!!> Reading ➹ Like a Love Story ➱ Author Abdi Nazemian – Liversite.co.uk

Like a Love Story Stonewall Honor Book A Love Letter To Queerness, Self Expression, And Individuality Also Madonna That Never Shies Away From The Ever Present Fear Within The Queer Community Of Late S New York, Like A Love Story Made Me Feel So Full Of Hope, Love, Courage, Pride, And Awe For The Many People Who Fought For Love And Self Expression In The Face Of Discrimination, Cruelty, And Death A Book For Warriors, Divas, Artists, Queens, Individuals, Activists, Trend Setters, And Anyone Searching For The Courage To Be Themselves Mackenzi Lee, New York Times Bestselling Author Of The Gentleman S Guide To Vice And VirtueIt S In New York City, And For Three Teens, The World Is ChangingReza Is An Iranian Boy Who Has Just Moved To The City With His Mother To Live With His Stepfather And Stepbrother He S Terrified That Someone Will Guess The Truth He Can Barely Acknowledge About Himself Reza Knows He S Gay, But All He Knows Of Gay Life Are The Media S Images Of Men Dying Of AIDSJudy Is An Aspiring Fashion Designer Who Worships Her Uncle Stephen, A Gay Man With AIDS Who Devotes His Time To Activism As A Member Of ACT UP Judy Has Never Imagined Finding Romance Until She Falls For Reza And They Start DatingArt Is Judy S Best Friend, Their School S Only Out And Proud Teen He Ll Never Be Who His Conservative Parents Want Him To Be, So He Rebels By Documenting The AIDS Crisis Through His PhotographsAs Reza And Art Grow Closer, Reza Struggles To Find A Way Out Of His Deception That Won T Break Judy S Heart And Destroy The Most Meaningful Friendship He S Ever KnownThis Is A Bighearted, Sprawling Epic About Friendship And Love And The Revolutionary Act Of Living Life To The Fullest In The Face Of Impossible Odds

  • Paperback
  • 432 pages
  • Like a Love Story
  • Abdi Nazemian
  • English
  • 23 January 2019
  • 9780062839374

About the Author: Abdi Nazemian

Abdi Nazemian spent his childhood in a series of exciting locations Tehran, Paris, Toronto, New York , but could usually be found in his bedroom watching old movies, listening to Madonna or reading Archie comic books He lives in Los Angeles with his husband and their two children.Abdis first novel, THE WALK IN CLOSET, was released in 2015 by Curtis Brown Unlimited, and was awarded Best Debut at

10 thoughts on “Like a Love Story

  1. says:

    Like a Love Story is the kind of book I wish I read as a teen when I was still navigating the pathways of my sexuality and needed the kindness of a friend who sits with you in comfort by the fire and can t change what s wrong but reminds you that you re not alone When I finished this book, I felt somehow at once endlessly heavy and weightless My chest still trills with something I cannot quite name Recognition, and sorrow, and hope all at once The whole world still feels shaped around this story, a warm welcoming place ready to receive me, whenever I longed to open the book and run my fingers under the words, feeling for the hope I will always find sheltered there So, what s this book about It s 1989, at the height of the AIDS crisis, and Reza is an Iranian closeted teen who s moved to New York from Toronto by way of Tehran, and is living with his mother and new stepfather and stepbrother.Reza did not want to die of AIDS the desire to not die has never been so searing Dark images of men pierced by the illness tore at him, and every nightmare that shook him carried the same subliminal four letter warning The fear sloshed over Reza, each wave colder than the last, and he might have floated on, believing those dull miseries were all there was, if he hadn t met Art and Judy and a small bird of hope took flight His attraction to Art this dreamer who taught him to hope for a different life made Reza s legs tense to flee, to scramble back to the safety of denial Reza tries to cut his desires from him by dating Judy, and his life becomes a wobbling cup of lies that threatens each moment to spill But with the help of Stephen Judy s uncle who is a gay activist and has AIDS, and in whose mind, ugly things are made beautiful , the unaccustomed feeling of community, and yes, even Madonna, Reza s courage, once shriveled by fear, rises in his chest.Reza only hopes that, in his blundering, he hadn t severed ties that might otherwise have been stimulated to warmth and affection again, and that his friendship with Judy would beat with a new rhythm The most important four letter word in our history will always be LOVE That s what we are fighting for That s who we are Love is our legacy Like a Love Story is a deeply affecting novel at once gutting and filled with unfathomable tenderness that made my heart sing like a plucked string The story felt like a breath that had been inhaled into darkness, only to be exhaled again as song Simple, unadorned, glorious There are countless avenues to tears in this book, and I strongly doubt many readers as cynical and unyielding as they may be will get through it dry eyed themselves.Among all the things that Like a Love Story seeks and succeeds to be, it s a love letter to queerness, to activism, to self expression, to the people who love despite scorn and condemnation and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved, and yes, to Madonna.Like a Love Story rings harsh, accusing, vibrant through every page, and it s clear that the author is making a point about the way history can steamroll over anyone who falls outside the norm Our history Who we are They won t teach it in schools They don t want us to have a history They don t see us, writes Nazemian, They don t know we are another country, with invisible borders, that we are a people The novel is grounded in the realities of daily life in the time period, where people women, people of color and queer people paid the heavy toll for the scathing indifference of governments and the pitiless profiteering of pharmaceutical companies This devastation signals a time capsule, except that things have changed so little for marginalized communities that it s hard to consign even the most hyperbolic discrimination to the past.A bright knife of grief plunges through my heart at the thought of the trials and tribulations our communities have faced and are still facing And, reading this book then spending time researching the historical figures mentioned, it seemed to me almost impossible that these people, so unspeakably brave, could have lived at all with such frail, flimsy stuff as skin keeping blood and breath safe inside their bodies and not something else, something Our history will always carry a shard of sorrow within it, but to borrow Stephen s words, the world can change If you fight hard enough for that change Don t forget that The novel s strength, though, is in the voices Nazemian gives his characters His characters are so achingly human they have the virtues of their flaws, and the flaws of their virtues, and their realistic relationships accurately depicts current issues of gender, race, and class The first person narration alternates between Reza, Art and Judy, occasionally interrupted by hearty and thought provoking passages from The Queer 101 Notecards Stephen made for Art that range from advice about high school to Madonna.The characters journeys are resonant and their feelings reached me in waves It was almost like being stripped to my skin, and I saw myself in their eyes.Art was all heat and volatility, he was passion, but not violence There were so many wants inside him that he doubted there was room for blood in his body His character radiates such a stark and roaring vitality that could lift the darkness almost palpably from the hearts of people around him But in the furnace of Art s grief, anger kindled The unfairness of what his community is continuously made to endure made him want to burn and shrill and rage if it ll make the world take note And it s that boundless passion which has been nurtured by Stephen whom Art had always seen as a father figure that had woken Reza to the understanding that for all his life he had been hollow It s Art who taught Reza that it s okay to want as terrifying as may be.Judy s character sung with its own vibration She shone with good nature and a stunning liveliness Her mind is like a spike toothed eel, and I admired how she gradually settles into herself, growing untouched by the words people with ill hearts kept ready on their tongues, a way to show their judgment of the shape of her body Judy also treats her friends to the full truth of her kindness She and Art have been friends for such long stretches of their lives they grew up in one another s pockets Though, truthfully, I couldn t help but react with a sort of angry bewilderment to the way Judy handled Reza s coming out However much I sympathized with her, I couldn t find within me the faintest flicker of blame towards Reza Fear and denial do strange things, and for most of us, coming out is a weight laid heavily across our shoulders like an iron yoke.Reza s character struck a deep chord within me It hit me, with a pang of familiarity, how worn thin Reza was with fear How his heart failed a little at the thought of people finding out the truth about him How he chose to remain diffident and nearly invisible, and how at the root of all his reasons was fear frantic, sharp, cracking like a blow It s what snagged at me the most It s the nameless horror of the consequences of being yourself Because sometimes, it seems that there is just no way to tell people closed to us the truth and make them understand it, that hearts that loved boys or girls or everyone otherwise both or in between are no different than any other heart.Like a Love Story also includes a romance, and I surprisingly relished how that element feels almost secondary, despite being necessary for the plot It s a welcome subversive take on the coming of age romance You meet people, and if you re lucky enough, they sink in your chest like stones into water, spreading sand as ripples in a pond They may stay in your life forever, or you will part, once, or twice, and then be divided anew, whether by choice or by fate Life is nothing but achingly bittersweet And so was Like a Love Story s ending.Unique, moving, and filled with flawed and yet real characters, this novel is a must for any library serving teens.BLOG TWITTER INSTAGRAM TUMBLR

  2. says:

    Wow Wow wow wow This book was incredible.

  3. says:

    Wow, this book hit very close to home for me.It s 1989 in New York City Reza has just moved with his mother to live with his wealthy new stepfather and stepbrother, and attend his final year of high school He knows he likes boys but all he sees in the media are images of people dying of AIDS, so he knows he has to keep his true self hidden.Judy has always been her own person, an aspiring fashion designer with a bold sense of style She spends all of her spare time with her best friend, Art, and her uncle, Stephen, who is dying of AIDS and is a prominent member of ACT UP The one thing Judy wants to find is love, but she doubts she ll ever find anyone to love her for who she is.Art is out and proud, a talented photographer who tries to put the constant bullying of his peers and the disdain of his parents behind him He documents the work of the ACT UP activists through his photographs Stephen is his role model, and he spends so much time learning from him Art wants to find someone to love him, but love and sex in the midst of so much uncertainty around AIDS frightens him.Reza and Judy start dating, and Art feels like a third wheel But Art and Reza are drawn to each other Reza tries desperately to fight his attraction to Art, because he doesn t want to disappoint his mother and he worries that acknowledging his sexuality will doom him to a death sentence of AIDS Art wants Reza, but knows that Judy is happy with him, and he doesn t want to betray his one true friend There may be no harder place to be queer than high school, a place of bullies and slurs, a place steeped in rituals of heterosexuality Who s dating who Who kissed who Who will be homecoming king and queen Who will be your prom date And you have to play along, because if you don t, your difference has a spotlight on it Abdi Nazemian s incredibly moving, heartfelt Like A Love Story so accurately captures what it was like to come to terms with your sexuality during the early days of the AIDS crisis You were tremendously fearful of even kissing someone, because you worked out elaborate circumstances in your head by which you could contract the disease And if you got AIDS, who would love you Your family would abandon you, the government would gouge you on the price of drugs, and you would be a pariah So why not hide your true self instead, pretend to be normal This is a book about friendship, family, fear, acceptance, and finding love It s a story about finding the courage to be yourself even in a world full of fear, and finding your people, who will love you and accept you no matter what It s also a beautiful love letter of sorts to those who came before us, who loved fearlessly and joyfully, who finally lived the lives they dreamed of, without worrying what people thought of them, and it s a tribute to all of the people who died of AIDS and lost loved ones and lived in courage rather than fear.I had been waiting for this book to be released and I jumped on it the day it was published I loved every single minute of Like A Love Story It s gorgeous and funny and sad and beautifully written, and all too many times I found myself nodding, recognizing myself in certain situations Nazemian put every ounce of his heart into this story and it shows, and I m definitely going to go back and read his earlier books, because I love the way he writes.I love books that effectively capture a specific time and place, and Like A Love Story did that It is an important, hopeful book that deserves every accolade it receives See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at You can follow me on Instagram at

  4. says:

    Could YA books with queer characters of color be any iconic I loved Like a Love Story and I m so happy it exists, alongside books like Benjamin Alire Saenz s Ari and Dante and Kelly Loy Gilbert s Picture Us in the Light and What sets this novel apart from other similarly fantastic YA reads is its masterful portrayal of the 1980s AIDS epidemic and the activism of that era The novel follows Reza, a closeted Iranian teen, Art, the out and proud guy Reza falls for, and Judy, Art s best friend who excels at fashion design Toward the beginning of the book, Reza dates Judy to conceal his sexuality When this arrangement unravels the three must deal with the fallout, of Reza s sexuality, of Art and Judy s friendship, and .Abdi Nazemian tackles so much in Like a Love Story and grounds it all in history so well The fear Reza experiences about contracting AIDS and dying, Art and Judy s uncle Stephen s activism with ACT UP, the characters love for Madonna Nazemian shows how the historical oppression of queer people affects his characters in intimate and powerful ways He honors so many complex, important topics like coming out as a person of color, what happens when a friend betrays you, death and grief, and He writes in a palatable, straightforward way that still gives space for all the feelings that come with loss and love.The focus on love is what made this book shine the most Until the last 80 or so pages I considered giving it four stars, as Art and Reza s relationship gave me insta love vibes and did not feel as developed or compelling compared to the romances in Aristotle and Dante and Picture Us in the Light But, the last 80 or so pages tied all of the novel s threads together to reveal its beautiful center love of art, love of activism, love of love I got pretty emotional reading Nazemian s author s note and felt so inspired by and happy for him, how he took his experience as a queer youth of color and transformed it into such amazing art I know that we have a lot to fight for to advance equality and justice for the LGBTIA community And, right now, I m giving my queer heart a little break, a little moment, so it can sing a happy song for this book s existence and all the love it entails.

  5. says:

    wowowowow, this is one of those stories that hollows you out completely and then makes you whole again it s a love letter to the queer community, and to past queer activists who have paved the way for all of us to live better lives today I can t think of a better read heading into pride month.

  6. says:

    yes I cried over this book, yes I still did not like it 2.5 stars, rtc buddy read with the loveliest

  7. says:

    2nd reading, and I love this book so much Endless love Truly one of the best books I ve read all year, Like a Love Story has the potential for wide appeal, but perhaps its greatest strength is how unflinchingly queer it is Abdi Nazemian writes a book that could be and honestly should be read by everyone, but it is above all a love letter to queer youth and anyone who ever was a queer youth.It s a history lesson about what it was like to be queer in the late 80s and early 90s, the way AIDS put a dark fearful cloud on so many human beings as they were coming of age But while well researched, this is fiction and it has a lovely fairy tale vibe without every losing any gritty human emotion.Here s a passage I adore Us All of us What we did Our history Who we are They won t teach it in schools They don t want us to have a history They don t see us They don t know we are another country, with invisible borders, that we are a people You have to make them see You have to remember it And to share it Please Time passes, and people forget Don t let them Music particularly Madonna plays a huge role in the novel, and the scene when the characters go to a Madonna concert is one of the greatest scenes in the book, IMO It actually moved me to tears as I thought about the first Tori Amos concerts I went to and how I felt so SEEN and LOVED during those shows You can just tell that Nazemian has truly lived so many of the things of this book because of its honesty, and it s clear that this book is a labor of love.If I could control things, I would love to see this book reach the kind of readership The Hate U Give has found Queer youth today face fewer challenges than Art and Reza face in the book, when falling in love with someone seemed, to many, to equal disease and death, and certainly fewer than Stephen and Jimmy , but there is still such a long way to go Too many queer youth still struggle with crippling depression and hurt themselves because they don t know how to accept themselves or belong to communities that don t see them Many still equate being queer with loneliness and shame and even death And so I m so glad for all the love and hope in this novel, one that never lets go of the beauty and necessity of resistance.This is the best book for Pride Month that I could have possibly asked for and maybe one of the best YA novels I ve ever read for all the love it exudes I don t often buy multiple copies for my classroom, but I will be buying of this one I want to share this with everyone.Let me end this short review which falls far short of what this book means to me with this incredible passage that needs to be sent out to every LGBTQ kid everywhere I ll tell you what we will never be deficient of LOVE We love art and beauty We love new ideas and pushing boundaries We love fighting against corruption We love redefining archaic rules We love men, and women, and men who dress like women, and women who dress like men We love tops and bottoms, and top hats, especially when worn by Marlene Dietrich But most of all, we love each other Know that We love each other We care for each other We are brothers and sisters, mentors and students, and together we are limitless and whole The most important four letter word in our history will always be LOVE That s what we are fighting for That s who we are Love is our legacy.

  8. says:

    LIKE A LOVE STORY is a little like a love story, really But in the sense of love for oneself, one s body, and one s community I think it did a really good job of that, particularly when propped up against the setting, but when it comes to the love story, the romance, within the book. it kinda failed And by kinda I mean really.Nazemian s story takes place on the cusp of the nineties, in 1989, and is set against the AIDS crisis Not as a backdrop but as a very real threat and very present player for our three protagonists Art is out and proud and angry His best friend, Judy, has an uncle dying of AIDS And the new kid, originally from Iran, is Reza someone both friends fall for but who, despite initially dating Judy, is closeted I knew this wouldn t be an easy story but I knew it would be an important one It was a frightening time and is made even terrifying when held up against the current social and political climate Addressing the bigotry and the homophobia was all very visceral and awful but well done I felt like I was living it Where the fear of touch, of being touched, infected every interaction Where not subscribing to white, heteronormative, ideals made you worthy of hate or shunning Where it was acceptable to wish your son dead just for being queer Where hate fuelled both sides of the equation one side for being ushered into an early grave just for being who they were, and the other for not understanding or not accepting people different from themselves What I believe failed this story was the characters.The romance is fast tracked as is fairly typical though the fact that these two besties go from zero to eleven within half a page over the new kid is unlikely as it is but for it to be turned into a triangle, infusing unnecessary drama into the mix, just becomes tedious and ultimately, it s the leads that do a disservice to the goings on around them Or, rather, I feel they overshadowed the rest with their nonsense I outright disliked two of the POVs one strongly than the other but overall it was their behaviours, too, that I just couldn t stand The most important four letter word in our history will always be LOVE That s what we are fighting for That s who we are Love is our legacy.I m heartbroken that this didn t work but I do think, if the synopsis draws you in, you should still pick it up LIKE A LOVE STORY is a book that features a four star topic but is, unfortunately, saddled with one star protagonists I received an ARC from the publisher thank you in exchange for an honest review This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.

  9. says:

    So close to five but just couldn t get there Super developed character Stephen mentor character and activist who showed the gravity of any situation while offering comic relief Reza one of the 3 protagonists and POVs Deals with being an immigrant, a POC, homosexual, and comes from a culture that violently opposes who he is so a lot of internal conflict for a soft spoken character who wants to please his family above all else.Art the extrovert gay character who uses confidence to mask his fear because the alternative is unthinkable This leads him to moments of being a little hot headed but never without reason.Judy the straight white middle class ally and best friend dealing with her own internal struggles Niece of Stephen who teaches her the uphill battle his community faces.There are side characters like Reza s mom, sister, step brother and step father All of whom have moments of sympathy well kinda There are also the families of the other protagonists and various students and protestors who served a specific purpose and nothing beyond that Plot 3 high school seniors from different backgrounds living in NYC interact in a love triangle that tests their friendship during the height of the AIDS epidemic It s a compelling coming of age tale that involves three teenagers finding strength through Madonna s music to freely express who they are during a time where that was potentially fatal.Writing style captured unique voices for each character, and created some very emotional dialogue Though the stakes were high there wasn t much tension throughout the text Actions and reactions but no buffer between where you believe things might go another way It s not a flaw, just a style that kept the focus on the internal struggles of the 3 main characters and not the external struggles of the world.

  10. says:

    Nazemian has graced us with his impeccable writing, poignant storytelling and a nuanced and meaningful read So much honesty, courage and potpourri of emotions portrayed in a single book RTC Extending my deepest gratitude to Edelweiss and Balzer Bray for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review However, this does not affect any opinions or feedback stated concerning the book whatsoever. TW Homophobic slurs, racial slurs, heterosexism, violence The most important four letter word in our history will always be LOVE That s what we are fighting for That s who we are Love is our legacy I loved this book to bits It is than just a love story It is than just the value of friendship It is than just loving someone who your bestfriend also happens to love It is than just being an immigrant living in a Western country This has all the markings of a grand and stellar debut Nazemian had written this book as if his life depended greatly on it He had put something of an essence into this story He gave it its own life, instilled in it a longing to be heard not only by the members of the LGBT community themselves but also the people belonging to all genders Emphasizing the impartiality between every person s identity and the normalcy of being a homosexual even amidst facing discrimination from people who are seemingly above reproach in a world full of contempt and obloquy are only what made up a quarter of the book alongside the persistence of fighting and standing up for equal human rights This book delivers one hell of a blow to the universe for its bias and prejudice Maybe freedom always comes with pain One of the main characters, Reza, comes from a different culture, one that does not tolerate homosexuality He was born in Iran and brought along to another country before he finally settled in NYC because this was where his mother found new love after his father died in an uprising back in his motherland He now is exposed to an affluent kind of living and has therefore all the resources he needs for himself Well at least, while he is at home and at school There is only one thing that always keeps him on edge he likes boys and he wants to keep it a secret from anyone Scared of the possibility of banishment from the family and AIDS taking over his system, he could only do so much as keep his infatuations in check and confine them deep within his mind, not letting them take control of his body With trepidation hanging over his head, he resorted to having a seemingly intimate connection with a girl in his new school, all while searching for his own identity in the process But then, along the way, he developed some kind of strange fascination to this guy at school I need to live, and to live, I can t ever be what I know that I am The guy s name is Art, another one of the main characters in the book This one had a keen fondness for anything that has to do with art He pours his love for it resolutely and shows it through the set of clothes he wore, the way he sticks colors in his hair, his love for Madonna, his dogged alluring stance he carries on perpetually, and being the only queer in an all heterosexual school He has a family that does not quite understand him a father who pampers his son with his riches so as to gradually make him just as competent as he is someday, a burgeoning venerable and an honest to goodness businessman, and a mother who incessantly weeps at the sight of her son divagating from his father s wishes but does not do anything about it He has only ever felt accepted by a community of homosexuals involved in an activism along with his long term best friend Judy He makes a militant activist himself who fights alongside the gay community to preserve their gay rights movement and advocacy to attain some justice for themselves It s the parents that have to change first Because so long as parents are telling their kids that being gay is a sin, or that this disease is God s way of killing gay people, or that celibacy is the only way not to die, or that they can get it from sitting on the wrong toilet seat, then nothing else matters Because teenagers, well, I mean, we don t tell grown ups what we do because we already know how they re going to react We already know that they ll either pretend we never said what we said, or ground us, or blame us And you know, most people don t really have parents like you Amidst these activists running amok stands Judy, the ever supportive friend and an allegiant ally to the activists cause She is dearly connected with the other two main characters, one who she has developed a crush on and the other who she has been friends with ever since they were kids She aspires to reach her desire to be a fashion designer when she grows up that and to have a lifetime spent with Reza Conflicts arise when love finds its way among the three of them, toppling relationships and building them back up again I love this about these guys, their ability to laugh through their anger, to find light even in injustice There are several constants evident in the book that served as shared coping mechanisms which futher deepened the foundation of friendship and averted the fraying relationships from fully crumbling to pieces and instead gave way to a newfound bond that is both steady and impenetrable Just like how their love for Madonna brought them even closer to each other, they also have Stephen, Judy s gay uncle, on the center stage of their friendship Stephen stood as their anchor, their mentor and loving parent for most of the times they felt lost and indecisive If there is one person in the world I would be given the chance to meet, it would be him His character was made to be endearing and brave that somehow at some point while going through the motions in my life, I had thought of him and instinctively his appealing traits have become suddenly infectious that it got me living like I was him at those moments It feels like being reminded that the point of BEING alive is to FEEL alive The only time I got slightly upset with this book, had it not ended up that way, was when I had reached the part somewhere towards the ending There was something in it that left me out of sorts I actually thought this one aspect in the book would remain as is until it ended but it led me towards a different and unfamiliar territory altogether I think it may work out for some readers out there but damn, how could you do this to me, Abdi view spoiler It broke my heart in absolute half that Reza and Art did not end up together in the end Weren t they meant for each other I mean, just look at how lovely they look together Those lovebirds, yes hide spoiler

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