Hiya everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing my most anticipated read of 2020, Love From A to Z. Happy new year everyone! I hope 2021 treats you well!
Even though, for the most part, I’ll read books with aesthetically pleasing covers, I still never review the covers. (Please don’t come for me, I’m a sucker for pretty book covers.) However, can we talk about this book cover! People of color, and Muslims, on a book cover?! I love it! That’s when I immediately knew I had to read this one. And thankfully, I was not disappointed.
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.
Now on to the actual review! So first let’s talk about the plot. Love From A to Z’s original premise was simple. Two teenagers falling in love is certainly not a unique plot to the Young Adult Genre. But it’s the way the plot was executed that truly made me fall in love with this contemporary novel. The whole marvel and oddity thing keep the story engaging, and gave a unique feel. Every time it switched from Zayneb to Adam, and vice versa, a marvel or oddity would be discovered.
“Maybe that’s what living is—recognizing the marvels and oddities around you.”
― S.K. Ali, Love From A to Z
The main characters were so incredibly diverse and unique. First we have Zayneb; A fiery and passionate hijabi who is half Trinidadian, and half Pakistani. Next we have Adam Chen; An easy going and quiet Chinese, and Finnish boy. I mean, can we talk about the amount of biracial rep?! At first, I didn’t like Zayneb. I thought she was annoying and got overly angry. But then I realized that if you aren’t angry about something, than no one else will be either. Over the course of the novel, Zayneb learnt that there is a method to the madness. What I mean by this is, she learnt how to get angry politely. (Minor Spoilers ahead.) For example; When she wore a t-shirt and leggings in a swimming pool in Doha, the manager told her the custom was to wear tight swimsuits only. To overcome this challenge, she wore a burkini. When the manager refused to let her wear a burkini, it was then that she confronted him. So essentially, what I am trying to say is, Zayneb learnt how to solve a problem calmly. But if she couldn’t solve it calmy, then she would show her anger. Adam was a rather introverted and polite character. He loved making things, especially for his little sister Hanna. Adam was honestly so wholesome. Zayneb and Adam, despite being polar opposites, got along really well. They shared the same values, which certainly was a driving force in their relationship. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I loved how there was no love triangle or any people getting in the way of their love. It was just the two of them. I loved how they accepted each other for who they were, and actually did thorough research on certain obstacles that might affect them in the future. Overall the plot was executed very well! And the characters, including some side characters, were funny, and diverse!
The dialogue between the main characters was raw and pure. The book really gave the readers an interesting and positive look at what it’s like for Muslims to marry. In the media, Muslims are portrayed as terrorists, and women are seen as opressed. In real life, that is totally not the case. In most romantic stories, the couple will always kiss before getting married. In Adam and Zayneb’s case, they weren’t allowed to touch until after marriage. This is done to ensure that lustfullness is not the thriving source of love before marrying someone. It was so cute when they wanted to hug and kiss, but remained respectful of each other and didn’t. It was just so adorably awkward.
The writing style switched between raw and harsh, to poetic and elegant from time to time. However, none of the writing seemed out of place. The author did a great job at setting the mood through her dialogue and writing.
At times the story seemed a bit slow, and at other times it went a bit fast. So the pacing was slightly off. But that didn’t really affect the enjoyment level that much. Overall, this was such a cute read that is great to show people who have mixed feelings about Muslims. Muslims are people just like the rest of the world. That’s why it’s so important to write #ownvoices stories. They can really change a person’s entire perspective. Henceforth why I think that you should definitely pick this one up!
Age Rating: 12 and up
TW: Islamophobia, talk about violence and death
Final Rating: 9/10 or 5 stars
If you’re curious about my review policy click here. So, will you read Love From A to Z? Or if you have already, what did you think about it? Have a fabulous day everyone!