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Like a Love Story
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2020 Audie Awards® Finalist - Young Adult "A love letter to queerness, self-expression, and individuality (also Madonna) that never shies away from the ever-present fear within the queer community...
2020 Audie Awards® Finalist - Young Adult "A love letter to queerness, self-expression, and individuality (also Madonna) that never shies away from the ever-present fear within the queer community...
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  • 2020 Audie Awards® Finalist - Young Adult

    "A love letter to queerness, self-expression, and individuality (also Madonna) that never shies away from the ever-present fear within the queer community of late '80s New York, Like a Love Story made me feel so full—of hope, love, courage, pride, and awe for the many people who fought for love and self-expression in the face of discrimination, cruelty, and death.

    "A book for warriors, divas, artists, queens, individuals, activists, trend setters, and anyone searching for the courage to be themselves."—Mackenzi Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

    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.

    This is a bighearted, sprawling epic about friendship and love and the revolutionary act of living life to the fullest in the face of impossible odds.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Abdi Nazemian is the author of The Authentics. His novel The Walk-In Closet won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Debut Fiction. His screenwriting credits include the films The Artist's Wife, The Quiet, and Menendez: Blood Brothers, as well as the NBC television series The Village. He has been an executive producer and associate producer on numerous films, including Call Me by Your Name, Little Woods, The House of Tomorrow, and Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood. He lives in Los Angeles with his fiancé and two children. Find him online at www.abdaddy.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 22, 2019
    When Reza, a closeted teen, moves from Toronto to New York City (“by way of Tehran”) in 1989, the city feels like the epicenter of the AIDS crisis. In a heart-wrenching and bittersweet unfolding of events, he gravitates toward Art, the only openly gay student at his school, and to Art’s best friend, Judy, who represents everything he feels that he should desire. Though Reza tries his hardest to keep his attractions secret, dating Judy despite his chemistry with Art, he finds that he can’t live a lie, whatever that might cost him. A first-person narrative moves among the three characters as they discover their inner truths at a time that sometimes feels apocalyptic for their community and loved ones. Under the nurturing guidance of Judy’s gay activist uncle, the characters subtly investigate different family dynamics. The intense and nuanced emotions evoked by the characters’ journeys help to give this powerful novel by Nazemian (The Authentics) a timeless relevance. Ages 13–up. Agent: Curtis Brown, Curtis Brown Ltd.

  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2019
    At the height of the 1980s AIDS crisis, three teens grapple with love and friendship. Raised in Tehran, then Toronto, Reza is living in New York City with his mother and new stepfather and stepbrother. Though he is attracted to men, he is paralyzingly afraid of AIDS, equating being gay with death. Judy, who loves fashion, is best friends with Art, the only out student at their school, and both are bullied by fat-shaming, homophobic peers. United in their love for Judy's uncle Stephen, who is gay and has AIDS--and whom Art sees as a father figure--they become involved in AIDS advocacy. After meeting Reza, the duo find that they are both attracted to him, their friendship strained when Reza and Judy start dating--despite Art and Reza's undeniable chemistry. In a tribute to gay culture icons, the book depicts the social and political climate of the time in vivid detail, capturing the dichotomy between fear and love and, finally, acceptance. The lack of clinical trials for women and people of color, safe sex, and heteronormativity are highlighted in a nondidactic way along with the legacy of the 1980s gay community, the devastation of HIV/AIDS, present-day joy, and continued violence toward the queer community. Reza and his family are Persian, and Art, Judy, and their families are assumed white. Despite an abrupt ending, a truly lovely romance to cherish. Deeply moving. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 13-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • AudioFile Magazine Three narrators depict a trio of teens who, in alternating chapters, search for love and self-identity in New York City amid the AIDS crisis of the late 1980s. Lauren Ambrose's narration has the perfect tone of sarcasm to capture the wit and self-deprecating humor of Judy. Aside from her beloved Uncle Stephen, who has AIDS, Judy's best friend is Art. Michael Crouch's portrayal of Art matches Ambrose's delivery of Judy's intelligent banter and supports her more emotional side as well. The two characters' rapport and repartee are offset by Reza, Judy's boyfriend--who is secretly attracted to Art. Vikas Adam's soft tone expresses Iranian-born Reza's self-hatred and denial of his sexuality. Through their struggles, these vivid characters, strongly portrayed, come together to show the power of love over fear. S.W. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
  • School Library Journal

    July 12, 2019

    Gr 9 Up-A story of three teens who come together in New York City during the AIDS crisis in 1989-90. Reza is an Iranian immigrant who is trying to come to terms with being gay at a time when all that seems to promise is disease and death. Judy is a blossoming fashion designer with her eyes set on first love as she begins dating Reza. Art is Judy's out, proud, and dramatic best friend, who also shares feelings for Reza. Guided by Judy's uncle Stephen, whose health is failing from the disease, the three become involved in the ACT UP movement, which stages protests in support of better treatment for those diagnosed with AIDS. Eventually, Reza admits his feelings for Art and the two begin dating, causing a rift between them and Judy. Reza's fear of being physically intimate with Art is a major factor in their relationship, but there is some sexual content. Despite the heavy topic, the novel also brings joy as it celebrates gay culture and a shared love of Madonna. Well-developed split narration among the three friends demonstrates their equal importance to the story, and Uncle Stephen is just as fully explored. The urban setting is richly realized and integral to the story. In this highly emotional work, the teens' feelings are fully expressed and appropriate to their experiences. VERDICT Give to fans of alternative historical fiction or LGBTQ+ romance.-Alex Graves, Manchester City Library, NH

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from April 15, 2019
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* Judy and Art are best friends. That means Judy is always in his corner when their homophobic classmates harass him and Art would never do anything to hurt her. Which is why things get very complicated when he starts to fall for her new boyfriend, Reza. And they get even more complicated when Reza admits he's fallen for Art, too. This is a beautifully written exploration of first love's fragility in the face of a world full of hate and fear. But just as compelling is its look into a friendship that isn't shattered by a betrayal; instead, its cracks are revealed as two friends grow into the people they're meant to be. Nazemian (The Authentics, 2017) paints a picture of late '80s queer life in New York City that's neither romanticized nor viewed as only tragic. Judy's relationship with her uncle, who is living with AIDS, is important but it's his relationship with Art, as a person who can give him the love and acceptance he doesn't find at home, as well as an education in what it means to be part of the LGBTQ community, that is truly powerful. Nazemian's latest will remind readers that first love is isolating and unifying, exhilarating and terrifying, and every paradox in between.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

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