Monday, June 27, 2016

Medeia Sharif's Disturbing New Book

Disturb: interfere with the normal arrangement or functioning of; cause to feel anxious; interrupt the sleep, relaxation, or privacy of

Of all these definitions the interruption of privacy may be the most appropriate for Medeia Sharif's shocking new book. When Haydee Gomez and Maysa Mazari fall in love, they hide their forbidden relationship, knowing their peers and families will be surprised, angry, and even hurt. Unfortunately, they underestimate the consequences and what happens is no less than cataclysmic.

This tragic couple is composed of polar opposites. Haydee, covered in tattoos, is ashamed of her past participation in a gang and is terrified that people will discover she is a prostitute. On her first day in a new school she meets Maysa, someone kind, beautiful—and wearing a hijab. 

The characters' differences extend well beyond physical appearances. Haydee’s family is nice but remote, ghosts in the background, relatives who neither hold her back nor know her enough to intrude when they should. Freedom has left her alone.

On the other hand, Maysa is under strict control. Her mother trots out suitors for a future marriage she doesn't want, and her father criticizes her every move. Maysa’s rigid life is one of tremendous pressure to be the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and to always keep her hijab tight. Surrounded by three seemingly loyal friends in a clique where non-Muslims aren’t allowed, Maysa despairs that she'll never get a chance to get close to Haydee.

This striking dichotomy in the girls' family life is balanced by what they share. Along with Maysa and Haydee's budding romance (which Sharif handles delicately, but believably), each girl must contend with a villain who threatens to destroy their new relationship.

Maysa’s enemy is the super-nasty Aamal, the leader of her Muslim clique. Haydee’s nemesis is her pimp, Rafe. Sharif pulls no punches in describing the horrors of forced prostitution. As with 52 Likes, this is no tame “after-school special” type of story. Conflict is not resolved with the villains recognizing the error of their ways and everyone exchanging hugs at the end. No sir. In the last third, the tale plunges into dark territories. Which I wouldn't dare spoil here. It's just too juicy.

If there is any criticism, for me it would be a bit of reader spoonfeeding. Major plots points are reiterated along the way, dialogue occasionally steps beyond what I would expect of a character in order to justify or explain something, and characters' feelings are stated even though the situations and the character reactions make this unnecessary. Then again, the target audience is YA. Like Haydee and Maysa, with their noses pressed to their cell phones every other minute, these writerly helpmates may be exactly what teens need to hook back into the story.

Overall, A Love That Disturbs is an important book about tolerance. Tolerance for Muslims, tattoos, and people with a dark past. And tolerance for peoples’ choices, like being gay—an especially timely message considering recent events. Highly recommended.

Evernight Teen, June 17, 2016
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  1. This sounds like a very important book. It's on my TBR list. Congrats and good luck to Medeia!

  2. Thanks for the great review, Tamara. I've just read about this book on another site, but you did a fantastic job fleshing out the plot. It sounds like a good read.

  3. Congrats to Medeia. Great review. The book sounds really intriguing.

  4. A wonderful review. I just finished reading the book. It is a touching story that reveals the conflict many young people (older as well) face in their lives. Congratulations to Medeia.

  5. This sounds like a very intense read. Wishing you all the best Medeia.
    Hi, Tamara:)

  6. Great review! Congrats to Medeia and best of luck!

  7. A great review and a book that seems to tackle some tough issues. Thanks for the review.

  8. Well, you've made me want to read it!

  9. I like tolerance, but I don't handle fear well--my fear. It keeps me awake and upset for hours or days. Sometimes I can get it out in a poem.


  10. Every time I see this I want to rush to my Kindle and start reading!!! I can't wait to read it. I love that Medeia isn't afraid to tackle these tough issues.

  11. I feel the same as Stephanie. So intrigued. Congratulations on your release, Medeia!

  12. Congrats and best wishes to Medeia. She is a brave writer to tackle homosexuality in a Muslim context. Sounds like an intriguing read.

  13. Loved learning more about the book. Definitely sounds like a gripping and book full of heart.

  14. It's so interesting that you should review this--I just downloaded the Sample to my Kindle. It sounds like I may have to buy the book. Thanks.

  15. I have it on my kindle. It looks intriguing story.

  16. Interesting premise that breaks many "taboos". Kudos to the author! I love it when stereotypes get destroyed. That this is a YA book makes it even more significant.

  17. عندما تفكر في قضاء إجازتك في منزلك بعيدا عن الضوضاء و زحام المدن ، فإن أول ما تحب عينيك رؤيته هو نظافة حمام السباحة
    شركة صيانة مسابح بالدمام لاعمال صيانة واصلاح المسابح حيث فريق عمل مميز وعلى درجة عالية من الجاهزية لحل مشكلات المسابح والنوافير
    شركة صيانة مسابح بالخبر تقدم خدمات تنظيف وتعقيم المسابح جدران وارضيات بالاضافة الي خدمات صيانة المسابح وتغيير رمل الفلير شركة كشف تسربات المياه شرق الرياض


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