My Rating: 4 Stars
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.
Beware spoilers ahead!
Trigger Warning(s): Islamophobia, racism, discrimination, grief, harassment, mention of drone attacks and murder.
Reading Challenge(s): Book 1 for the #Pondathon and for The Theme Thieves: Happiness. Monthly pick for The Reading Clowns book club.
Rep: Zayneb is West Indian, Caribbean-American. Adam is Chinese Canadian and Finnish. Both Adam and Zayneb are Muslim’s. Zayneb’s mother and Adam’s family converted to Islam.
My Thoughts Before Reading: I was a little weary about reading this. I DNFed the author’s first book Saints and Misfits due to not meshing with the writing style.
Though I still wanted to give it a try for the Muslim rep. I am very happy to say that I loved Love from A to Z!
What I Liked: I loved reading about Doha! I could feel myself walking with Zayneb, exploring the area, and could even smell the food.
The writing style was superb! I loved reading the journal entries. I thought it was an excellent way to distinguish between Adam and Zayneb.
I adored the Muslim rep! It was realistic and relatable. Some of my favourite scenes were discussions about Islam. For example the prayer scene with Adam’s family. I loved how they came as a family to pray and make dua together. It reminded me off what I do with my own family.
I loved how close Zayneb was to her family! While you don’t get to read about her entire family (her brother and sister live elsewhere), you could tell they are close to one another.
Zayneb’s aunt is the family member that you read about the most. I loved reading about their interactions! I liked that Zayneb’s aunt encouraged her ideals and gave some really good advice.
Zayneb’s friend group is a bit off a mess in the beginning. They are all still reeling after Zayneb gets suspended. They do bounce back with a new member to their cause. I enjoyed all their interactions! Especially Zayneb and Kavi’s.
I really enjoyed the plan to take down Mr. Fencer! Islamophobia is nothing new and every Muslim faces it. However, it takes a lot of courage to face Islamophobic people head on and take it down. The strength that Zayneb and her friends had was amazing! And it was depicted in such a way that it was relatable. They weren’t always strong and sometimes they were scared. Regardless they pushed on and succeeded!
Zayneb was relatable. The angry part of me really resonated with Zayneb. I agreed with all the points she made and felt some of them deep within my soul. Particularly the discussion about drone attacks that she had with Adam’s friends. Throughout Love from A to Z Zayneb does learn to hone her anger. Rather than blowing up at everything. For example, confronting those people at the gym. I loved reading about her development and enjoyed the execution!
I loved Adam and his family! They were so close knit and had an amazing family dynamic. Especially Adam and his sister. I liked reading about Adam’s friends! Especially Connor. They were close knit in a similar way Adam is to his family.
The flashbacks were really sweet and heartbreaking! Most of them had Adam’s mother, who passed away because of MS. S. K. Ali did an excellent job tackling grief. It was also great to read about how and why Adam’s family converted to Islam.
I related to Adam quite a bit. He was calm and caring. Something that I always strive to be.
Adam has MS. His family doesn’t find out for a majority of the book. In fact Zayneb knew before his family did. With Zayneb’s push Adam finally tells his family and they agree to stand by him. Zayneb does as well. I loved Adam confronted his fears and realized that he can be happy whilst having MS!
I don’t know that much about MS so I can’t speak in regards to how well it was depicted. What I can say is that I felt the author did a good job explaining the disease.
I loved Adam and Zayneb’s relationship! They brought out the best in each other and were so cute together. I was so happy when I read in the epilogue that they got married!
My Criticism(s): Absolutely nothing!
What I’m Looking Forward To: More books by this author!
Conclusion: Overall I loved this book! I highly recommend.