Mariam gets thrown out of the country by her parents just for attending one party that gets busted by the cops. For good measure, Mariam's bestie Deanna is deported to Egypt along with her. The two girls are unpopular 15 year olds. Deanna has a facial disability that makes her unable to smile, and Mariam is hated just for being Arab, and by no one more than herself.
When she finds herself headed to stay with her scary sittu in Cairo, Mariam is seriously unhappy. Deanna is jazzed, though, buckling down on learning Arabic and identifying sights to see, including pyramids and protests. They both end up discovering some of Egypt's other wonders, as does Sittu: Muhammed, Ahmed, and Hassan.
Rebels by Accident is a little to middle grades-y to be my jam, and I'm annoyed that the bad thing I expected to happen happened.