Anissa is traumatized by the most brutal conflict of the 21st Century: the Syrian Civil War. In 2012, Islamists in Homs terrorize a Syrian-Christian community and destroy everything that a young woman holds dear. Narrowly escaping death, Anissa restarts her devastated life as a college student in NY. She is bewildered and lost -- a virgin in every sense.
But despite her inexperience with men and life in the United States, Anissa is quickly drawn to two powerful individuals: Michael Kassab, the Syrian-American leader working to found the first Mideast Christian state, and Julien Morales, her Columbia University professor who runs a $20 billion hedge fund.
Complicating matters, Michael is still attached to his ex-girlfriend and Julien is the most sought after bachelor in Manhattan (and has hidden demons even his therapist can't extract). Anissa's heart and her communal ties pull her in different directions, as she seeks hope and renewal in a dark world.
WARNING: This book is about a young woman's difficult journey: her escape from Syria's Civil War, her transition to a new a country, and the relationships that she forms along the way, including her romantic interests in two very different men. The story is set against the backdrop of the Syrian Civil War and makes reference to violent acts, sometimes in detail. There is some occasional profanity and a few scenes that depict sexual intimacy. Accordingly, the recommended minimum age for readers is 16. The novel might be compared to books like "The Diary of Anne Frank" or "The Kite Runner."
Customer ReviewsSee All
A Great Journey
I have read Zack's first novel and his short stories and thought those were hilarious and they also made me think, not just read. I was very excited about this book since I knew it would be different from anything else I have for awhile and I was right. The last book I read and can even compare it to was Kite Runner.
Anissa escapes Syria after a very tragic event, one that is not rare at the time of her departure. Her father arranged for her to go to New York to be with his brother's family and to have a better life. She is very determined to focus on her studies and to get into a University and to stay close to her roots. To help her family and the Christians in Syria.
On her journey she does go to a University and also meets two powerful men. One is a bit older and an activist, she wants to help the cause so she joins the fight. She is not sure if Michael just looks at her as a fellow student on his side or as more. She is drawn to him because of his views and passion to help.
Anissa also meets Professor Julien Morales. He is in charge of a 20 Million dollar hedge fund and is also a billionaire. If her studies pay off she could work for him in the future but that is not all she has in mind. He is powerful, worldly, sexy and also almost twice her age but she doesn't care. There is just something about him and she wants to get to know him better and to also see if he is willing to help the cause.
Professor Morales sees something in Anissa that he doesn't see in other women. She is beautiful, intelligent and can banter. She is also brave for coming to New York and going through what he believes was horrible acts back in Syria. He wants to figure her out, get to know her but she is still his student. He also needs to trust her which is hard for him to do since so many before he have been untrustworthy. There are complications but can they come up with a deal? Will she be a Virgin by the end?
Anissa is torn between two powerful men. She doesn't know how to work this out since she never even had one boyfriend before this. She wants to help the cause but also develop relationships outside of it and her past. As for which man to choose, well for me there is no question but my name isn't Anissa.
I thought it was awesome that the novel was in journal form in Anissa and Julien's POVs. Julien has a dark side and nightmares that resurface throughout his life. I can't wait to find out what causes them and what will happen next.
Overall, the novel is very well-written, thought provoking and powerful. You can tell a lot of research was made and Zack cares very much about what is happening in the rest of the world, not just the United States. I am Armenian and know of some of my ancestors deaths during the Genocide, you do not read much about it in textbooks or hear about it but it was included the novel so Thank you Zack for that.
And then there is the romance part of it...Anissa's journey is also about how to develop relationships and learning what they are all about.
“If you will it, it is no dream,” he affirmed, with a twinkle in his eye.
She trounced my plan to forget her by making herself so unforgettable that I could think of only one thing: I had to have her.
“When you come to a new country with so little, all you have is your character.”
Moving and gripping story
In this moving and gripping story, Zack Love has managed to raise
awareness about the genocide of Christians in the Middle East in a
story with drama, romance, suspense, and even some occasional comic
relief. The novel is refreshingly original yet informational: beyond
Mideast history and the persecution of Middle East Christians, the
book also explores topics like human psychology, trust, PTSD,
intimacy, and other weighty topics of that sort. If you want a lighter
read, I'd recommend his romantic comedy ("Sex in the Title"). But this
book will make you cry, think, learn, and maybe even change how you
see the world. Best book I've read in years. Can't wait for the