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“Rich descriptive details immerse readers in the landscape of Islamic history.”
Kirkus Reviews

Love from Mecca to Medina

Written by S.K. Ali
Published by Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Adam and Zayneb. Perfectly matched. Painfully apart.

Adam is in Doha, Qatar, making a map of the Hijra, 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, 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. Adam is thrilled; it’s the reboot he needs and an opportunity to pray for a hijra in real life: to migrate to Zayneb in Chicago. Zayneb balks at the trip at first, having envisioned another kind of vacation, but then decides a spiritual reset is calling her name too. And they can’t wait to see each other—surely, this is just what they both need.

But the trip is nothing like what they expect, from the appearance of Adam’s former love interest in their traveling group to the anxiety gripping Zayneb when she’s supposed to be “spiritual.” As one wedge after another drives them apart while they make their way through rites in the holy city, 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?

Primary ISBN: 9781665916073
Publication Date: October 2023
Available As: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, eBook
Young Adult, Age 14 or older

Community Represented: ,

Themes: , , , , ,

Setting: Doha (Qatar), United States (Chicago, IL), Saudi Arabia (Mecca and Medina)

Character's Place in the Immigration Journey: In Home Country

Book Creator(s) Connection to the Community Represented: Own Voices/Lived Experience

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Author Interview