Book Review: Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian

Publication Date: June 4th 2019

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 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 dating.

Art 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 photographs.

As 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 known.

My thoughts & feelings …

Everything I know about the AIDs crisis, I’ve learn from old episodes of Law & Order, and chapters from Elton John’s autobiography where he discusses the rate at which his friends became ill and died. After reading this book, it’s definitely something I really want to learn more about.

Like a Love Story is told from the perspective of three characters: out, loud and proud Art, his best friend Judy whose uncle is dying of AIDs, and closeted Iranian boy Reza whose only knowledge of gay-life is that gay men are dying.

This book has been on my TBR for years. I’ve lost count of how times I’ve said I was going to read it. My expectations were high … maybe a little too high. Because of this I’ve decided I’m not going to give it a concrete star rating.

I did end up really liking this book though. I feel like it’s a really important read and did a great job at handling the sensitive topics while still including heart-warming and feel-good moments.

I thought it was really smart to tell the story from the three character perspectives. From Art’s point of view we see a person who knows who he is and the frustration and anger he feels. With Judy we see how this illness affected not only those that were sick but their family members too. And finally with Reza we see the fear, which was heart-breaking.

Another element of this book that I really enjoyed reading about was the social-activism. Judy’s dying uncle, Stephen, is a big part in ACT UP, an organisation that protests and tries to make change. This is one of the things I want to learn more about.

Historical fiction is definitely one of my least favourite genres, however I will happily read any and all LGBTQ+ historical fiction novels that come my way, and this was a great start.

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