Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Title: Love From A to Z
Author: S.K. Ali
Format: Hardcover purchased from Book Outlet
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.
I was a little scared going into this book for the same reason why I wanted to read it in the first place.
You see, the main character, Adam, has Multiple Sclerosis. While I always appreciate representation of this particular chronic illness – the fact that I have it, too, is a little scary to read about.
I wasn’t so much worried that it would be misrepresented – after all this disease varies greatly from person to person – it’s more that knowing everything that COULD happen to me always terrifies me.
So, let’s start off with that.
I loved Adam’s character, first of all. Of all the characters in the story, I liked him the most. Despite going through a lot of tough things, he has a very calming personality. He’s a great balance to our heroine, Zayneb.
His experience with MS was pretty different than mine, even though we both had Optic Neuritis. I can’t say that it was an inaccurate representation because I don’t know enough about the different ways it presents itself, but he had blurry vision whereas for me (and for most of the accounts I’ve heard) it’s more eye pain and flashing lights/broken glass vision.
He did get a steroid infusion and I wish side effects were addressed. It was also strange that there was no talk of long term treatment, especially for someone his age. And HOW he kept it a secret from his parents, I have no idea considering all the medical procedures necessary to diagnose.
It seemed very secondary to what the novel was about and I’m not sure how I feel about that.
As far as the book itself, the story, and Zayneb… I enjoyed it. The romance was sweet, but I found reading Zayneb’s story so frustrating and hard to read. Especially knowing that the hate she endures is very real. I understand why she is such an angry character, but that doesn’t mean it was easy to read. I think her aunt, Adam, and her friends were a nice balance to her character.
One of the things I loved the most about this was the meetcute. Adam and Zayneb meet in the airport and they happen to have the same unique journal. I always love a good meetcute!
Butterfly Rating: 1 Stars
Re-read Worthiness: No
Bookshelf Placement: Yes
Book Boyfriend Rating: 3 stars