Love From Mecca To Medina by S.K. Ali (340 pages)
Adam And Zayneb’s Love Story Continues To Travel Around The World In Love from Mecca To Medina
Adam is struggling to find his next paid project while living with his family in Doha, oceans away from his love. Zayneb is bustling away in Chicago as she tries to focus on law school and her unconventional living situation, all while trying to dodge false allegations about her that have spread all over campus. Both Adam and Zayneb have kept their struggles a secret from one another, and when the opportunity to go on a spiritual journey to Mecca presents itself, Adam jumps at the opportunity. Zayneb, reluctant at first, joins in on the trip and hopes to rekindle their love after months apart. They both hope that this will ease some of the trials and tribulations they’ve faced as a newlywed, long-distance couple.
When Adam’s old love interest begins to assert herself during this spiritual expedition, and Zaynebs anxieties over the entire situation take over her, the trip does not pan out as they hoped. With their relationship on the line and their faith tested, Adam and Zayneb must decide if their love can withstand hardship or if this journey is leading them down a different path.
Author S.K. Ali is Careful and Selective in Her Craft
The story is set primarily in two of the holiest cities in the world, and to read about Mecca and Medina in fiction truly brought me joy. Author S.K. Ali paints a harmonious picture of what it is like to be a pilgrim in these cities and captures the feelings of serenity and harmony during certain rituals really well. It is clear that she is careful, selective and respectful in her craft, and as a Muslim, I commend Ali for bringing our story to the publishing world.
Zayneb and Adam are four years older in this sequel, but seemed to have lost some of the maturity that I admired about them in book one, Love From A To Z. For example, Zayneb’s insecurities toward her relationship with Adam conflicted with her strong, steadfast personality that we previously saw whenever she faced adversity. The miscommunication trope dragged on too long, and at times it felt like they were too immature to be in a relationship. As with many Young Adult romance novels, drama is necessary, but there were many instances where I found certain dilemmas to be slightly unrealistic. There were moments in the plot that felt underdeveloped, and perhaps it is as a result of all the miscommunications that I felt I was missing something.
The Bottom Line: 3/5 stars
It brings me great joy to see myself represented in a book, especially because I never saw that as a child or a young adult. For there to be accurate representations of Muslims in literature is truly incredible. Ali, an OWN voice storyteller, brings important subjects to light, and we need more of her voice in the publishing world. I absolutely adored Ali’s Love From A to Z, but this sequel fell short for me. This book, at times, read like a course on the introduction to Islam. While I understand the necessity of having to explain rights and rituals–and this is in no way a criticism of Ali’s writing–I was left confused not knowing who the main target audience is. It left me feeling detached in a way I didn’t with book one. Despite this, I would recommend this book, especially to young adult Muslim readers who can relate to the main characters.
You can read my review of Ali’s Love From A to Z here.
Maiya Alismaili is a 34 year old bookacholic who currently resides in Ottawa. With a background in Human Resources and Psychology, you will often find her people watching. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, she will likely be exploring the town for new bookstores, rewatching Gilmore Girls, or cleaning to 80s music.
Favorite Book: A Fine Balance By Rohinton Mistry
Favorite Brunch Spot: Cafe Cristal