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Like a Love Story

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4.32  ·  Rating details ·  3,531 ratings  ·  822 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.

Judy
...more
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…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)

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Average rating 4.32  · 
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 ·  3,531 ratings  ·  822 reviews


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Chaima ✨ شيماء
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
...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Wow. Wow wow wow. This book was incredible.
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,
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Thomas
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's
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Mads
Aug 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
I feel bad giving this a one star rating because I know it's by an own voices author but I had so many issues with it. The story itself could've been powerful as it takes place in the 1980s during the AIDS crisis. But the characters ruined it for me. They're extremely flawed and not in the good way where they'll get character development later. They're flawed in the "I'm an asshole" way.

There's a scene where Saadi, Reza's homophobic brother who fat shames Judy and treats her like shit, hits on
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Madalyn (Novel Ink)
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
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. ...more
Hollis
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
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Jerico
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
...more
Hussein Baher
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favs, 2019, i-cri
*clears voice*
*taps mic*
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

I'll probably write a coherent review later on... Maybe not.
But until then GO READ THIS.

Gtg cry in a corner.
Dominic
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
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
...more
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
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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.
Emma
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
...more
Cheska the Great is Not Okay
TOTAL READING TIME: 5 hours.

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,
...more
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.

XOXO
Enne (they/them)
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
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Veronika
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+
...more
Simone
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)

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
...more
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
...more
Diana
May 02, 2019 added it
Shelves: discarded-shelf
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
Maria (Big City Bookworm)


Actual Rating: 4.75 stars!

Wow. This was incredible. Definitely one of those inspiring stories that will stick with you for a long time.

Note: I'm taking a bit of a hiatus from reviewing. I need a bit of a break from the pressures of reviewing, so I'm just going with the flow this year. I'll obviously still be reading, but at my own pace and when I feel like it. Thank you for understanding!
Christy
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excuse me but I'll just be over here in a puddle of tears until the dawn of the end of time.
Dahlia
This was so special. More thoughts soon.
Kendall
This book.....blew me out of the water. Oh my god.

I was really intrigued by a YA book set during the height of the AIDS epidemic considering how prevalent queer stories are becoming in YA. Seeing as teenagers today (myself included, obviously) weren't alive to experience the devastation that occurred within the queer community during the 80s and early 90s, I thought this could be a really important look into that period of time. BOY WAS I RIGHT.

Like a Love Story follows the perspectives of
...more
Joseph
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: queer
Some parts were so important, but ultimately I had a lot of issues with it! Review on my website!
Sandra Cortez
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tell the Wolves I’m Home is one of my favorite books. The words just filled me. This reminded me so much of that story. They both revolve around the AIDs epidemic of the 80s which took place in my younger years. Like a Life Story felt authentic and that’s what I appreciated most about the story. You’re unsure of yourself, you’re easily influenced and sometimes you take the easier most acceptable route. I have gay Mexican friends who were so much like Reza. This felt like their truth. And the ...more
Mark
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m not crying, you’re crying ...more
Will
Aug 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, a good book, but it can be very dangerous and insensitive in some particular spots because of its positions and what identities it excludes. And for a book about queer activism, specifically about the group ACT UP, I was upset that the words “transsexual”, “transgender”, or “sex worker” were not even included once. Not once. Trans activists like Christine Jorgensen or Marsha P. Johnson weren’t mentioned until the very end of the book, either.

In other words, it’s largely a story about
...more
j.chestnut
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
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.

guys. this book is breathtaking.
i finished this and it might be because i finished at 11:30 pm but i was sobbing. this book is so good. it didn't have the ending i thought it was going to but honestly, it's more realistic this way. the author is so good at writing his characters. all of them are so realistic and have such different personalities. this is
...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
...more
“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.” 4 likes
“And I wish she knew that her ability to even utter all these doubts out loud means she thinks highly enough of herself to respect the emotions inside her. I would never let my doubts leave the prison of my brain.” 3 likes
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