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Publisher:
N/A

Publication Date:
N/A

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N/A

ISBN:
978-1-7333518-6-7

Binding:
Paperback

U.S. SRP:
N/A

BETWEEN A AND Z

By A.E.M. Nason

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IR Rating:
3.8
A. E. M. Nason’s sentimental young adult romance novel BETWEEN A AND Z is an international love story with characters that are fully developed and emotions that are deeply felt, and would be best appreciated by teens and young adults who are okay with swearing and implied sex. 

In A. E. M. Nason’s teen romance novel BETWEEN A AND Z, seventeen-year-old Anki, the daughter of Dutch diplomats, travels with her parents to Zanzibar, Tanzania, where she meets a local boy, Zane, who shows her around the city despite her parents telling her to stay inside the hotel while they’re working. Though they both acknowledge and respect that Anki will return to the Netherlands in a few months’ time, they find themselves falling in love, especially after Zane opens up to her about his American biological father who he has not seen or heard from in over a decade. Zane and Anki help each other learn about themselves and their feelings over the course of this coming-of-age story, showing that even the experiences and relationships that we know won’t last forever shape who we are, and that their temporary-ness is often what makes them special.

Anki and Zane alternate narrating chapters in the first person perspective with a focus on their inner thoughts and their relationship with their surroundings. Vivid depictions of Amsterdam and the Stonetown of Zanzibar make the setting of the story immersive and the backdrop to the romance alive with the sounds of the city, the views of the ocean and palm trees, and the smells of the fish markets. When Anki jumps from her hotel room’s balcony to the beach to meet Zane, the book’s vibrant language connects to her palpable adrenaline rush. The nature of having two first-person narrators is that the text is hyper-focused on Zane and Anki’s thoughts and feelings, elevating them from characters to fully realized individuals.

Some of the language in the narration can be imprecise, however; when Zane says, for instance, “I don’t know why I bring [my father] up,” that Anki’s appearance “makes my pulse skyrocket for some inexplicable reason,” and “I trust her unconditionally for no real reason,” it implies that he lacks self-awareness and social understanding, though his depth of thought and actions throughout the story contradict this notion. As a character, Zane is empathetic, in touch with his emotions, and wise beyond his years. The way he cares for his friend Camila during a personal crisis is brave and compassionate. Camila’s story, of an unwanted arranged marriage, adds layers to Zane’s journey of self-discovery and to the culture in which he is immersed. While Zane has friends and family whose experiences during the span of the novel are integrated with his own, Anki’s side of the story lacks a subplot, which makes her chapters less engaging, lacking in tension and obstacles outside of her conflicted feelings about her relationship with Zane. Her parents play a little role in the story, and the fact that she is never caught sneaking out to visit Zane—or that she keeps a stray cat in her hotel room—feels unrealistic and like a lost opportunity for conflict. Nevertheless, as a character, Anki shines, as her inner dialogue matches her speech and action to present her as a confident yet moody young woman who knows what she wants but puts up a front to hide her emotions from others. The two characters, Zane and Anki, balance each other out, perfect foils for each other but also a perfect match.

Misplaced or missing quotation marks sometimes confuse what is and isn’t spoken. Dialogue is always heartfelt and reflects the characters’ personalities, helping to reveal their inner nature and to shape the relationships between characters, even in brief exchanges, such as between Zane and his mother when they discuss how she was able to move on from Zane’s father. “Acceptance but not closure” is how she moved on, she says, mirroring Zane’s own journey and offering heartrending thematic depth to the story.

A. E. M. Nason’s sentimental young adult romance novel BETWEEN A AND Z is an international love story with characters that are fully developed and emotions that are deeply felt, and would be best appreciated by teens and young adults who are okay with swearing and implied sex.

~Aimee Jodoin for IndieReader

 

Publisher:
N/A

Publication Date:
N/A

Copyright Date:
N/A

ISBN:
978-1-7333518-6-7

Binding:
Paperback

U.S. SRP:
N/A

BETWEEN A AND Z

By A.E.M. Nason

BETWEEN A AND Z is an incisive YA novel about a privileged Danish girl and aimless Tanzanian boy falling in love during one short summer. Short, vignette-like chapters told from alternating perspectives contain micro-meditations on a single theme while continuing the overarching narrative, creating a beautifully lyrical storytelling style that captures the bittersweet intensity of first love. Compelling characters, understated humor and a lushly described setting round out this must-read novel.