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Like a Love Story

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  9,327 ratings  ·  2,023 reviews
It's 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing.

Reza 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 AIDS.

432 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Balzer + Bray
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Barbara Dougherty Evans The book, "Like a Love Story" is incredible. I was so lucky to win an advance reader's edition of it through GoodReads. I read it in less than 24 hour…moreThe book, "Like a Love Story" is incredible. I was so lucky to win an advance reader's edition of it through GoodReads. I read it in less than 24 hours. It is too wonderful for words. I laughed, I cried, I had so many emotions. The characters come to life on the pages and you feel everything they feel. AIDS is such a tragedy and we lost so many people to the disease. Luckily today there are some powerful drugs that can keep it a bay and slow down the progression so that those affected have a very long life expectancy. In the early days this was not the case. I remember the fear and how being gay was looked upon as a death sentence. (less)
Ariella Waters Similar... I loved It's A Sin too... absolutely heartbreaking. This book is set in New York while It's A Sin was set in London. This book also follows…moreSimilar... I loved It's A Sin too... absolutely heartbreaking. This book is set in New York while It's A Sin was set in London. This book also follows younger people, the 3 main characters are 17, I believe while the characters in It's A Sin are in their early 20s. However, this book is similar to It's A Sin in the fact that it follows young queer people growing up in the middle of the AIDS epidemic and them discovering themselves and their identities and falling in love. It's definitely more of a young adult story whereas I would say It's A Sin is more new adult. (less)

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chai ♡
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 on your own.

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
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
I don’t really write reviews on goodreads anymore but wow was this an amazing, beautiful, important book. A great read to start Pride Month. I higgggghly recommend that you read it.
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Wow. Wow wow wow. This book was incredible.
may ➹
I didn’t mean to make this a full-on rant, but it turned out that way because I just really hated so many things in this book! this is definitely one of my messier reviews, but I just had a lot of (bad) things to say, and it really isn’t organized

Isn’t love supposed to conquer all? Then let it conquer AIDS.

my issues with Judy
- the way Judy was written is why I will never trust men writing female characters. she definitely was suffering from girl hate and “I’m not like other girls” in
Larry H
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, an
Could YA books with queer characters of color be any more 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 more. 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
Madalyn (Novel Ink)
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-releases
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. ✨
C.G. Drews
May 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was so packed with love and rage and passion that I'm still in awe. It's going to stay with me 😩👌🏻 it also packs in a lot of queer history from such a personal and intimate angle that you really feel there, living it. Also audiobook is absolutely amazing (full cast and they were all gorgeous).

It's set in the 1980s, following the rising AIDS epidemic and three teens just trying to find their footing in the world: Reza, Art, and Judy. Reza is newly immigrated from Iran and he knows he's gay b
Hussein Baher
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
"If you see an elderly person walking down the street, or across from you at a coffee shop, don't look away from them, don't dismiss them, and don't just ask them how they're doing. Ask them where they have been instead. And then listen.
Because there's no future without a past."
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
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 AI
h o l l i s
LIKE A LOVE STORY is a little like a love story, really. But more 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
R.K. Gold
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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
Marieke du Pré
Jun 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, history
As a teen in the 80s I knew people died of AIDS. But it felt far away. Until I saw Rene Klijn, a beautiful fragile Dutch guy singing on television. His performance (Mr. Blue) touched my whole being. And when he died in 1993 it hurt. Of course I knew facts about AIDS, I knew the prejudices, and I knew Freddy Mercury died of AIDS. But Rene Klijn made me really understand what AIDS did to your body, to your whole life, what people having AIDS went through.

Don’t forget me. Not just me. Us. All of u
lily ☁️
“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.”

// buddy read with the wittiest

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Anyta Sunday
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I feel like I fought and I loved and I lived through these dynamic, flawed characters.

I feel like crying.
I feel like loving and loving and loving.

Like a Love Story gifts us every shade of the emotional rainbow.

My eighth book for Pride Month 2019!

These are going to be some strong words, but: this isn't just my favorite out of all the books I've read this month for Pride Month. This is my absolute favorite queer Young Adult book of all time.

I know there is no such thing as perfection or flawlessness. But even if this book did have flaws, they were minuscule enough for me either not to notice or not to care. All of this book's themes were interwoven so seamlessly--love, romanc
Erin Kelly
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book will save the lives of young people in the queer community. I mean that literally and figuratively. A necessary addition to the LGBTQ+ canon that is being (and will continue to be) embraced by many—and rightly so. I’m happy this book is in the world.

May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5, rounded down.

One of the better YA LGBTQ+ books out there, it was surprisingly unputdownable and involving, with interesting and full-bodied characters (which ISN'T a crack about Judy's weight issues!). If it goes a bit over the top and didactic towards the end, to pull on those tear ducts - well, I have to admit it was effective. A few things disconcerted me: I never really got why everyone blamed Art (including himself) for the weird situation between Judy and Reza - it seemed to me he ben
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5/5 Stars

I'm so glad to have read this book because I truly think it adds something to the YA genre. The author decided put the focus on the AIDS crisis that was going on in the USA at the end of the 80s and I think he respectfully talked about this topic and shed light on a lot of things: not only about the disease, but also on what was going on in the city, like for example the numerous and different protests that were organized.

The characters were very diverse which is something I truly app
5 stars
TW: graphic AIDS related complications and deaths, hospitalization, closeted characters, homophobia & homophobic slurs, self-hatred, poor parent-child relationships, death of a parent, health-related anxiety, racism & racist slurs
Rep: Iranian immigrant gay boy MC, gay male MC, multiple major queer SCs

The Writing
The voices of the three different narrators were really easy to distinguish between, in my opinion, and I really loved what each of the main characters brought to the table.
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
rep: gay Iranian mc, gay mc

For the first time in my life, I know what being gay is all about. It’s not about the wet dreams, or the jerking off, or the ability to impersonate your diva of choice. It’s about the feeling you get when you look into another person’s eyes and have an out-of-body experience. It’s about whatever the hell I was feeling when I really saw Reza for the first time. It’s about love. How can I not keep fighting for that?

3.5 ☆

i loved so many things abt this book and i couldn't
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Since I can't speak to this book as well as someone who's lived this life, I'm sharing a few reviews I've read on Goodreads for you. I hope this helps bring more understanding, but I encourage everyone to read this book. It made me cry and made me think and really made me want to read whatever Abdi Nazemian publishes next.

Book Reviews by Own Voices (pulled from Goodreads)
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Never in my life have I cried while reading a book as much as I have cried while reading Like a Love Story.

It was heart-wrenching. It was beautiful and tragic and eye-opening and... I don’t have the words. It transcends. It’s about friendship, and loss, and family, and most importantly, it’s about LOVE.

I’m a mess. Please, please read this book.
 ⛅ Saniya (sunnysidereviews) ⛅
This one is hard to review. I appreciate the historical aspect and passion in the novel. But, Art and Judy are so dislikable. Judy was written very poorly. Why did she judge and/or hate other women?? And Art was so selfish, and pressured Reza to do the deed with him. Overall, this story was educational, but these characters were annoying. (Except for Reza, I loved him.)
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those stories that will stick with me for a very long time <3
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This book is a love letter to all things queer, friendship, New York and Madonna. It also speaks beautifully about fighting against homophobia, prejudices and trying to survive AIDS.

I could go without a love triangle, but everything else in this book was just wonderful. (And even the love triangle wasn't really that bad). The book made me excited about going to visit NY one day, made me listen to Madonna's old songs and check out fashion of the 1989.

It uncovered all the horrible things LGBT+ p
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book in a row that sits so close to my personal experience that I cannot be objective in my review. Set in 1990 NYC, this is teen fiction about coming of age in the midst of the AIDS crisis. The 3 central characters are just a couple years younger than me and their confusion and desperation and grief about losing men to AIDS hit me right in the soul. Substitute Chicago for NYC, and I was right back in the heart of it.
This is very much teen fiction - it's high emotions, pathos
May 02, 2019 added it
Shelves: dnfed
The book follows 3 teens that are kind of misfits and find a way to belong. There is Reza, an Iranian boy who is new at the school and is struggling with where his dad left them and more importantly, the fact he is attracted to guys. He feels he is not normal, hopes it is a fase that he will outgrow, and is scared of dying because AIDS has just made its outbreak and at first it was kind of thought it was a thing that only affected homosexuals, although afterwards it's shown it can affect anyone. ...more
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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.

Abdi’s first novel, THE WALK-IN CLOSET, was released in 2015 by Curtis Brown Unlimited, and was awarded Best Debut at

Articles featuring this book

If you like books about queer kids falling in love and having adventures, you're in for quite the treat this month. June brings a great...
54 likes · 38 comments
“Tell your story until it becomes woven into the fabric of our story. Write about the joys and the pain and every event and every artist who inspires you to dream. Tell your story, because if you don't, it could be wiped out. No one tells our stories for us. And one more thing. If you see an elderly person walking down the street, or across from you at a coffee shop, don't look away from them, don't dismiss them, and don't just ask them how they're doing. Ask them where they have been instead. And then listen. Because there's no future without a past.” 27 likes
“I always thought my own father hated me, but Stephen said to me that nobody truly hates anyone. Hate is just fear in drag, he said.” 22 likes
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