*6 stars* if I could give 1 million stars, I would.
As a lover of literature, as a high school teacher, as a mother, as a human being who believes other human beings are deserving of respect and compassion, there are so many things I absolutely loved about this novel. It made me laugh and cry, it infuriated me and inspired me.
This is a must read for 2019
Passionate, intelligent, angry Zayneb.
Zayneb, who is angry for the right reasons, and who refuses to be a bystander. Who has a strong sense of justice, a compulsion to stand up against bullies, and a natural ability to be a champion for equality and awareness.
Zayneb, who is also very layered. She is strong, but not impenetrable. She is vulnerable, sensitive, loving, and fiercely human. She wears her emotions on her face and her heart on her sleeve, making her a very relatable and inspiring YA heroine. Having experienced first hand the ugliness of the world, if you pair all of those qualities with her sense of empathy, you have a force to be reckoned with.
That is Zayneb.
She is easily one of my all time favorite YA heroines.
The other characters in this novel are all unique gems, and it is a testament to the complexity of people.
Adam, with his introspective pragmatism, creativity, and mature sense of loyalty.
Aunty Nanny, with her compassion, fire, and intelligence.
Connor, with his unquestioning loyalty, acceptance, and support.
Noemi, and her self-awareness, confidence, and openness.
Zayneb likes open people, she likes real, and that's exactly how these character are written. The characters are complex, relatable, and real.
The novel doesn’t just speak against the dangers of generalization, it shows just how incomplete generalizations are. In a climate that is constantly trying to dehumanize and generalize, Love from A to Z is a necessary direct contrast to circulating stereotypes. Representation in literature matters, not just to the underrepresented, but to everyone.
Marvel: Hard hitting topics
Love from A to Z addresses complex, problematic topics in a way that isn’t preachy or patronizing.
Hard-hitting subjects are explained and discussed between the characters perfectly. It’s eye opening and galvanizing. As Zayneb said,
“I’m advocating for more people to get angry. Get moved.”
This novel moved me.
Marvel: Love (because, as I was warned, this is a love story)
The relationships in this book were so heartwarming. They were so full of acceptance, caring, and support.
Zayneb, Kavi, Ayaan, and Noemi.
Zayneb and Aunty Nanny.
Zayneb and the Emmas.
Adam and Hanna.
Adam and his parents.
Adam and Connor.
Adam and Zayneb.
The characters love one another for who they truly are, flaws and all. They celebrate and accept each other’s differences, and they make each other better people. These characters, though coming from different backgrounds and experiences, learn from one another and grow as a result of their relationships. Adam and Zayneb learn to love themselves just as much as they grow to love one another. They balance each other. The love in this novel, be it friend, family, romantic, or self, is so powerful. My heart was so full by the end.
“There was a reason love was a round-sounding word. It completed you and then some, like treading a circular path, the way it was immemorial. Whole. But also . . . infinite. It went on and on as long as you went on and on, to meet it, keep it, treasure it. And I would.”
Marvel: Squish and Binky.
Because duh. They were flipping adorable.
Oddity: Literally nothing.
There wasn’t a single thing I would change about this book.
It was perfect.
Everyone needs to read this book.
Young people. Old people. In between people (like myself). No matter who you are or where you come from. This book needs to be experienced by everyone.