Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!
One of my goals this year was to read more culturally diverse books, so I was thrilled when received an ARC of LOVE FROM A TO Z by S.K. Ali from Simon and Schuster Canada!
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.
This book focused on a lot of very important messages, including islamophobia and equal rights. It also had a lot of great representation, since the main character, Zayneb is muslim, and Adam, the other main character, has multiple sclerosis. I really enjoyed both of the main characters throughout this novel, and found several connections between myself and them while reading this story. Since this book focuses on a lot of heavy topics, I found myself rooting for them and hoping that everything would work out in the end.
This book is set in Doha, Qatar, and follows Zayneb travelling throughout the city and experiencing a lot of the tourist attractions. Even though I have never even thought about visiting Qatar, I found the city and attractions fascinating.
My absolute favourite part about this novel was learning about Zayneb’s culture and family history. I love learning about different religions and cultures, as I find religions fascinating. Whenever they were eating cultural food, or saying different prayers or phrases, I looked them up online to learn more about them. Since this is an own voices story, I loved how S.K. Ali took things from her own culture and placed them in her book.
Another thing I loved about the story was the journal format/idea. “Marvels & Oddities” was such a cool concept, especially since it was based off of something that both Zayneb and Adam loved. I liked how even when they were talking about an oddity, they still tried to find something positive to talk about.
The one thing that I did not enjoy in this book was the writing style. This book is written in dual perspective (Zayneb and Adam), however, I found the writing quite choppy at times, especially during the beginning of the book. Fortunately, I thought that the last third of the novel was written a lot smoother and read with ease.
Overall, I gave this book 4/5 stars. Thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada for the ARC! LOVE FROM A TO Z is currently available wherever books are sold, so make sure you pick up a copy at your nearest bookstore or library!
Good Night Book Owls!