This year packed some pretty stellar YA reads! Coming back into this blog, I decided to get spoiled and post two book reviews 😊
Can you tell I’ve missed rambling my bookish opinions to someone? 🙈 I’m pretty happy to say that I’ve ticked off some crucial TBR reads with these overall so round of applause for me for actually picking something out of my TBR shelf instead of reading a new book 😂
Disclaimer: By ordering the book via my Blackwell’s affiliate program, I receive a small commission at no extra cost from you.
In A Flash:
- A chorus of stunning poetry
- Inspired by the “Central Park Joggers Case”, 1989 NYC
- Raw and truthful insight on racism, social injustice, prison system, and the education system
The story that I thought
was my life
didn’t start on the day
I was born
Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.
The story that I think
will be my life
Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?
SKIP to Review
I wanted to tab this book but couldn’t tab a single page because every line written is brilliant and not a single word wasted. This was a symphony of rhyme and rhythm that slipped into your senses and tugged the strings of your heart.
I was even more in awe to find out that some of the lines were actual lines that Yusef Salaam has written during his years of incarceration. This book was nothing short of authentic with a raw vulnerability that is eye-opening as it is creative. It’s easily one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read in my life.
I’m so happy so many young adults and teens have this masterpiece to read, it chants a continuous chorus of “I see you’s” and “I hear you’s” to those tired, hunched, and beaten down by the American System.
Do I recommend ? 100% yes
In A Flash:
- Soft boy love interest
- Halal romance
- Strangers to friends to lovers
- An deep insight into faith and Islamophobia
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.
SKIP to Review
Love From A to Z turned out to be more profound and deep than I anticipated. It tugged at my heartstrings in all ways that mattered, and seeing examples of positive Muslim rep, real Muslim teens who seem so authentic is unreal.
In many ways I could not believe this book was published, simply because it was unapologetically Muslim, and I just thought “no the world isn’t ready for this. It cannot handle it.” Though it’s here, it’s real, it’s everywhere, and something like hope bloomed in my heart. Perhaps the world is changing and more inclusive stories will be told.
I was biased here, I love Adam’s character. He’s the embodiment of a perfect gentleman and it’s so nice to see boys get a softness in their personalities as opposed the regular macho muscular persona. Zayneb gave me a bit of an anxiety, but I understood her anger, I saw her, felt her because I too am a Hijabi Muslim.
In this reflection, I am eternally grateful for Ali for sharing the harsh circumstances we Hijabis find ourselves in.
Do I recommend ? Yes, it should be on your list of YA Romance Contemporaries.