Books·Canadian

Love from A to Z

A YA romantic comedy by S.K. Ali.

S.K. Ali

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.

Fuelled 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. (From Simon & Schuster)

From the book

This is a love story.

You've been warned.

Marvel: Two Saturdays in March

On the morning of Saturday, March 14, fourteen-year-old Adam Chen went to the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha.

A thirteenth-century drawing of a tree caught his gaze. It wasn't particularly striking or artistic. He didn't know why this tree caused him to stride forward as if magnetized. (When he thinks about it now, his guess is thus: Trees were kind of missing in the landscape he found himself in at the time, and so he was hungry for them.)

Once he got close, he was rewarded with the name of the manuscript that housed this simple tree sketch: The Marvels of Creation and the Oddities of Existence.

He stood there thinking about this grand title for a long moment.

Then something clicked in his mind: Maybe that's what living is — recognizing the marvels and oddities around you.


From Love from A to Z  by S.K. Ali ©2018. Published by Simon & Schuster.

Interviews with S.K. Ali

S K Ali on her debut YA novel, a modern day "My So-Called Life," starring a Muslim teen. 3:00

Other books by S.K. Ali

 

 

 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.