Love from A to Z by S. K. AliLove from A to Z by S. K. Ali

Love from A to Z

byS. K. Ali

Paperback | April 30, 2019

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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.
Title:Love from A to ZFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:352 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1 inShipping dimensions:8.25 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:April 30, 2019Publisher:Simon & Schuster Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1534454136

ISBN - 13:9781534454132

Appropriate for ages: 14


Rated 5 out of 5 by from The book I needed when I was growing up When I read this book and S.K. Ali's previous book (Saints and Misfits), I was in awe. The work is so authentic, and the stories are so relevant to the lived experiences of my community, and especially Muslim teens. There are so many layers to this particular story of Zaynab and Adam - the story is about justice, identity, resilience in the face of illness and trauma. It's just beautiful and so so well written. Highly recommend for both teens and adults.
Date published: 2019-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love is what you need Love this contemporary romance! The characters feel so real and you can't help but cheer as they learn and grow throughout the story.
Date published: 2019-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing story I knew this book would be amazing because I love S.K. Ali’s writing. It was so good that I couldn’t put it down! I’ve read a lot of books lately with Muslim characters, and I love them. They really open my eyes to the Muslim experience. I grew up with a lot of Muslim friends, but I never witnessed anything like what happens in these stories. Zayneb experiences Islamophobia from her teacher, but then is punished when she exposes it. She also experiences it when trying to swim in a pool. I can’t imagine why anyone would do these hurtful things to someone just because of their religion. One event that stood out to me was when she was on a plane and a white woman had her seat changed just because she didn’t want to sit beside Zayneb. The woman actually got bumped up to first class because that was the only other seat available! I couldn’t believe she was rewarded for the behaviour. Zayneb compared what she was doing, sketching on the plane and listening to music, to a white girl a few rows ahead who was doing the same thing. They were doing the same thing, yet Zayneb was called out for it because she wore a scarf on her head. It was heartbreaking to read about. I loved the duality of Zayneb and Adam in the story. Zayneb was constantly criticized for her religion, on planes and in school because she was a woman wearing a hijab. Adam, on the other hand, was also a Muslim, but his outward appearance didn’t tell anyone that. His background was Chinese Scandinavian and he converted to Islam when he was eleven. Though they have very different experiences, they are brought together by writing in the same journal. I loved this story! I highly recommend it! Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2019-05-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A For the Lover of Books Review *Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own. I am so late to reviewing this (I blame exams and school generally being awful), but at least I read it on time (unlike King of Fools which came out today and I’m still reading it). It’s extra bad that I’m late to reviewing it because I’m part of the street team. That didn’t affect my rating, and I got the eARC before I even knew I was on the street team. It just meant I got to promote Love from A to Z along with a bunch of other talented people. It’s actually kind of weird that I even requested this. I’ve started only requesting books I’m already excited for before seeing them on Netgalley, so I was excited to Love from A to Z, but I’m not normally into contemporary books unless they have a mental health theme. I guess it’s a good thing that I wasn’t super sure I would love it though because I think going in without expectations helped. The writing sucked me in immediately. It was so easy to get invested in the story. There were so many times that I was reading and I realized I just had a giant smile on my face. There were also a few key moments where I just felt tears fall down my face. Speaking of that, for the most part this book is pure adorable goodness, but there are some parts where it gets really real. However, those sad moments are perfectly balanced with those adorable moments. I say that it was adorable and heartbreaking because those moments did break my heart, but the book as a whole doesn’t feel heartbreaking. It feels like an adorable YA romance book. That being said, there is a giant content warning for Islamophobia. All the instances are there for Zayneb and the people around her to challenge. Still, it was pretty hard to have to read some of the stuff said as a non-Muslim person, so I would maybe wait until you’re in the right headspace for this one. I love that Zayneb is allowed to be angry. People in the book try to get her to hold in her anger, but she knows who she is and what she believes in and she won’t be anything that isn’t her. I aspire to be like her. She’s a force to be reckoned with. I also loved Adam. He cares about the little things, and he loves his family so much. It was wonderful seeing how much he loves his sister. I love that he’s this softer person next to Zayneb’s passion, and seeing how they worked to have the other undersatnd their side of things was great. Ultimately, it comes down to them being really well-written and fleshed out characters. I would totally believe you if you said they were real people. The formatting of the book was also really interesting. I love that they had this initial connection because of the Marvels & Oddities journal and that the book was told in journal format. I also loved the occasional narrator who was there to connect Adam and Zayneb’s thoughts. It was really hard to read with the eARC formatting, but I think it will make reading the finished copies even more immersive. Overall, Love from A to Z was the book I never knew I needed, but I’m glad I found. It has therefore earned 4.25 stars out of 5.
Date published: 2019-05-01

Read from the Book

Love from A to Z MARVEL:   TWO SATURDAYS IN MARCH ON THE MORNING OF SATURDAY, March 14, fourteen-year-old Adam Chen went to the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. A thirteenth-century drawing of a tree caught his gaze. It wasn’t particularly striking or artistic. He didn’t know why this tree caused him to stride forward as if magnetized. (When he thinks about it now, his guess is thus: Trees were kind of missing in the landscape he found himself in at the time, and so he was hungry for them.) Once he got close, he was rewarded with the name of the manuscript that housed this simple tree sketch: The Marvels of Creation and the Oddities of Existence. He stood there thinking about this grand title for a long moment. Then something clicked in his mind: Maybe that’s what living is—recognizing the marvels and oddities around you. From that day, he vowed to record the marvels he knew to be true and the oddities he wished weren’t. Adam, being Adam, found himself marveling more than ruminating on the weird bits of existing. We pick up his Marvels and Oddities journal on March 7, four years after that Saturday at the Museum of Islamic Art. Eighteen now, Adam is a freshman in college, but it’s important to know that he has stopped going to classes two months ago. He has decided to live. •  •  • On the very late evening of Saturday, March 11, sixteen-year-old Zayneb Malik clicked on a link in her desperation to finish a project. She’d promised a Muslim Clothing Through the Ages poster for the Islamic History Fair at the mosque, and it was due in nine hours, give or take a few hours of sleep. Perhaps it was because of the late hour, but the link was oddly intriguing to a girl looking for thirteenth-century hijab styles: Al-Qazwini’s Catalogue of Life as It Existed in the Islamic World, 1275 AD. The link opened to an ancient book. The Marvels of Creation and the Oddities of Existence. A description of the book followed, but Zayneb could not read on. “Marvels” and “oddities” perfectly described the reality of her life right then. The next day, after returning from the history fair (and taking a nap), she began a journal and kept it going for the next two years, recording the wonders and thorns in the garden of her life. Zayneb, being Zayneb, focused on the latter. She dedicated her journal entries to pruning the prickly overgrowth that stifled her young life. By the time we meet her at eighteen, she’s become an expert gardener, ready to shear the world. She’s also just been suspended from school.