Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali is a book that is both uplifting and emotional as it follows two teens dealing with their own personal struggles. I enjoyed the book’s concept and the idea of marvels and oddities, and the main characters are both likeable. However, I found the romance to fall flat, which was a little disappointing for a book with “love” in the title. Even so, this is a powerful and pertinent novel that I would recommend to those looking for a book that has a balance of wholesome and heartbreaking moments.Title: Love From A to Z
Author: S.K. Ali
Also by this author: Saints and Misfits
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
From William C. Morris Award Finalist S.K. Ali comes an unforgettable romance that is part The Sun Is Also a Star mixed with Anna and the French Kiss , following two Muslim teens who meet during a spring break trip.
A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.
An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.
But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.
When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.
Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.
Then her path crosses with Adam’s.
Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.
Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.
Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.
Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…
Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.
Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Review: Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali
After standing up to her teacher’s Islamophobic ways, Zayneb is suspended and flies out to Qatar to stay with her aunt. At the airport, she meets Adam, and they have the chance to reconnect through Zayneb’s aunt. I loved the idea of a marvels and oddities journal and how the book is structured like entries in such a book. It is a fresh format, and I enjoyed being able to read both Zayneb and Adam’s side of the story. As well, the novel is more than a fluffy romance as it tackles subjects like Islamophobia and chronic illness. The prejudice Zayneb faces is appalling, and it will awaken the reader’s desire to fight for social justice.
❀ Fierce and Determined Main Character
I loved Zayneb’s character and how she refuses to be silenced. Honestly, she is a pretty angry character which I don’t typically love, but Zayneb is angry for a good reason and has every right to want to get revenge on those who hurt her. I also enjoyed Zayneb’s squad of friends who are dedicated to fighting with her for justice, and her fierce determination to stand up for herself is admirable. Adam, on the other hand, is similar to Zayneb on many levels but is also her opposite. He is quieter and is struggling to tell his family that he has MS, an illness that killed his mother. I wanted to cry for Adam, especially because he is such a wholesome character.
❀ Not a lot of romance
While I did enjoy the story and all that it accomplishes, I had some problems with Adam and Zayneb’s relationship. To me, there was not enough time spent going into depth to develop their connection, and I wasn’t really invested in the romance by the end of the book. For a book that calls itself a love story, I would have liked to see more interactions between the two so they actually get to know each other better.
❀ Important Message
Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali is a heartwarming story that balances love and social justice. I enjoyed the idea of marvels and oddities, and the main characters are believable with their personal struggles. Despite this, I found the romance to be lacking, and I would have appreciated more development between Adam and Zayneb. I would still recommend this one, however, as it has an important message.