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Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemien is a book set during 1989, at the height of the AIDS crisis. It follows Reza, an Iranian teen boy who has just moved to NYC, who struggles with accepting the fact that he’s gay when all he’s ever known of gay life is men dying of AIDS. He meets Judy, an aspiring fashion designer, and her best friend Art. Judy falls headfirst for Reza and the two teens soon begin dating, but Reza finds himself unable to deny his attraction to Art while dating Judy. As Art and Reza grow closer, Reza finds himself at a crossroads of finding a solution that won’t result in breaking Judy’s art and finding the courage to truly be with Art loud and proud.
The book is set in NYC and during 1989, at the height of the AIDS crisis. It follows the main characters Reza, Judy, and Art. It also follows Uncle Stephen, Judy’s uncle who has been diagnosed with AIDS and his activist work with his group, ACT UP, who are fighting for reforms regarding the AIDS crisis. The best word I would use to describe this book is emotional, because it shined a light on the activist movement during the AIDS crisis. It was a story that truly delved into the harsh reality queer people suffered during the AIDS crisis due to the apathy of governments and pharmaceutical companies. I had bittersweet feelings towards the end because although the ending was sad, it felt complete for each of the characters.
One memorable thing about the book was definitely Reza’s journey and his self-acceptance. I enjoyed seeing Reza grow into someone who was sure and proud of himself, who decided that he wasn’t going to let himself be afraid of a movement that left men like him dying. I will say that I did dislike some of the main characters at some point in the story. Judy, for example, annoyed me with her initial act of criticizing the other girls at her school. It felt like a typical ‘I’m not like other girls’ case that I hate seeing in female characters. But overall, this book is a five-star worthy book that brought out all the emotions.
Reviewed by Tasnia, Libbie Mill Library