Book Reviews

Review: Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian

Like a Love Story is a tender and emotional story. It will wring the tears out of your eyes. But at the same time it’s a story that celebrates love, passion, and survival.


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.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Like a Love Story left me without words. It’s a story that is difficult to explain because of how emotional and how expansive the story is. It’s a story about love, that sweeping tide that carries you away, friendship, that will lift you up and challenge you, and families, that surprise and disappoint you. It’s about an Iranian gay boy, about growing up and having your sexuality be tied to death, and to the elimination of your future. To being faced with the choice of living your truth and living another day.

Emotions Everywhere

It’s heart wrenching. The realization that his desire could cause his death, that the question of who he is is one of survival, keeps you reading. You feel his pain, his conflicted emotions, the desire for love straining against our fears of death. And what’s even more beautiful is that this theme is mirrored in other characters who fear for the same – a tomorrow that is robbed from us.

Themes & Self-Discovery

Like a Love Story asks us do we fit in or stand out? They are all faced with options to do one of these, to live under the radar with hidden secrets and desires shuttered in our hearts, or out in the open where danger rears its powerful head, but also where we can let our wishes and hopes float away from open hands bathed in sunlight. When we are denying who we are, because it’s dangerous and it threatens everything we are standing on. Are we all playing roles, in our own plays, in the lives of others? All amongst conversations of betrayal, privilege, and our fear of death. People aren’t all one thing, they can make mistakes, and hurt us badly and still be the ones we love.


I don’t really have words to describe how heart wrenching this book is. While it will make you cry and grieve, it will also make your heart soar. It reminds us to protest, that for some resistance is as necessary as existence, and that to survive, to love, to be happy in the face of the world trying to bring us down, ignore us, kill us is always beautiful.

Find Like a  Love Story on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


What other book took your breath away?

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