Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (01/17)
“Unassimilated” by Michael Benzehabe is an entertaining, action-packed story about Zoe Mousa, a quirky girl Jewish girl from Iran, adopted, and raised by a Muslim family after her parents are murdered. Zoe thinks immigrating to the U.S. is the fast-track ticket to a life of happiness and fulfillment, but her life is full of complexities and challenges that will soon cause her to wonder why she even bothers.
Zoe works as a temporary employee on assignment for the FBI cracking code, when she discovers critical information about an impending worldwide cyber war. Zoe suddenly finds herself wanted by several organizations–the CIA, Homeland Security, and the Chinese mafia to name a few, and her problems have only just begun.
“Unassimilated” is a fascinating book that captured my interest from the very first page. There are so many layers to the story. Delicious, intriguing layers with multiple twists and turns, insuring there is never a lull in the plot. There is a bit of everything in this book: espionage, murder, mystery, action, love, romance, and betrayal; all delivered with just the right tone and tempo that kept me reading well into the night for several nights in a row.
Zoe is one of the most unique characters I have met in a long time. She doesn’t shake hands, she’s afraid of crossing the street, and she’s desperate to fit into the U.S. culture. I laughed and cried and felt embarrassed and even frustrated at times, watching her work her way through significant cultural differences, yearning for acceptance, fighting to support her family, looking for love, or whatever was driving her at any particular moment. She is as endearing as she is peculiar and I enjoyed not being able to predict what she would say or do next.
I highly recommend “Unassimilated” by Michael Benzehabe. This captivating story flows with words crafted seemingly effortlessly, and will appeal to readers across the genres. I look forward to checking out more work from this author.