Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review: The Syrian Virgin by Zack Love

Anissa is traumatized by the most brutal conflict of the 21st Century: the Syrian Civil War. In 2012, Islamists in Homs terrorize a Syrian-Christian community and destroy everything that a young woman holds dear. Narrowly escaping death, Anissa restarts her devastated life as a college student in NY. She is bewildered and lost -- a virgin in every sense.

But despite her inexperience with men and life in the United States, Anissa is quickly drawn to two powerful individuals: Michael Kassab, the Syrian-American leader working to found the first Mideast Christian state, and Julien Morales, her Columbia University professor who runs a $20 billion hedge fund.

Complicating matters, Michael is still attached to his ex-girlfriend and Julien is the most sought after bachelor in Manhattan (and has hidden demons even his therapist can't extract). Anissa's heart and her communal ties pull her in different directions, as she seeks hope and renewal in a dark world.

WARNING: This book is about a young woman's difficult journey: her escape from Syria's Civil War, her transition to a new a country, and the relationships that she forms along the way, including her romantic interests in two very different men. The story is set against the backdrop of the Syrian Civil War and makes reference to violent acts, sometimes in detail. There is some occasional profanity and a few scenes that depict sexual intimacy. Accordingly, the recommended minimum age for readers is 16. The novel might be compared to books like "The Diary of Anne Frank" or "The Kite Runner."

My Rating

4 of 5 Stars


We open the pages of The Syrian Virgin and we're instantly transported in to the middle of a war zone where we meet fourteen year old Anissa and her family. Anissa's home is becoming increasingly dangerous and her father manages to make it so she is able to flee to the US but her family is not so lucky. She has trials she has to overcome along the way, a new land and a completely different culture to get used to. We follow her through a time of danger on to her new life where she just might be able to fight for her homeland and find love along the way. Who will ultimately win her heart though; Michael, the 26yr old college student or Julien, the 41 year old billionaire hedge fund firm owner?
The book is in a type of Journal form with the first third of the book being just Anissa's journal entries. Then Julien will have some journal entries along the way. The way the author describes everything is superb. You feel like you are seeing it rather than reading it. The Syrian civil war is really brought to the forefront throughout the entire book, which I thought was really great and very interesting to read about. There is a lot of character building in this book so really nothing is resolved by the end of this book BUT book 2, Anissa's Redemption is already out so you can continue to read on. Which is exactly what I'm going to do right now. This was a really well done depiction of pretty current events with an added story telling twist of romance.

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