Mini Review: Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali

Mini Review: Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali

Love From A to Z by SK Ali

Pub Date 30 Apr 2019

Purchase on Amazon

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.

Summary courtesy of Amazon

Overall, I gave this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️!

Ali writes in dual perspective- Adam and Zayneb-using their journals of Marvels and Oddities. I have written my thoughts about this book using marvels and oddities.

My Marvels

Something I found amazing

  • The rawness that is Zayneb. Just like Zayneb, I have a strong temper and am easily fired up. I have not read many books that have this kind of character and I connected deeply with Zayneb based on her personality. Although I am not exactly like her and I do not share her fierce determination to bring about social justice (I wish I did! I could. I need to.), I did see myself in the way she felt so strongly and how anger came out of those feelings. Ali described her in such a raw way that helped me find myself and did not paint Zayneb in a poor light.
  • The friendships in this book are amazing and made me really jealous. I loved how loyal and open everyone was. Again, Ali painted these friendships in such a real light and showed the struggles of being apart from friends and gaining new friends as well as how friends are able to grow and understand each other. The relationships felt real.
  • The love in this book was beautiful.

My oddities

Something that gave me pause

  • Islamophobia. I do not have Muslim friends. I do not have much exposure to Islam. I live in an area with strong racial tension and where racist comments are, unfortunately, common in my family. I do not agree with these comments and attitudes and have distanced myself from most of the people making them. However, Zayneb’s anger and experiences have opened my eyes to the impact that these words and actions that I have seen have on others. As I’ve gotten older and more confident, I have started speaking up more about comments that are hurtful and incorrect. I need to do more and this book has made me realize how necessary it is for me to be stronger.
  • From the acknowledgments: “Onward, readers, into a better world born from empathy, lit by the sparks of truth, courage, and love.”

Recommendation

I would recommend this book for those in grades 7 and up. There are a couple of instances that discuss romance and although it does not give specifics, I believe that a more mature audience would be better.

I do believe this book needs to be read. It needs to be shared and discussed. It is a sweet romance full of love and friendship, but that has so many other important topics embedded into this story.

Thank you

Thank you to the following for sharing this book with mean exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

NetGalley

Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing
Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

I am a middle school English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher.

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