From the publisher:
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 selected this book on a whim to read as an ARC for Netgalley (Thank you for the ARC!). I was prepared to maybe like it. I was captured by the cover and the description. It has been my experience with some of these teen romances (or romances in general) to be disappointed with them.
That was not the case with Love from A to Z. At all. The author took the time to not only give Zayneb a thorough background, full of supportive friends, and family – but the author also did the same for Adam. Both characters are richly written and stand alone favorites.
The concept or diary entries to share each of their narratives could have really gone the absolute wrong way – however, the use of it was part of the plot and it helped give Zayneb and Adam each rich tones and inner lives.
I certainly connected more with Zayneb and would have loved to have read this book as an angry teenager myself. The injustice of the world, and our experiences as teenagers with it, shape us. I remember being angry and standing up to teachers. At times it made me feel crazy and isolated.
People will come into this book for the romance – and it’s there, clear and sweet; and they may come to look into a world they haven’t experienced before as it is a Muslim love story. I believe they’ll walk away with a bit more than a romance and a lot more love for two amazing characters.
I give this book a 4/5. I was eager to finish it and the writing and prose was well done. Rich characters – and a plot that can be sad, but otherwise, empowering.
My professional background in biotechnology as a research chemist and as a veterinary technician has allowed me to have experienced two vastly different fields and for that I am thankful. In both careers, I have mentored, encouraged, and developed talent.
As a mother of two (a daughter and a son), I’m a self-proclaimed backyard chicken guru and someone who has “foster failed” nearly all the animals currently running the household. Oh, and I maintain a husband in my spare time.