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Like A Love Story

Like A Love Story

Book - 2019
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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.
Publisher: New York, NY : Balzer & Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2019]
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9780062839367
Call Number: TEEN F NAZE
Characteristics: 413 pages ; 22 cm


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This is an emotional gut punch of a book. I don't know that I enjoyed reading it, but it is a necessary book, and it made me uncomfortable for all the right reasons.

Mar 26, 2021

This was my first time reading an ebook, so it took me some time to get used to this new format. It turned out to be a nice experience though. I did find that some of the sentence and word arrangement was odd, but other than that it was great. The story itself was amazing. Like a Love Story takes place in 80s New York during the AIDs epidemic. It's about how closeted teen Reza, out and proud Art, and fashionista Judy intertwine and change each others lives. The characters were enrapturing: they were realistic, had flaws, and made mistakes. They amplified the already amazing plot. The switching of perspectives definitely made me understand and appreciate the main characters more, plus it added a refreshing twist to the overall feel of the book. I feel like this book gave me a lot of perspective and taught me a lot about the LGBTQ+ community. I loved reading about Reza, Art, and Judy and their emotional coming-of-age stories. Like a Love Story had me laughing and crying, it is truly a one of a kind book. I would give this book 5/5 stars. ☆☆☆☆☆
@Yumeko of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

This is an emotional gut punch of a book. I don't know that I enjoyed reading it, but it is a necessary book, and it made me uncomfortable for all the right reasons.

Reza immigrates to New York City with his mother when she remarries, moving from Iran, to Canada, and finally, to the city. Art and Judy are best friends and in his class at his new school; Art is one of the only out gay kids there, and Judy is a plus-sized fashion queen and designer who Reza immediately wants to know. Reza is struggling with his sexuality, because it's 1989, AIDS is running rampant, and there is no cure. He is terrified of sickness, terrified of death, and he will do whatever he has to to avoid both. Except he can't control love, and it comes in the form of brazen, loud, outspoken Art - and at the expense of lovely Judy.

This book truly is an ode to those who fought for the rights of gay men with AIDS in the 80's. It revolves around Stephen, Judy's uncle, who is sick and dying but fighting for his right to love all the way through the book. That feeling, that desire to fight and the helplessness that come along with it, truly seep through these pages. The entire time I was reading, I was angry. I wanted to go back in time and fight alongside the characters, to tell the government where to go, to stand up for the right for people to love who they love, period. That kind of indignation coupled with feeling completely powerless as a minority group that was spat on and disrespected for so long was truly an uncomfortable reading experience.

However, this book has so much heart. You can tell that this story is personal to the author, and the developing relationships amongst Art, Judy, and Reza were heartbreaking and powerful. I really felt for Judy, and though I know it's not necessarily *her* story at the heart of things, she is who I wanted more of. Art and Reza - especially Reza - took center stage for the last half-ish of the book, and I did very much enjoy them and wanted them to be happy so badly, but I wondered about Judy every time she wasn't on the page.

New York City, Madonna, forgiveness, old school movies, familial love, first love, love, love, love - this book is about so many things. It made me tear up at work, and it isn't one I'll forget anytime soon. It's so important to tell stories like these, own voices stories of immigration and acceptance and the challenges inherent in being different, no matter the time period.

May 26, 2020

Wonderful story about first loves, sexual identity, and activism during the AIDS crisis of the late 1980s in NYC. I loved these characters, and thought they were depicted realistically with both (+) and (-) adult role models. As a mother and doctor, because of a short, consensual love scene towards the end of the novel, it is probably more appropriate for teens 16+. Although emotionally mature younger teens and their parents might be okay with it, I don't think it was appropriate for my 14yo son quite yet. It did open up discussions about AIDS, safe sex, and Madonna so that was great, until I started playing Madonna and dancing (he did not think I was very cool!) :-).

Apr 03, 2020

My heart is broken.

This book takes place during the height of AIDS denial in New York. Many are dying but especially gay men (of color) are dying left and right while folks either ignore, deny, or relish in their belief that that's just what "fags" deserve.

The fear and the love in this book is so palpable I found myself laughing out loud, sobbing, and mentally bargaining with the author to please just deny history and make this a "happily ever after" book.

We are living in an era where we have seem so much change and so much for better that it's all the more heartbreaking to see it sliding back. To know how many have died, suffered, been persecuted all in the name of love and continue to do so, is the most heartbreaking history of all. We are seeing a growing tide of hate, whether it's the shooting at Pulse Nightclub, or the massively rising list of murdered black transgender women everyday. It's hard to feel hopeful, but if this book can show you anything it's that we're stronger together and we will prevail TOGETHER.

"You are not alone, you never will be, because you have a constantly evolving history full of ghosts who are watching over you, who are proud of you."

Jan 05, 2020

I like this book I want to recommended this book to others because its showing us the equality of society to the lgbtq

Man, 2019 has been such a good year for books. I find myself finding a novel and thinking “MAN, this is the best book of the year...”, and then I find ANOTHER one and then I can’t decide on which one’s better. “Like a Love Story” is, without a doubt, one of these. I’ll just say it: this has to be the best historical fiction of 2019. Let’s leave it there.

“Like a Love Story” moved me emotionally, like no other historical fiction really has. It managed to depict such a dark time in history in a way that was not only heavy and moving, but beautifully poetic, and almost hopeful, at times. The writing deftly transported me to the streets of New York, circa 1989. To say that Nazemian’s storytelling tugged at my heartstrings would be a disservice; this novel ripped them in half.

Often times, the qualities of characters are a make-or-break-it situation for me when it comes to a novel. Most of the time, a character’s flaws take away from my overall experience of the book. But with this novel, I was not only able to see past many of the main character’s negative qualities--I sympathized with them. Art, in particular. His anger and impulsivity almost made me squirm (and he was something of a jerk at times...), but I’d say that I completely understood his motives about 85% of the time. Along with him, I absolutely adored Reza, Judy, Stephen, Jimmy...God, this book will have a special place in my heart long after this year.

I doubt I’ll ever forget this novel. This is one of those books that everybody--yes, everybody--should read. Not just because it will open your eyes to the AIDS crisis and the struggles of being an LGBTQ+ teenager in such a time, but because the writing will sweep you off of your feet, and latch onto your heart forever. A+, 100/100, and all of the stars in the Milky Way Galaxy to this gem. Thank you, Mr. Nazemian.

JCLMegB Oct 09, 2019

Great YA historical fiction that really gives insight into what it was like to live as an LGBTQ+ person in the mid-80's. The characters are vivid, the storyline is informative and covers so. much. stuff. and I learned things about gay culture and AIDS activism that I had no idea about before reading this book. Beautifully written. I loved that there was a straight female teen who falls in love with a closeted gay teen. Realistic and thought-provoking.
Readers be advised that there are numerous sexual situations detailed in this story.

KyCCL Oct 01, 2019

Wow! What a story! Life, love, loss ... this is all about the challenges of being a teenager, especially if you or your best mates are gay at the height of the AIDS epidemic. I felt all the feelings in this book... and its ending had me in tears. A must-read.

Chapel_Hill_KrystalB Aug 28, 2019

I wish I could insert myself right into the circle of family, friends, and community in this book. While it was an extremely sad, anger inducing, scary time, the love surrounding these characters, even in the face of prejudice from so many, was just... to quote the youngsters... everything. This one will make you feel. A lot. And if you're a Madonna fan... all the better.

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I suddenly wish that I was religious. That, like my grandparents, I prayed five times a day. Because I have something to pray for now, something to believe in. I have faith in myself, in love. I would kneel more than five times a day to pledge my faith to whatever this is I’m feeling.

I suddenly wish that I was religious. That, like my grandparents, I prayed five times a day. Because I have something to pray for now, something to believe in. I have faith in myself, in love. I would kneel more than five times a day to pledge my faith to whatever this is I’m feeling.


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May 26, 2020

jepompilio thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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