Begin. We meet Zayneb a Muslim in hijab, sitting on a plane next to a verbally Islamophobic woman. It is established that Zayneb is angry at the affront and she has a passion for justice. Unfortunately, her high school history teacher insults her cultural heritage every day. One time he goes too far and she confronts him. This earns her a suspension and she heads to her aunt’s in Doha (located in Qatar on the Persian Gulf).
Quiet and sensitive Adam, a university student in London, is also headed to Doha when the two accidentally meet for a moment at the airport. They part never expecting to meet again.
But they do, as Adam is a family friend of Z's aunt. Told in alternate chapters, Z and A voice their feelings about each other and the issues they are dealing with. Adam is hiding his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis from his family and is trying to keep his mother’s memory alive for his little sister. Zayneb is exploring her identity as a woman in a Muslim country and confronting stereotypes.
This is their love story as they support and care for each other. Their marvels and oddities make them grow separately and together.
This is my favorite wisdom from the book: The size of the world is relative to our mind’s perception of it.
“For some of us, this means the world is small, including only those we see as belonging to it…. People who look like us, dress like us, think like us.
For others, it’s a medium-size and includes those we connect to through some similarity…which then allows us to overlook the differences between us and them.
And then there are those who see the world as huge…. Huge enough to include vast differences, people with nothing in common with one another except a beating heart and a feeling soul, these two—heart, soul—being the strongest connection between us all.”
To which world do you belong?
Tessa's Pick, 7th-8th grade, Character driven, Contemporary fiction, Global perspectives, Issues fiction, Romance