I gave this book 5 full stars on Goodreads and that is rare for me.
Here is the summary of the book:
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.
Now, here is my review in the same format:
1. Adam: I have always had a soft spot for positive people. I try to be positive but I usually fail so I have a lot of respect for people who have been dealt really shitty cards in life but continue to see the beautiful things in life and focus on the things that inherently good. Those people make me believe that the world can actually... one day... maybe...be good?
They give me hope. That's the gist of it.
2. A Beautiful, Muslim Asian Canadian with a heart of gold: How exactly am I not supposed to swoon and add him to my list of fictional boyfriends? I had HUGE heart eyes while reading about this boy.
3. Teenage Romance: They are just really cute. To be young, to be wild, to be passionate and in love. It's just beautiful, don't you think?
4. Zainab: Major Girl Crush!! This is one open minded hijabi who is not afraid of using her voice and it is refreshing to read. I feel like we've gotten a lot more Muslim representation in YA lately but this girl might just be my favorite. She was annoying at times because she didn't know how to deal with her anger and her feelings but she slowly learnt that it was okay for her to feel the way that she did because well, IT IS HARD OUT HERE FOR MUSLIM WOMEN OF COLOR. S. K. Ali gave me a protagonist who learnt to smile at bigots and just fight the power with her truth- you know I have to STAN. 5. Freedom of religion: I need not say more about that but I will. Different religions and different ideologies can coexist. I love it when a book shows you that. 6. Aunties: I know that blood is not everything but I come from one of those families where your aunts are like your order sisters and I wish more people had that. When Family is good to you, it is really good to you. I don't want to get into the details of this because I can't do it without spoilers so I will just leave it at that. 7. AMS awareness. We don't hear enough about it. I definitely don't. I was happy to learn and I have researched more since reading the book. I think you should too.
1. I needed juuuust a little more: I was literally thinking about the implied sex at the end of this book for like 2 days after I read it. (Yes- I obviously read way too much smut and I am a teenage boy in a grown woman's body- that's just how it is!) So I would have wanted at least a description of their kiss or just... more about the physical once they were married. 2. It felt like a sermon sometimes: I know there was a lot being taught in this book and sometimes things needed to be explained but sometimes Zainab sounded very text book like.
All in all, this was a really good book and I really enjoyed it. I think it's one of those books that give you just enough insight into the life of a Hijabi to make you see things a little differently because it makes you realize that we have more in common than we have differences. Have you read it? What did you think?