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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Ayesha Dean: The Istanbul Intrigue is written by Melati Lum. Eighteen-year-old Ayesha Dean and her friends, Sara and Jess, are on their way to Istanbul for a ten-day holiday. Before boarding the plane, Ayesha expects to be singled out as a Muslim for a random explosives check, but instead utilizes her martial arts skills by single-handedly apprehending a thief who had stolen another passenger’s bag, much to the gratitude of the police. On their arrival in Istanbul, the girls are awe-struck by the beautiful mosques and ancient architecture surrounding them. The girls are relieved that many people in Istanbul speak English, due to the high level of tourism. After purchasing a book as a gift for her uncle, Ayesha discovers a mysterious note, which does not belong to the book, stitched into the back cover. The translation of the note shows that it has been written in code, thus presenting Ayesha with a mystery that needs to be solved. As Jess and Sara take in the sights, Ayesha spends what is left of her holiday trying to decipher the code and locate a missing text, The Seven Days of the Heart, which could be worth a fortune to whoever finds it, all while trying to avoid the new found danger which lurks in every corner. Ayesha quickly realizes that she is not the only person seeking out the missing text, and that some would happily kill to get their hands on it.
I found Ayesha Dean: The Istanbul Intrigue to be quite an interesting and adventurous read. It easily opens the reader up to a new world as a tourist in Istanbul, while also dealing with the different cultures, customs and religions between the two countries. Regardless of the differences in religion between Ayesha, Sara and Jess, it does not prevent them from becoming the best of friends during their high school years. With each page, the suspense and mystery build more and more. With each of the three girls being quite likable and easy to relate to, the book quickly becomes a roller-coaster ride of laughter, innocence and fear, with trust fast becoming an issue for all three. Ayesha’s martial arts talents come in handy more than once, showing what a handy skill it can be. Melati Lum has brought awareness to different aspects of the Muslim faith, while immersing the reader in an adventure-filled holiday by three teenagers in Istanbul. I recommend this book to readers aged 15 years and older who enjoy adventure, travel, mystery, suspense and intrigue while learning amazing facts about Turkey’s unique history.