A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Offers readers a look at insults, false assumptions that can be an almost everyday occurrence for young Muslim women. On flight to Doha, woman seated next to Zayneb (muttering things like "bitch" under her breath since she first sat down) sees Zayneb writing in her journal in Arabic, demands to be moved, loudly telling flight attendant she's being threatened. In an odd twist, when Zayneb tries to swim in pool at her aunt's apartment complex in Doha, a man reports her for wearing a modest non-revealing swimsuit. In author's note, Ali relates that these two incidents were based on personal experience. Zayneb tells friends in Indiana about hateful reactions she often gets from feminists who see her hijab as sign of oppression rather than symbol of her faith.
No matter your age, you can stand up and speak out against racism and injustice.
Positive Role Models
As a hijab-wearing teen, Zayneb is accustomed to people making snap judgments about her ("she must be a terrorist" or "oppressed by the men in her family"), but she's proud of her faith and what her hijab represents. When a teacher continues to make false and inflammatory statements about Islam and Muslims, she calls him out and doesn't back down. Adam, confronted with an uncertain future because of his MS, is determined it won't keep him from having the best possible life.
Violence & Scariness
Students read a news report about an "honor killing" in which a Muslim girl is buried alive. A character learns that her Pakistani grandmother was killed on her way to a wedding by an American drone strike gone wrong.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Adam and Zayneb fall in love but share a value regarding dating: no kissing, touching, or sexting. Characters kiss in the epilogue.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
A very few uses of "bitch," "s--t," "bulls--t," and "a--hole." A single use of "c--t."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Numerous references to movies (Little Women, Black Panther, The Lion King). Characters play Angry Birds on their phones. Adam and his friends are huge Harry Potter fans. Zayneb's Aunt Natasha loves to listen to '70s music. Section at back of book titled "Love from A to Z Top Ten Contenders" lists the 10 songs that appear in the book, dedicates each to a specific group ( e.g., "I Will Survive" to the Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council, "Seasons in the Sun" to old friends who supported her and shared her love of books, "Stand By Me" to her family).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character's adult, non-Muslim relative keeps a box of liquor stashed away in her apartment.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the "A" in S.K. Ali's Love from A to Z is Adam Chen, a Chinese Finnish Canadian Muslim university freshman with a devastating secret. The "Z" is Zayneb Malik, a Pakistani Guyanese Trinidadian hijab-wearing high school senior from Indiana, who's been suspended from school after confronting an Islamophobic teacher. The two meet on a flight to Doha, Qatar, where both will be spending spring break. Adam is returning home to tell his father and sister that he's been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the disease that took his mother's life. As the story and a budding romance unfold, Adam tries to see his way forward into an uncertain future, and Zayneb teams up with her friends back home to try to hold her teacher to account. There are a few uses of strong language ("bitch," "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," and a single use of "c--t"). Told through the journal entries of Adam and Zayneb, the novel uses two enormously relatable and thoughtful characters to shine a bright light on Islamophobia, social injustice, and drone warfare.
Is It Any Good?
This unforgettable love story takes on controversial issues like Islamophobia, racism in the classroom, and the morality of drone warfare. Like Ali's first novel, Saints and Misfits, Love from A to Z features a smart, feisty hijab-wearing teen girl who sees an injustice and demands that it be righted. Both novels are excellent reads for teens who want to learn more about what life is like for young Muslims living their faith in a multicultural world that can be both welcoming and threatening.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.