Book Reviews

Review: Love from Mecca to Medina by S.K. Ali

As a fan of Love from A to Z, I knew I needed to read this follow up sequel. Because it’s not out of the woods for our favorite couple. From a premise perspective, I appreciated the sequel. Because it’s rarely ever smooth sailing after “The End”. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Adam and Zayneb. Perfectly matched. Painfully apart. Adam is in Doha, Qatar, making a map of the hijrah, a historic migration from Mecca to Medina and worried about where his next paycheck will come from. Zayneb is in Chicago, where school and extracurricular stresses are piling on top of a terrible frenemy situation and making her miserable.

Then a marvel occurs: Adam and Zayneb get the chance to spend Thanksgiving week on the Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, tracing the hijrah in real life, together. Adam’s thrilled, and Zayneb hopes for a spiritual reset—and they can’t wait to see each other.

But the trip is nothing like what they expect, from the appearance of Adam’s ex in their traveling group to the anxiety gripping Zayneb everywhere they go. And as one wedge after another drives them apart as they make their way from one holy city to another, Adam and Zayneb start to wonder: was their meeting just an oddity after all? Or can their love transcend everything else like the greatest marvels of the world?


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

Love from Mecca to Medina is a story about love, loss, and possibility. In some ways, this sequel has similar themes to Love from A to Z. This world is full of curiousities and miracles, but can lightning strike twice? Can we find our way back to each other when things get hard? Because love is rarely easy and it’s one of those things that requires communication, honesty, and work. We have to confront pieces of ourselves we don’t want to. To have conversations that scare us.

And I deeply appreciated seeing that perspective in Love from Mecca to Medina. There can be lies, things we keep to ourselves, and conversations we don’t know where to start. My heart broke for both Adam and Zayneb. For how long distance can bring us closer together and pull us apart. The immense stress Zayneb is in which she doesn’t even know how to articulate for fear of breaking down. Or for Adam who has his own struggles and feelings of being adrift.

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Each of them have their own motivations, secrets, and vulnerabilities. It’s hard when you have disagreements to feel like the person you love is drifting away from you. Jealousy, distance, and not having a moment to check in are all challenges. If you want a book that explores characters, the challenges of their relationship, and personal growth, this sequel is for you. For those who loved the first, you definitely have to read Love from Mecca to Medina to see our favorites even better. Find Love from Mecca to Medina on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


For which YA Contemporary do you want a sequel?

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