Love from A to Z

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 May 2019

Member Reviews

THank you netgalley and the publisher.
Cute little romance with two adorable characters.  Quick read if you love romance especially young love
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I really enjoyed this book although it did feel a little Insta lovey. I like the fact that it dealt with both racism and MS I haven’t read a lot of books that have either theme in the forefront of the plot. I felt The story jumped around a bit. Over all it was a good book
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It's not often you get a book that everything you want from it - genuine, sweet, and respectful romance, a young strong female character ready to stand up and speak her mind, an awesomely beautiful setting, and a cast of diverse, friends-are-family characters - so when you do you tell everyone you know about it. And I am telling everyone I know about S.K. Ali's Love from A to Z.

I have only one hangup about this book and that is the way it is written with the journal entries. It's a personal preference of mine, it's not something I really like and I think in most cases (this one included) the story could have been written without and just as spectacular. But it is also the authors preference to write it like that. And while I said it's my personal preference, it didn't ruin the reading experience for me. 

I started reading YA a few years ago and as a rule I only read own voices books from that genre. Ali's debut novel, Saints and Misfits, was one of the first I read and I loved it. Just as much as I loved this book. This book succeeds as an unapologetically Muslim book that readers of all religions will love and I imagine that it soars beyond the stars for the young Muslim men and women out there who are finally getting to read their stories and their lives on the page. More from S.K. Ali please!!!
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There was a time that I would just choose books based on their jacket cover description or because I was familiar with the author. There wasn’t a lot of depth to the reasoning behind my selections - I just liked a good story. These days, I still really like a good story, but there’s more to gain from the books I choose, especially when it comes to fiction. I’m finding that today’s fiction frequently skirts the line between real-life and the imagined, drawing out the reader’s empathy and making it easier to access new perspectives, and S.K. Ali’s “Love from A to Z” is no different. Zayneb is an empassioned and devout Muslim teenager, and the only Muslim in a high school class led by an Islamophobic teacher. When she has had enough and confronts her teacher, she is suspended from school and heads to Doha, Qatar to spend two weeks with her Auntie Nandy. On the flight there, she meets Adam, a “supercute” college student on his way home for spring break. Although they don’t recognize it at first, the two fall instantly in love, and continue to be brought together through a series of serendipitous events. Despite having the tone of the light and sweet awkwardness of first love, “Love from A to Z” carries with it more dark and serious themes. Ali weaves together the Muslim experience, grief, politics, the death of a parent, and multiple sclerosis, in an effortless way that doesn’t overwhelm the narrative. Her characters are very relatable and the messages imparted through them are so important, that one can’t help but feel a sense of essential insight and awareness by the end of this beautiful book. Ali states in her Author’s Note, that she writes “for all of you - those who know what it feels like and those who don’t, but want to,” and I highly recommend that we all become the readers who want to. 

Thank you S.K. Ali for sharing your voice, and thank you to Net Galley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the opportunity to review this advance reader copy.
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Love From A To Z is about Zayneb and Adam, both of whom have a Marvels & Oddities journal, and who (kind of) meet at the airport before boarding their plane to Doha, Qatar, and greet each other a few times during the plane ride over to Doha. As they keep bumping into each other in Doha, and find reassurance for who they are in the people they love, Love From A to Z takes us on a journey of marvels and oddities across countries and the hearts of two unforgettable characters.

This book was one of my all time favourite contemporary novels, and I really enjoyed learning more and more about the main characters of the story. Zayneb stole my heart with her determination and refusal to back down from what she stands for, and Adam stole it with his kindness and patience and determination to be who he is, completely and irrevocably, in the face of any and all uncertainties.

And S. K. Ali's writing is brilliant, just like it was with Saints & Misfits. I loved the way S. K. Ali writes, the way her characters leave you wanting to remain with them forever. The way her stories linger in your heart for as long as they can after you turn the last page of the book.

I would definitely recommend this to all my customers, especially to new teen readers and their parents!
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I loved Ali’s debut novel, Saints & Misfits, so I was eagerly looking forward Love From A to Z. I was not disappointed at all!

Zayneb is angry, rightfully angry at a bigoted teacher and his clear hatred. But when she goes to Qatar to stay with her aunt, she decides to try and be a new nicer version of herself. She soon meets Adam. Adam who has his own secrets. As Adam and Zayneb get closer together, they have to confront who they are. Love from A to Z is a beautiful coming-of-age story and a wonderful love story.

I really liked both Zayneb and Adam. They each had their own unique voices and Ali did a wonderful job writing both characters. Zayneb’s anger was totally understandable and I think many teens will find her relatable. On the other hand, Adam’s work in striving to keep secrets from his family and to make sure they don’t find out about anything will also be relatable to teens who are anxious about change. I loved learning more about each character and seeing their love story emerge.

Overall, Love from A to Z is another wonderful novel from S.K. Ali. I highly recommend it!
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Marvel: this book exists
I really liked this book, the female MC is everything I aspire to be: strong minded, courageous, strong and lives in the moment. I really connected with the way she thinks and sees the world. 
The male MC is my new book crush, I liked how he embraced the change and he is also a very good boy. 
I loved the writing and everything, I really want to read the author's first book now. 
Oddity: I realized I haven't read many books with Muslim rep, I need to read more books
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Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada & NetGalley, for this eARC copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Can I just say that I loved this so much! The alternating viewpoints of each main character's journals was so fun. Oddities and Marvels might be something that I incorporate into my own journaling. 

Although this is a very fun read it is also very moving and emotional. Adam is diagnosed with MS, which is what his mother died from. Seeing him throughout the novel realize and come to terms with that information is deeply upsetting and at the same time hopeful and beautiful. 

I saw so much of myself in Zayneb, her headstrong ways of fighting for what she believes in is so inspiring. The Islamophobia she is subjected to, the language that is used especially hits hard. It is something that is unfortunately too common in today's society and is so unbelievably upsetting to see.

Zayneb and Adam's relationship is everything! They are as sweet as honey, but of course come to terms with their differences. This is such a perfect pairing, one fiery strong-willed, passionate person with one who seeks peace above all else. The pieces fit and it is gorgeous. 

Having read a lot own voices reviewer's spoiler free reactions I knew that this book would not disappoint! I will gladly pick up anything written by S.K Ali and have added her debut novel to my TBR so I can get to it ASAP.
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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.
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Based on the premise of this book, I was super excited to pick it up - it sounded like something I would really enjoy. While I was able to finish the book, there is just something I can't quite put my finger on that made me not love this book as much as I wanted to.

Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.

This book follows Zayneb, a teenaged girl who has had enough of her high school teacher's ignorant and hurtful remarks about Islam. After confronting her teacher, she is suspended from school and sent to visit with her aunt in Doha earlier than expected. On her way there, Zayneb meets Adam, a teenaged boy who is returning home to Doha after studying abroad and being diagnosed with MS, the disease that took his mother just after his little sister was born. After the two meet on the airplane, their lives become more intertwined. Ultimately, Adam has to confront his father with his diagnosis and Zayneb learns that sometimes, getting in trouble is ok if you are fighting for justice.

As I mentioned, I can't quite put my finger on what aspect of this book was making me not love it as much as I wanted to. I am not an own-voices reader of this book but Zayneb was an amazingly head-strong, passionate character that really resonated with me, even though I can only barely begin to understand her struggles. She knows what she wants and what is right and she fights for it. I really loved that about her. Adam was a decent opposite main character, he was very loving with his family and the depiction of his MS and it's progression was very well done.

I think, ultimately, it was the writing style of this book that just didn't work for me. It was told from alternating perspectives between Zayneb and Adam, from the point of view of their Marvels and Oddities journals (independent of each other, they had been using the same sort of structure for their journals for years). There was a narrator that occasionally jumped in to clarify a detail or two, but I have no idea who the narrator is or why they are important to the story. I feel like they were unnecessary, I was able to read their journal entries without the outside help.

Overall, I think this is a really important book, it just didn't jive with me. I would, however, still recommend giving it a shot because of the characters themselves.
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I really loved this book and I thought it was the perfect mix of cute, powerful and memorable. The characters were so well written and felt real and the love story made me want to scream at the characters “JUST GET TOGETHER”, which is a good thing. It’s definitely a book I recommend.
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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 understand 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.
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A beautiful, quirky, fun and poignant coming of age story about love, relationships, grief and being your own person.
This story had heart-laughing, heart-smiling, heart-hurting moments. Adam and Zayneb were these complex young people that had so much to navigate around first love. i adored the intelligence and passion of this story-- it's what YA reading should be. 
SK Ali did a wonderful job of marrying the important social issues around first love. Her words were sincere, raw and insightful. Love from A to Z wasn't a Muslim book for Muslims, it was a life book for everyone. It was about being conscious, being in the moment, it was about being passionate about the things you wanted.
A definite 5-star read.
D 5++/5
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This book was phenomenal. It seems to be a YA romance and yet the story line is actually so much more intricate than your average romance. It seamlessly intertwines so many topics like religion, coping with an illness or learning to choose ones battles when fighting racism and islamophobia. This book was an absolute marvel to read and I cannot recommend it enough. If the hate u give opened reader's eyes to the difficulties black people face, then this book will be the one to open the eyes of the public about the difficulties that so many muslim women face on the daily.
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To start off, I just have to say that I love this book so much. I loved reading this book and I enjoyed every moment. There is islamophobia and racism in this novel. Zayneb is in college and unfortunately is in a class with an incredibly racist professor. She tries to stand up for herself and her religion but only ends up getting suspended for “threatening” her teacher. Her parents send her to Doha to learn some lessons in being less angry. So angry and confused, Zayneb goes to live with her aunt for the summer, trying to get over her hurt. On the same plane is Adam, he became a Muslim when he was 11 years old. He is going to Doha to see his father and little sister for the anniversary of his mother’s death. There is a giant secret weighing on Adam as he has quit school and doesn’t know when he will go back. He sees Zayneb across the plane, writing in the exact journal he has written in for years. Thus starts their journey together

The way the book was actually written and the layout of the book was really cute. Each chapter began with either Adam or Zayneb and their marvels and/or oddities that they observe around them. It made the characters grow a lot more in positive ways and shed light on their flaws. They both grew so much in this book and if there is one thing I appreciate about in a book, it’s character development. At the beginning of the novel, Zayneb is full of rage about the hate surrounding her religion and people. At the end of the novel, Zayneb is still full of rage but she is also able to control it and use it a way that makes actual change. The way that this character was written feels like it is something that will empower those who are Muslim and even those who aren’t but are standing up to the hate nonetheless.

Adam was a character who I loved and I wanted to comfort and hold. He decided when he was 11 years old that he wanted to become a Muslim. He saw that his father was Muslim and that it seemed to bring him peace. When he told his father that, his father said that being Muslim didn’t bring him peace but it certainly made him search for peace in his life. Now Adam is grown and he still seeks peace in every moment of his life. And even Adam changed at the end of the novel as well. He became more aware of the hate that surrounded him and started to research into what he could do to be more helpful. His story and past made me cry, and cry over French fries. FRENCH FRIES! If you can make me cry about french fries, you have done your job and done it well.

This book was beautifully developed and the setting itself was described amazingly. Another part of this book that I loved so much was that it incorporated so many Muslim traditions, language and culture. I want to learn about so many different types of religions and cultures that this was genuinely interesting. There was so many different types of greetings and prayers that were included in the book. It was just so well done and incorporated in the novel.

Another really wonderful thing about this book was that there was MS awareness brought up in the book. I won’t talk about it that much because it does spoil some things for major plot points. MS is something that affects Adam’s day to day life because when he was 10 years old, his mother died from MS. It went into detail about how it affected his mother and what it felt like to lose his mother at a young age.

Overall, this book was incredibly interesting and diverse. And although the two main characters are different in a lot of ways, they still fit together, like two squiggly puzzle pieces. I loved this book and I really do hope that you pick it up as well!

I rated this book 4.5 out of 5 stars!
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Mini review: 

DNF

Content warning: Islamophobia, bullying, and mention of death. Till the point I read.

I received this E-ARC via Simon and Schuster Canada and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was really looking forward to reading this book! Unfortunately the E-ARC format didn't work for me. 

I really did enjoy the parts I read. But the PDF was missing some information. I noticed it when I turned the page and the sentence started midway. Then I downloaded the MOBI and it was formatted so terribly that I couldn't continue.

I have purchased the final copy and am looking forward to reading it!
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I like how the author tells the story in the point of view of both the main characters, Zayneb and Adam. A very sweet story of love, hardship, and faith that made me smile and brought me to tears. 

Totally recommend this book to young adults and adults. It is a book that will soften our hearts and make us empathetic. The book brings to light topics such as multiple sclerosis, living in a different country, about family, Islamophobic experiences that the author personally experienced and more. 

I like how the author reminds the readers to marvel at the littlest things we don’t pay attention to despite the oddities we may encounter. I enjoyed the first book, Saints and Misfits, by this author as well.
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I didn't love this, but I thought it was an overall enjoyable story with great ownvoices Muslim rep. I especially liked the framing of Love from A to Z's story, the fact that the story is coming from the Marvels and Oddities journals of its protagonists. The novel also tackles a lot of issues: islamophobia, microaggressions, being diagnosed and living with multiple sclerosis, social justice more generally. 

The only reason this gets 3 stars is because I found the development of the dynamic between its main characters lacking. The novel is supposed to be based on this romance between Adam and Zayneb, but I never really felt that enough time was dedicated to them getting to know each other. Overall though, I think a lot of people will enjoy this when it comes out (April 30th!!).
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K, this was kind of all sorts of adorable.

I found this to be a pleasant surprise. It was equally entertaining and eye-opening. I can't remember the last time I read a book that centres on two muslim teens and their experience (if ever, actually). I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to gain insight into that culture/religion. I learned a lot I don't think I ever would have found out on my own. Not to mention it explained a few things I had questions about or wondered on. 

This book felt very real, and with that came a great and heavy sadness. And an odd sort of helplessness. To start, the islamaphobia Zayneb experiences. I will never in my life understand why people have to be such dicks about things they don't understand or don't agree with. Unless it or the person representing it are causing you actual harm, take a deep breath and take a seat. My heart was crushed over and over with each new experience Zayneb went through, all because she wears a hijab. Her teacher was the worst, but the woman on the plane devastated me. Are there really white people out there that obsessed with themselves? Obviously there has to be, as this book drew on real-life experience, and for that I would like to apologize on behalf of those people. 

Second, Adam's MS situation. There were several parts where I very nearly cried. His experience was painted so vividly that it genuinely scared me to continue. How can this possibly have a happy ending? How can these two teens, so obviously falling for each other over and over, ever get the ending they deserve? The romance was one made very different by the two of them being Muslim, and I didn't mind. Even though it's not how I can ever imagine a relationship working out, I understand it. I can finally get it on a deeper level and appreciate the role their religion plays in it. I am pleased to say that Ali handled all of it like a champ. She wrote a story she should be proud of and one I felt was an honour to read. 

A final note, a central theme of this book is diary entries from Adam and Zayneb on marvels and oddities. Finding the good and weird things of life and writing them down in a journal. I related to this immensely. I don't do quite the same thing, but I keep a list for myself where every day I write down the positive things that happened. I've been at it for a year and a half, and even when I've had the roughest day, there's always been at least one positive thing to write down and savour. I am really happy that Ali is bringing that practice to the forefront as it's something I can't recommend more.

4.5/5
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Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for giving me an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

My eye was immediately drawn to the book's bright blue cover (which is *so* perfect - you'll see when you read it) and diverse characters: an Asian-Canadian guy who lives in Qatar, and a Pakistani/West-Indian/American girl. Both of whom, we later discover, are Muslim. I'm loving the diverse characters we're starting to see represented in books, YA in particular, and the chance to learn about cultures different from my own.

While Zayneb is fiery and full of zeal, Adam is calm and quiet. But, they're united in the way they look at and make sense of the world around them, recording things as either marvels or oddities. I was eager to find out how these two would balance their opposing forces. 

While Love from A to Z has got all the things I love about teen romance, there are a lot more things at play. Things like Islamophobia, grief, and MS. These are the things that kept me turning the pages.
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