By S K Ali, Salaam Reads / Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, paperback, 368 pages
A classic romance that's also a story of love for family and friends, Muslim identity, oneself, and the city of Doha, Qatar.
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.
About the author:
S. K. Ali is the author of Saints and Misfits, winner of the 2018 APALA Honor award, the 2017 Middle East Book Honor Award, and a 2018 William C. Morris Award finalist. Her second novel, LOVE FROM A TO Z, a story about finding love in the time of Islamophobia, was an Entertainment Weekly Top Ten Young Adult Book of 2019. She also has a picture book co-authored with Team USA Olympic Medalist, Ibtihaj Muhammad, THE PROUDEST BLUE, which debuted on the New York Times bestseller list.
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