Convinced you're having a quarter-life crisis? Think maybe a soul-searching trip might help?
Aline Hallaby, a nice, obedient Arab girl, has it all---a budding career at one of Montreal's most prestigious accounting firms, a loving family, and a boyfriend of three years who has finally proposed. To top it all off, she's about to fly to Cancún with her accounting classmates to celebrate passing the Uniform Final Examination. There's just one tiny problem: Ali has failed the exam. She hasn't told a soul. Not her parents. Not her boyfriend. And definitely not her boss, who will boot Ali out the door as soon as she finds out.
So rather than suffer through seven days in Cancún with her drunken-yet-successful classmates, Ali grabs her best friends, Sophie and Jasmin, and flees to the farthest place her airfare cancellation insurance will carry her: the resort town of Varadero Beach, Cuba. . . .
The sea, sand, and sun, not to mention the attentions of a certain Cuban dive instructor, soon have Ali feeling wonderfully careless and increasingly reckless. Caught up in a whirlwind of rum-soaked nights and moonlit Havana strolls, this good Muslim girl gets her very first taste of what it would be like to be bad, really bad. But will what happens in Cuba stay in Cuba? Or is Ali finally ready to break out of the good-girl mold and grow into the woman she was meant to be?
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Plucky, 20-something, Lebanese-Canadian Aline Hallaby has a promising career at one of Montreal's "Big Four" accounting firms; a marriage proposal from her nice (if unexciting) boyfriend; and a closet filled with Cavalli, Chloe, and Christian Louboutin. When she fails her final professional certification exam, the once-dutiful Arab girl plunges headlong into a quarter-life crisis, fleeing to Cuba for a week of heady rebellion (mojitos, men, participation in a beauty pageant) with her two closest friends. There, Ali is forced to decide if she will continue to live according to the expectations of her traditional Muslim parents, or chase her own dreams. The question of how Ali should live is a provocative one, and Dajani's wit, warmth and insight shine through in turning over its nuances, but there are few surprises to be found in how Ali answers it.