“The bighearted, wildly charming, painfully real love story I’ve been waiting for.” —Becky Albertalli, New York Times bestselling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
“Heartfelt and powerful.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
From William C. Morris Award Finalist S.K. Ali comes an unforgettable romance that is The Sun Is Also a Star meets Anna and the French Kiss, following two Muslim teens who meet during a spring break trip.
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.
This charming romance features two devout Muslim teens with a shared passion for a 13th-century Islamic textand a shared conundrum: "How do you meet that one exact person who's right for you?" On a plane to Doha, Qatar, outspoken Indiana high-school senior Zayneb feels an instant, mutual connection with Adam, an artist who has just dropped out of university in London after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the same illness that caused his mother's death. When Zayneb's aunt turns out to be Adam's former teacher, the teens find themselves thrown together socially. Alternating journal entries relay their different methods for dealing with challenges. Prone to anger and action, Zayneb plans to expose the teacher who accused her of being a militant Islamophobia propagandist and got her suspended from school. Quiet and patient, Adam waits until after the anniversary of his mother's death before revealing his diagnosis to his grieving father. Ali (Saints and Misfits) deftly addresses challenging subjects such as chronic illness and cultural appropriation; her sensitive portrayal of the teens' determination to honor their faith's courtship guidelines as their attraction grows makes this love story stand out. Ages 14 up. \n