Reviews for Love From A to Z, by S.K. Ali

greenlivingaudioworm's review against another edition

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4.0

"'Well, if you're speaking up for someone, why be sad about it? Or upset? Be proud of doing the right thing.'"

Zayneb is an outspoken American teenager who has just been suspended for something she totally didn't mean to get caught for. I mean, her teacher is out to paint Muslims in a negative light and she was just writing notes about how angry she was. Zayneb talks her parents into letting her visit her aunt in Doha, Qatar to start her Spring Break trip a few days early. On her way to Qatar, she meets this cute guy, who we later find out is Adam. Adam is hiding a big secret from his family: he's not going back to college. His father and younger sister still live in Doha, and Adam is about to join them. However, Adam's plans to lock himself in his house are thwarted with Zayneb keeps crossing his path. Both Adam and Zayneb keep a journal of Marvels and Oddities and it's through these journal entries that we learn what happens to Adam and Zayneb.

This book started off in a way that I really wasn't sure what I was getting into. However, I quickly found I was completely taken with both Zayneb and Adam. I longed to know what happened next and see their relationship blossom. I could certainly relate with Adam's desire to withdraw, especially after we find out the reason why he's dropping out of college. However, I was more taken with Zayneb. Her fiery personality made me incredibly envious. Seeing Zayneb harness her passion and anger at injustice in productive ways had me rooting for her every step of the way. I especially appreciated Zayneb's Aunt Nandy and how she navigated the struggles of both Zayneb and Adam. What a wonderful adult human to have around. I also loved seeing Adam around his little sister, Hanna. It is clear Adam and Hanna have an incredibly special relationship and I enjoyed all of their interactions. This was a fantastic story and one that I am glad is part of the Project LIT community.

This book is appropriate for middle grade students, but I think the story would be most appreciated by upper middle school and high school readers.

TW: islamophobia, death of a family member (recounted), Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis

eva_dx's review

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4.0

I really enjoyed this book and I would definitely recommend it. It was refreshing to read from the perspective of muslim main characters, something I don't often do. I really felt for both of the MC's through their struggles. I even cried at one point. The story was very impactful and went deep in on problems of today's society. Deeper than you would expect from the cover. I was particularly interested in Adam's MS storyline as that's something I hadn't read about yet. Zayneb was also a different main character because she wasn't shy, like a lot of other YA protagonists. That was refreshing too. I loved the setting. The plot and writing were good as well. Ultimately, I gave this 4 out of 5 stars.

chajonas's review against another edition

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5.0

I love everything in this book. I think I even love this more than Saints and Misfits. Because now the love interest is also a muslim. So yeah, it gives me more hope of romance between YA muslim trope. Like c'mon, the whole A and Z interaction are cute and sweet and beautiful, but also you can feel the pain and the hurts. Idk why at some point, reading their love story is kinda remind me of prophet Muhammad and Khadija. You know when you love someone in a muslim rule, you don't allow to touch like when in another YA romance, the main couple can easily hold hands and eager to kiss their crush or being really alone with them. So all you can do is talk to them, knowing more about them while hanging out with your friends or your family. But when the time comes, all those waits will be worth it. Like, even a touch of hand feels so much more, let alone a kiss. I remember crying when I read about prophet Muhammad showed his love to his wife only by held her hands and looked her in the eyes, then it felt like all the sins that had been hurt both of them faded away. And this book felt almost like that.

Now, let's talk about the activist that Zayneb is. I maybe bias, because I feel more like Adam. I'm not a shouter, I'm more like a helper, a behind the scene kind of girl. I believe there's more than one point of view of every subjects. So when Zayneb suddenly blew up to Adam when he said about his thoughts about Fencer, I kinda lost it too. BUT...that doesn't mean I'm trying to find excuses to islamophobia. God forbid, I'm a muslim myself, that kind of toxic behavior will also hurt me. So when Adam reached out first to her and he's the one that realized he need to understand what it feels like being Zayneb, I was so glad. Go get your strong verbally water back! I wish I was more like Zayneb, know what she wants, fight for what's right and to everyone who did her wrong. No wonder Adam likes her so much. Because I know his character, we need a pushover character in our life. And that's why I love this pairing so much.

sawsen98's review

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emotional hopeful informative inspiring lighthearted sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

lisens's review against another edition

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4.0


I really enjoyed this, and it felt like such a fresh breath of air in the YA literary sphere
SK Alis writing is so atmospheric and I really felt like I was in Doha and it made me miss traveling and going places (it's maybe also because I got this as a Christmas present right before we went to India last year so in my mind it belongs in the same space as traveling)

I said in the update already but it was a bit overly explaining in parts and I don't know if that's just me personally really not liking that, or because I'm already pretty familiar with the topics discussed, or just the way a lot of ya books are written (probably a combination of all three) so while that knocked down my enjoyment in parts I still enjoyed it

I also could barely read the portion where Zayneb washed the dishes because the idea of murky dishwater makes me panic and I will henceforth use that as evidence A when my parents ask me to clean the dishes

noragriffin's review

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emotional informative slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

3.0

madeline_the_terrible's review

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4.0

This is an excellent young adult novel. SK Ali has really grown as an author. The setting and pace.were all well executed. I also appreciate how Ali used sensitivity readers. Highly recommend.

lovelessness's review

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5.0

TAKE ME BACK TO ADAMZAYNEB I WANNA GO BACK TO ADAMZAYNEB

fasika_thiswave's review

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emotional funny informative lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

I’ve never read a book with two Muslim multi racial characters as the leads. Absolutely adorable love story and really thoughtful and interesting characters. Great story all around 

readingindreams's review

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emotional funny inspiring medium-paced

3.5