“Your resistance to my existence is futile, okay?”
I adore this book so, so, SO much! It is beautifully written, has an amazing story and relatable characters, and has a strong message to readers.
Love From A to Z is about Adam and Zayneb, and the oddity that is them meeting… or is it a marvel?
“Maybe that’s what living is — recognizing the
marvels and oddities around you.”
Zayneb is angry. Some say she was born angry. She’s angry about the way Muslims are treated. She’s angry that Islamophobia is so prevalent everywhere she looks. She’s angry that her teacher is racist and targets her in every class.
After a situation at school, Zayneb goes to Doha for spring break to spend some time with her aunt, and to calm herself. She writes about the marvels and oddities of her life in her journal, but doesn’t realize she is about to encounter the biggest marvel of her life…
“I’d recently learned that smiling calm-evilly in the face of haters, well, stranger haters, gets them more inflamed.”
Adam has a secret, but he can’t tell his dad. Not yet when it’s so close to the anniversary of his mom’s death. When he heads home to Doha from college, Adam just wants to spend time with his Dad and sister before breaking the news to them. For now, he focuses on making things and appreciating life. He writes about the marvels and oddities of his life in his journal, but doesn’t realize he is about to encounter the biggest marvel of his life…
This book stole my heart. Adam and Zayneb are so adorable together. They are cute and awkward and hilarious and romantic, and I love them. For me, Zayneb grew the most. She goes to Doha as an angry and hurt teenager, but she learns how to use that anger in a constructive way. Adam grows as well, but it felt more subtle to me. His character in general though, is more subtle. He is the calm to Zayneb’s chaos. The order to her spontaneity.
“She turned, face full of life, eyes dancing with excitement,
and I thought, Yeah, she’s a marvel meant to be in my life.”
At the heart of this adorable love story is a strong message of Islamophobia, big and small acts of racism, and what it takes to stand up for what you believe in. Zayneb and her friends experience what so many people around the world experience – hatred towards them simply because of their religion. It is hurtful and scary, but she learns how to fight back – the right way.
“Because there will be consequences when you shake the world.”
One thing I really liked about this book was the presence of supportive adults. Teenagers don’t always go to adults when they need help, but in this story, the adults are present and helpful. They make their support known, they are kind, and they do what is best for the teen. It’s refreshing and heart-warming.
I have to give a shout out to Zayneb’s aunt, Aunty Nandy. She supports Zayneb’s fight, she believes she can make a difference and make things better, and she teaches Zayneb how to fight back in better and smarter ways. Not to mention, she is there for Adam when he needs someone, and maintains his trust in a difficult situation. She is such an amazing character, and is probably one of my favourite adults in any YA book.
“Never, ever quake in the face of hate, Zayneb.”
“And I can’t believe you were smiling the whole time!”
“Well, if you’re speaking up for someone, why be sad about it?
Or upset? Be proud of doing the right thing.”
At the end of the day, this book does exactly what great books do. It sticks with you. The message is important, yes, but so is the love story. Two people who genuinely care for each other, who want what is best for the other person, and who have differences but learn to accept and appreciate them.
It is truly a feel-good story in a world that, let’s be honest, needs a little help right now. This book is a balm for the heart, and will leaving you feeling a little more optimistic about tomorrow.
Trigger/content warning: Islamophobia, MS, death of a family member, racism, bullying, terrorism.
Have you read Love From A to Z? What did you think of it?