Title: Love from A to Z
Author: S.K. Ali
Genre/Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Love, Muslim, Hijabi representation, multiple sclerosis, bigotry, preconceptions
Blurb from Goodreads
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.
A great book with a cute love story that also exposes and tackles real world problems…feel like I must be dreaming!
Zayneb is freaking awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wow do I love her. She’s unapologetic, feisty, knows her own mind and yet still has all the insecurities that come along with figuring your way in this world. A fabulously authentic character. If only the world were filled with more Zaynebs.
Her fight against everyday Islamophobia is incredible and also quite eye opening and thought provoking. I was really interested to hear her insightful views on white feminism and how she expressed her love for her religion was simply marvellous. And such awesome Hijabi rep. This book should be required reading in schools in western countries so that Islam is normalised and better understood.
And then there was Adam.
He was the perfect counterpoint to Zayneb.
He was so quiet and thoughtful and the chapters from his PoV were incredibly touching to read about as he struggled to come to terms with his illness.
I have a friend with MS and I could see so much of the struggles my friend went through with his diagnosis echoed in Adam’s story… I mean just another fabulously authentic character with great illness rep.
I thoroughly enjoyed this.
It had the right mix of humour and bittersweet, it had supporting characters that all felt quite memorable in their own right and an overriding love story that was adorable.
But more than anything it’s an own voices book that truly gives voice and agency to Muslims over their religion and their beliefs. It fights ingrained hateful bigotry and problematic views that Muslims, especially Hijab wearing women, face on a daily basis.