for the budding art historian. But her maybe-ex-boyfriend is ghosting her, she might have just blown her chance at getting into her dream college, and now all she really wants is to be back home in Chicago figuring out her messy life instead of brooding in the City of Light.

Two hundred years before Khayyam’s summer of discontent, Leila is struggling to survive and keep her true love hidden from the Pasha who has “gifted” her with favored status in his harem. In the present day—and with the company of Alex, a très charmant teen descendant of Alexandre Dumas—Khayyam searches for a rumored lost painting, uncovering a connection between Leila and Alexandre Dumas, Eugène Delacroix, and Lord Byron that may have been erased from history.

Echoing across centuries, Leila and Khayyam’s lives intertwine, and as one woman’s long-forgotten life is uncovered, another’s is transformed.

Author

© Thomas Jones
Samira Ahmed was born in Bombay, India, and grew up in a small town in Illinois in a house that smelled like fried onions, cardamom, and potpourri. A graduate of the University of Chicago, she taught high school English, helped create dozens of small high schools, and fought to secure billions of additional dollars to fairly fund public schools. She's lived in Vermont, Chicago, New York City, and Kauai, where she spent a year searching for the perfect mango. Love, Hate & Other Filters is her first novel. View titles by Samira Ahmed

Excerpt

Khayyam
 
I live in between spaces.
     The borders between nations, the invisible hyphen between words, the wide chasm between “one of us” and me alone.
     French American.
     Indian American.
     Muslim American.
     Biracial. Interfaith. Child of immigrants.
     A Parisienne for one month a year: the month when all the other Parisians flee the city.
     A girl staring at her phone screen, looking for love but knowing it’s not going to show up.
     I didn’t choose any of this. Which is not to say I wouldn’t have, given the opportunity. But it’s not like I ever had the option.
     I don’t even get a say in my diminutives. It’s always “Frenchie” or “la petite Américaine.”
     The people who can’t guess what I am think I’m “exotic.” Some people say I’m lucky to be an ethnomorph—a person whose brown skin, brown hair, and brown eyes make it seem like I could be from half the countries in the world. But I’m not a passport that everyone gets to stamp with a label of their choosing. Others look at me and try to shove me into their own narrative to define who and what I am. But I’m not a blank page that everyone else gets to write on.
     I have my own voice.
     I have my own story.
     I have my own name. It’s Khayyam.
 
 
 
Khayyam
 
I just stepped in dog shit. Bienvenue à Paris.
     Welcome to my life of constant code-switching. Witness my attempts to blend an occasional impulse for Bollywood melodramatics with my flair for complaining like a local. I shouldn’t be cranky, summering in Paris. I should be an expert at dodging excrement on sidewalks and accustomed to tepid service from waiters and sardonic smiles at my fluent but slightly accented French. And I should absolutely be prepared for les grèves—the strikes that bring the Métro to a standstill every single time we’re here.
     I should be French about it and nonchalant.
     Instead, I’m American and have no chill.
     Because it is hot. The air-conditioning is mostly aspirational. And I’m a captive here, since my parents value family vacation tradition more than my desire to stay in Chicago, stewing in self-doubt and woe-is-me pity and the truth universally acknowledged that the forces of entropy attack you on all fronts.
     This is what metaphorical multiple organ failure feels like:
     My head: I have likely, most probably, almost definitely royally screwed up my chances of getting into the School of the Art Institute of Chicago—my dream college that I’ve been shooting for since ninth grade. It is the school if you want to go into art history. Which I do. Obsessively.
     My heart: Belongs to Zaid. Still. Zaid, my not-exactly boyfriend, but only because he never actually called himself my boyfriend, who is thousands of miles away in Chicago.
     My lungs: On top of the dog crap, there’s a railway strike today, somehow precisely coinciding with this heat wave and my arrival in Paris. The air is humid and so thick I’m panting.
     But those are merely symptoms.
     The underlying cause? An essay. Yeah, really.
     The School of the Art Institute is super competitive, so I wanted to find a way to stand out from the pack. I had this brilliant idea to submit an absolutely mind-blowing essay for its Young Scholar Prize. Technically, I was ineligible because you have to be a high school grad to enter. I was only a junior,
and I petitioned the judges to make an exception. I didn’t want a technicality standing in the way of my dreams. Besides, my college counselor told me it would show I have “moxie” and would look great on my college applications. I was certain I had solved a centuries-old art world mystery, proving that Eugène Delacroix had secretly given a painting—one of several—from his Giaour series to the writer Alexandre Dumas, the all for one, one for all dude. Not just any painting in the series—the exact one on display at the Art Institute. I was going to astound the old fogey museum curators with my genius. I would unveil a secret that was hiding in plain sight. I would be the youngest prizewinner ever, an art world darling. I based my entire theory on a single sentence in a twenty-year-old article about Delacroix I found online and followed down a rabbit hole. Apparently fake news is also old news.
     The thing with confidence, though, is that when you’re proven wrong—and holy hell, was I proven wrong—you wither away into the smallest version of yourself. And head judge—now my lifelong nemesis—Celenia Mondego made sure of that. In her words, I had written, “an earnest if ill-conceived attempt at unraveling a mystery of provenance that fell far short of its ambitions due to slipshod research—a catastrophic inability to grasp obvious facts. The work of a dilettante, not a future art historian.”
     The words still stab.
     Maybe I could deal with it better if I didn’t feel so alone, but my person, my I’ll-always-be-there-for-you pseudo boyfriend, graduated from Lab High in June and is apparently so busy getting ready to leave for college that he can’t even pick up the phone—his second favorite appendage. Meanwhile, I’m pleading with myself not to text him again. Clinging like a lifeline to the one text he did send while I was mid-flight: I’ll see you when I see you. p.s. I got Ice Capades. Quoting our thing, our ridiculous thing, an inside joke from our cheesy retro first date movie. I melted. Ugh.
     I keep letting myself forget that it’s at least partly his fault I screwed up my prize essay. Somewhat. Probably. Indirectly. It seemed like every time I was in the library researching or trying to write, he’d sneak up behind me in the stacks and kiss me on the neck. His kisses are highly distracting.
     Basically, I’m seventeen and already washed up. What do I do now?
     Mom would tell me to go easier on myself and to trust my own voice to find a way out.
     Papa would remind me that I’m young and in Paris, a city with pastries on every corner, and that life is still beautiful: C’est la belle vie, chérie.
     Zaid, if he were acknowledging my existence and wasn’t part of my problem, would probably tell me to forget about everything and suggest creative ways in which he might be able to help me with that.
     And Julie, my best friend, who is currently inaccessible because she’s on a Dark-Ages, technology-free family holiday at a cabin in Door County, would tell me to figure out where I want to go and do whatever it takes to get there. Easy for her to say—she’s both an unstoppable force and an immovable object.
     Here’s the thing: I actually know where I want to go. But too many things I can’t control keep getting in my way.
     Sometimes literally.
     With les grèves there’s no Métro, and every electric scooter and bike share is taken. Normally I wouldn’t mind a long, leisurely walk along the quais of the Seine River on the way to the Petit Palais—that’s kind of the point of being in Paris. But I’m reminded that this is why there are no songs about August in Paris, when it’s all tourists and la vie en sweat instead of the Hollywood version of Paris where it’s perpetual spring, when young love and chestnut trees are always in bloom.
     If I believed in fate, I’d say the universe was conspiring against me.
 
 
The courtyard café of the Petit Palais has always been my reliable refuge. I plan on photographing every inch of its meandering path, fragrant plants, blue-and-gold tiled fountains, and, of course, the perfectly pillowy macarons I’ll be inhaling at a small wrought-iron table amongst the blossoms. Luckily, the place is made for Instagram, which is good because I need new content to replace all the dusty old books and archival material I posted in my “ill-conceived” attempt to impress the ultimate we are not amused, judgiest of judges Celenia Mondego.
     Maybe meticulously cataloguing my trip will help me forget my “catastrophic inability” to do anything right.
     And maybe, perhaps, Zaid will see my posts and remember I exist.
     First, though, I need to scrape the remaining dog crap from my red All-Stars.
     I skulk into the shadows of the sculptures of naked women flanking the alabaster staircase that leads to the doors of the Petit Palais. As soon as I bend down to inspect my left sole, I hear someone behind me attempting to stifle a laugh.
     Do not look, Khayyam. Keep your head down.
     “Welcome to Paris!” a honeyed French accent declares in English.
     I roll my eyes. I almost decide to bite back in French, but this arrogant jerk already chose my preferred language for sparring. “How do you know I’m not from Paris?” I ask with my back still turned to him.
     “I’m s-sorry,” the Frenchman stammers.
     I stand and whirl around, ready to go for the jugular, but see that this particular jugular leads to an extremely cute face.

Praise

An NPR Favorite Book of 2020
A Forbes Best YA Book of 2020
A Penn GSE Best Book for Young Readers of 2020
An ABA Indie Bestseller
An ABA Spring 2020 Kids’ Indie Next Pick
A Goodreads Most Anticipated for April
A YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2021 Nominee 

Praise for Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know


“Lively and passionate, this book tackles issues of cultural identity and examines which stories are passed down through time – all while indulging in a romantic amateur sleuthing romp through the City of Lights.” 
—NPR.org

“A page-turner.”
Forbes 

“A sweeping, feminist novel about equality and identity.”
Teen Vogue

“Engrossing.”
Ms. Magazine

“A fierce, feminist coming-of-age story.”
Bustle

“Khayyam is in Paris for the summer, fleeing academic and emotional disaster. When she meets Alexandre, a descendant of Dumas, she is drawn into a whirlwind romance—and a quest to solve a historical mystery. But are Alexandre’s motives all they seem? A smart, feminist holiday romance, asking some pointed questions about whose voices are honoured by history.”
—The Guardian

“An engrossing new novel . . . it’ll sweep you off your feet.”
Carole Barrowman, The Morning Blend

“There are, at a minimum, two ways to read Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know. The first is as an escapist young adult romance, with a smart teenage girl, a sort-of ex who ghosted her, a hot French teenager from the Dumas family, parents safely tucked in a Paris apartment, plenty of social media, and Paris in August. Then there's the other, as a hard-hitting work of intersectional feminism and anti-oppression and post-colonialism and history blended with art, wrapped up in the story of one incredible August in Paris . . . I don’t often find a book that simultaneously transports me to the best parts of my childhood while taking me on an anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist, intersectional feminist wish fulfillment fest, but Samira Ahmed’s Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know manages just that.” 
Third Coast Review

“In this her most ambitious novel to date, Ahmed makes art history accessible and uses this opportunity to discuss orientalism and Western narratives about Islam and 'the East' that have been presented in art and literature . . . But she never lets the serious subject matter get in the way of the fun and adventure, especially when breaking into old, abandoned Parisian buildings.”
Asian Review of Books

“The two women’s stories are told in a way that amplifies both of their voices into something unforgettable.”
Kim Bongiorno, Momtastic 

“A wonderful dual POV novel which focuses on the contemporary-set treasure hunt led by Khayyam and a history-embracing tale of Leila. This standalone is filled with history, romance, French pastries, and more, while being both thought provoking and moving.”
The Young Folks

“Ahmed's brilliant novel shows that the familiar journey of being smart, in love, and a little lost is as profound now as it was in the 19th century. Add in a romance in the hidden gardens of Paris and an explosive trove of lost historical letters from a woman almost forgotten and you've got a fresh, thoughtful joyride that you'll want to read with every woman and girl you know.”
Kim Liggett, New York Times bestselling author of The Grace Year  

“Rich, emotional, and inspirational. Samira Ahmed does it again with a work of art that reads like an anthem for the voices silenced throughout history, and a call to raise our own. Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know is a deeply thought-provoking, immersive love story to the hidden histories that dwell within us—and like any good story, it will live in your heart for years to come.”
—Farah Naz Rishi, author of I Hope You Get This Message

“Sharp, insightful and full of complex history and connections, Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know weaves a tapestry between today and the past, creating a story unlike any we’ve seen in modern YA fiction and cementing Samira Ahmed’s place as a must-read author.”
—Sona Charaipotra, author of Symptoms of a Heartbreak

“Another interesting exploration of identity wrapped up in a unique story . . . [Ahmed] continues to delight.”
Eastern Eye

"A lush YA novel."
—Popsugar

“A thoughtful and compelling book about history and the people whose lives are invisible . . . Though romance adds an interesting personal (and modern day) element to Khayyam’s story, Ahmed’s writing shines first and foremost where she has written a complex mystery and social commentary about women in history.”
—The Nerd Daily

“Samira Ahmed spins two mysterious and thrilling tales . . . Once again, the New York Times bestselling author of Love, Hate and Other Filters shows the similarities and overlaps of cultures and religions that we would never think to link together.”
Book Riot

“There’s something for everyone: Romance, nerdy art history, a summer in Paris, and a slowly unraveling mystery . . . it's a unique and inspiring story that manages to pull off something incredible.”
Rich in Color

“An ambitious project . . . a pastry-rich and knowledgeable portrait of Paris, with details that redolently evoke but never overwhelm, and Khayyam is an interesting and cosmopolitan protagonist (she’s French, American, and Muslim and comments thoughtfully on the contradictions and intersections of those cultures) with an unusual vocation. Altogether, it’s a Parisian romance with a seasoning of intrigue, a dollop of feminism, a soupçon of caper action, and a lashing of scholarship.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Ahmed explores weighty themes including Orientalism, women silenced by history, and the responsibility of sharing their unheard voices . . . An entertaining tale that will appeal most to fans of art history and literature.”
Kirkus Reviews 

“Ahmed pulls readers into a picturesque Parisian setting that brings the mellifluous language and customs to life, which makes a perfect backdrop for an art mystery . . . With a determination to give voice to a woman whose story has been erased from the pages of history, Ahmed offers yet another well-wrought and dynamic novel.” 
Booklist

“A multi- faceted blend of contemporary and historical intrigue.”
Publishers Weekly

“A whirl through 19th-century hidden drawers, libraries, salons, letters, hashish clubs, mansions, and tales of squandered monies with a descendant of Alexander Dumas and a determined young Muslim woman, on a quest to determine who has the right to #writeherstory. Perfect for romantically and historically inclined teens.”
School Library Journal

“If I wasn't already a librarian, archivist and history lover I certainly would want to be after reading this. Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know is a lovely book about history, secrets, loyalty and life’s journey. Ahmed successfully captures the thrill of solving a good old fashioned mystery with sound research, breaking and entering, and a little bit of Google. I can't wait for the movie!”
—Amy Vidlak Girmscheid, Director, Sandwich Public Library District

 “Ahmed blends art history, romance, passion and purpose as vibrant brush strokes on a canvas in this passionate narrative about the power of the past to influence the present.”
—Julia Torres, Teacher/Librarian, Denver Public Schools
 
Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know follows two Muslim girls, separated by centuries, as one tries to track down the missing history of the other. Readers will be entranced as Khayyam puts together the pieces of Leila’s story . . . Samira Ahmed deftly weaves history, classic literature, an art mystery, and a complicated romance.”
—Rachel Strolle, Teen Librarian, Glenside Public Library District


“Khayyam Maquet is determined to make her mark as an art historian, but she finds herself disillusioned and distracted by both a scholarly setback and a not-quite boyfriend who is suddenly ghosting her. Her annual family visit to Paris doesn't feel like much of a vacation until she literally runs into the dreamy descendant of the novelist at the center of her research who presents her with a priceless opportunity. Art history puzzles and romance abound in this book, and I loved the intertwining narratives of Khayyam's adventures and a mysterious 19th-century woman who may be the key to deciphering everything. Khayyam is a top-tier heroine and her infectious enthusiasm for both art history and making sure that marginalized voices get a chance to tell their own stories are the beating heart of this book.”
Julia Steiner, Book Cellar (Chicago, IL)

Praise for Samira Ahmed
 
“Heartfelt . . . Ahmed deftly and incisively explores the complicated spaces between 'American and Indian and Muslim' in modern America.”
Teen Vogue

“A compulsively readable, totally adorable coming-of-age rom-com with a serious, and timely, side.”
—Cosmopolitan 
 
“This smart, heartbreaking, honest debut novel is as timely as it is hopeful. Ahmed tackles weighty issues with thoughtfulness and flair. I was completely swept away.”
—Sandhya Menon, New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi
 
“Love, Hate & Other Filters made me laugh and made me cry . . . [Maya’s story] is one that will stay with me forever. A much-needed addition to the young adult canon.”
—Aisha Saeed, author of Written in the Stars
 



Books for LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

In June we celebrate Pride Month, which honors the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan and highlights the accomplishments of those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual + (LGBTQIA+) community, while recognizing the ongoing struggles faced by many across the world who wish to live as their most authentic selves. Here is

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PRH Education High School Collections

All reading communities should contain protected time for the sake of reading. Independent reading practices emphasize the process of making meaning through reading, not an end product. The school culture (teachers, administration, etc.) should affirm this daily practice time as inherently important instructional time for all readers. (NCTE, 2019)   The Penguin Random House High

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PRH Education Translanguaging Collections

Translanguaging is a communicative practice of bilinguals and multilinguals, that is, it is a practice whereby bilinguals and multilinguals use their entire linguistic repertoire to communicate and make meaning (García, 2009; García, Ibarra Johnson, & Seltzer, 2017)   It is through that lens that we have partnered with teacher educators and bilingual education experts, Drs.

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PRH Education Classroom Libraries

“Books are a students’ passport to entering and actively participating in a global society with the empathy, compassion, and knowledge it takes to become the problem solvers the world needs.” –Laura Robb   Research shows that reading and literacy directly impacts students’ academic success and personal growth. To help promote the importance of daily independent

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Author’s Note: Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed

Dear Reader, This story is fiction. But it also tells the truth. All stories start with a seed and for me that seed was planted years ago when I first crossed paths with Lord Byron’s epic poem, The Giaour, along with his deeply ingrained Orientalism and sexism. In college, I took a class that centered around

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