The Syrian Virgin ePUB æ The Syrian PDF/EPUB ²


The Syrian Virgin (The Syrian Virgin #1) Anissa is traumatized by the most brutal conflict of the st Century: the Syrian Civil War In , Islamists in Homs terrorize a SyrianChristian 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 senseBut despite her inexperience with men and life in the United States, Anissa is quickly drawn to two powerful individuals: Michael Kassab, the SyrianAmerican leader working to found the first Mideast Christian state, and Julien Morales, her Columbia University professor who runs a $ billion hedge fundComplicating matters, Michael is still attached to his exgirlfriend 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 worldWARNING: 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 isThe novel might be compared to books like The Diary of Anne Frank or The Kite Runner

  • Paperback
  • 268 pages
  • The Syrian Virgin (The Syrian Virgin #1)
  • Zack Love
  • English
  • 02 December 2019

About the Author: Zack Love

here's my bio:Zack Love graduated from Harvard College, where he studied mostly literature, psychology, philosophy, and film After college, he moved to New York City and took a corporate consulting job that had absolutely nothing to do with his studies The attacks of September 11, 2001 inspired him to write a novelette titled “The Doorman (



10 thoughts on “The Syrian Virgin (The Syrian Virgin #1)

  1. N.M. Silber N.M. Silber says:

    Well-written, poignant, timely and relevant, this book held my interest from the beginning until the end.

    As the plot unfolds, the reader follows a young Syrian woman on a journey, both literal and figurative, as she leaves the familiar behind and faces the world, essentially alone. I felt invested in the story early on, experiencing feelings of tension and frustration along with the female protagonist, and sympathizing with her as she tried to cope with, and overcome the trauma in her past.

    There are two male protagonists, and both men are powerful, but flawed, in different ways. That fact doesn't detract, however, from how interesting they are. In fact, at one point, I caught myself feeling guilty for having misjudged one of them.

    The book was clearly well-researched, and accurately portrayed the political climate, and the history of the region. The plot was engaging, and I looked forward to seeing how it unfolded, developing my own theories along the way. Which is not to say it was at all predictable. In fact, it was quite original, and the end left me eager to read more about these characters.

    All in all, the level of the writing was well above average, and I honestly enjoyed it more than any novel I had read in quite a while. Highly recommended.

  2. Bethany Bethany says:

    Rated R for sensuality, sexuality, strong language, strong violence, and mature thematic material.

    I was asked to read and review this book even though—actually, because—I don’t seem to be the intended audience (which seems to be romance fans). Nevertheless, I will give this my best shot.

    My first question was why, precisely, this book seems to have appeal to romance fans. If, as has been suggested to me, the book is about the persecution of Syrian Christians, why would the main audience like books such as Fifty Shades of Grey and books with covers featuring lingerie-clad women? To answer this, I will analyze the superficial aspects of the book that may create strong first impressions in the readers.

    To start, upon beginning this book, my eye was caught by a few things: the cover, the title, the author’s name, the Table of Contents, the Acknowledgment, and the Dedication. Who reads (and analyzes) these things? *Raising hand* Yes, that’s me. Prepare yourself.

    I. (a) The Cover

    I love the cover—sort of. Well, it is well designed. It is a close-up shot of a young woman’s face with a reflection of fire in her eye—which, incidentally, communicates her overall inability to act. She is clearly watching passively; there is no suggest of concern, fear, horror, shock, or anger in her face. She is like a blank canvas. We also see the corner of her headwrap and, behind the title, there is a shot of a brightly lit American bridge at night. Which bridge? Beats me. The combination of these images points out the obvious culture clash and presents the question of the heroine’s unexplained naïveté, given that fire (which we presume is literal fire but could just as easily be the figurative fire of passion). The nighttime setting of the bridge also carries with it some sensual undertones.

    The main issues are (a) the color scheme, (b) the title, and (c) the author’s name. First, the color scheme is red, black, and white, which, in my personal experience, tends to suggest dark and potentially steamy romances or affairs or such. Examples include Twilight, The Heist Society, Sunshine, The Sea of Tranquility, Looking for Alaska, The White Cat, Beastly and Thirteen Reasons Why. Alternatively, the color scheme may suggest lots of violence—often along with the romance, as in the books I mentioned above.

    Second, the title is The Syrian Virgin. What is the operative word here? You guessed it: Virgin. Syrian only adds additional illicitness to the title. You know—“Ooh, Middle Eastern affairs? Hidden beauty and forbidden love? Getting past the veil to that sultry-ness? Edgy!!!”

    Third, the author’s name is Zack Love, and his last name is put in obvious proximity to the word Virgin. I have nothing against his name, but the cover designer really could have put extra effort into separating those two words were this not a steamy romance novel.

    So there you have it. In my opinion, the color scheme, the prominent words in the title, and the placement of the author’s admittedly evocative last name contribute, along with the cover images, to the romantic appeal of the book. There really is no other obvious potential audience for this book based on the cover.

    I. (b) The Table of Contents, the Acknowledgment, and the Dedication

    First of all, the chapter titles alternate between Anissa and Julien. This implies that this is a romance story that starts at chapter 13 (how portentous). There is no foreshadowing whatsoever about the actual contents of the book other than that admittedly superficial information.

    Second, the first words of the acknowledgment are “Publishing this book just two months after the story first came to me . . . .” Okay. So all I know about the book by the time I have looked at the cover, the table of contents, and the acknowledgement are that there is a heavy focus on romance and this was a hastily written book. So far, I have serious doubts about the lasting value of the story.

    The Dedication, though, is the first real hint about the importance of the book’s content: To the people of Syria. The world let you down. This is the first thing that hooked me, an admitted reader of YA and children’s [clean] fantasy and realistic fiction. 10/10 points for a winning dedication.

    II. Quick Summary

    Anissa is a young Christian woman who fled from Syria at the age of fourteen when her parents and brother were murdered by jihadists. As a seventeen-year-old college student narrating to her diary the events of her life, both past and present, Anissa remains deeply haunted by the events of her childhood. As she struggles to literally make the grade in her courses, she searches for a way to work for her fellow Syrian Christians who are still being viciously persecuted. At the same time, she is searching for love and must decide between two very good prospects.

    III. And Now…The Content!

    The hook is okay. Italicized flashback—perhaps a tad clichéd, but good. Sentimentality abounds, though.

    I do have some questions. First of all, after having suffered through so much, would Anissa really go Facebook/Twitter stalking for this guy she has a crush on? She retweets, she shares, she posts, and she is basically the ultimate social media activist. Plus, where is she getting all of her money? She is seeing a therapist regularly and taking undoubtedly expensive martial arts classes for years, but she doesn’t have a job. She seems to have effortlessly assimilated into the American college culture, despite the frequent mentions of her difficulties with the hyper-sexualization of our culture. There are just a lot of character inconsistencies.

    In addition, she is a beautiful genius haunted by her past, going to a prestigious school, while crushing on a dark, smolderingly handsome polyglot genius with a similar backstory who is also getting his Ph.D. while managing an activist group, working “as a freelance journalist,” owning a PR company, training in martial arts, and playing music. She is also being lusted after for her beauty and unavailability and virginity and all that by her 41-year-old genius and “ultimate bachelor” college professor who is also a billionaire genius with a troubled past and an addiction to 20-something girls (maybe younger). I’m sensing a pattern here. There is only so much of this that I can realistically take, and I am not convinced that this is in any way based in reality. If it is, I mourn for our culture’s understanding of reality. The entire book, in fact, feels like a Harlequin novel that is playing on the current hot topics. Of course, I will readily admit that I have never read a Harlequin novel—but if this is anything like them, I plan on keeping it that way. I agree that the persecution of the Syrian Christians is abominable and needs to be addressed and abolished now—preferably years ago!—but this book is much shallower than it pretends to be.

    I also have two more questions. If Anissa grew up in a devout Christian home in Syria, where to be Christian is to have to be committed to the point of death, how/why did she (a) not know anything about the evolutionary model before entering the States, especially in a relatively well-off family that gave her lots of schooling (remember that her sister was going to a music college, the family had a maid, and they also had enough savings to smuggle Anissa into the U.S. illegally via Canada and provide a good amount of funds to start her off), and (b) why did she automatically and unquestioningly accept it as soon as she entered the U.S. school system, even though it directly contrasts with a literal translation of the Biblical Creation?

    Also, I’m having a hard time believing that her mother would have sent Anissa off with the explicit instructions to retain her virginity for the right guy without emphasizing the importance of that same person’s religion. It’s just that there are enough passages in the Bible emphasizing the importance of unity of faith within a marriage that I am not thoroughly convinced that Anissa’s mother—or even Anissa—doesn’t think of that aspect at all. Besides, in Christian doctrine, marriage is a human-sized picture of our relationship with God, whereas there is nothing about that in The Sÿrian Virgin. Personally, I think that in that situation a Christian American would be better than a Syrian atheist or an American gnostic, but maybe I am wrong. Just some thoughts.

    Ack. This has been a really disorganized section. Let’s just move on, shall we? I’m not going to finish the book anyway.

    IV. Overview of Book’s Overall Value

    Well, I gave this book my best shot. I did. I got 68% of the way through it—and it is my first Kindle book. I just couldn’t take it anymore. About the time that Anissa was getting all sexual and Julien was seriously considering accosting her, I just couldn’t take finishing the book. It is an R-rated book in almost every way. Plus, Zack Love has an amateurish writing style with a lot of Tell-Don’t-Show with things that really matter and a lot of Show-Don’t-Tell for all of the R-rated sexual sections. I…I just can’t. Really. I can’t finish this. The book’s contents fulfill all of promises of the cover, the table of contents, and the acknowledgment. It’s relatively well-researched, but the characters are flat and unrealistic with little genuine character development and impact on me as a reader, and I was never hooked into the plot.

    In addition, Zack Love seems to be genuinely struggling with the Syrian conflict, which is basically taking a backseat to the love triangle. To be fair, he tries so hard to raise awareness of the issues that the media is deliberately ignoring, but in an ironic twist, the Syrian holocaust keeps taking second place to the truly icky romances going on. The Syrian virgin seems to be heading toward being torn between her 41-year-old billionaire adulterous psychology professor and the equally intelligent and egotistical boyfriend, who has also had multiple affairs. Neither one of them is Christian, whereas I would suspect that a girl of Anissa’s background would be specifically looking for someone who shares her religious beliefs. Actually, I can’t believe that her faithful and loving mother would not have specified the importance of looking for and marrying a Christian. For a book about a Syrian Christian and her purity, there is a marked lack of actual Christian values being held.

    I guess that I did not find myself really enlightened by reading this book, and I was more disgusted than anything by the increasingly explicit sexuality. I quit when that started getting pretty strong, but even though I am truly concerned about the events in the Middle East and think that more needs to be done to work for our brothers and sisters in Christ, this book does not meet these needs but rather seems like it compounds them by placing a high emphasis on the love triangle and Anissa’s need to lose her virginity or some such balderdash.

  3. Anita Viccica - Toss Anita Viccica - Toss says:

    I loved this book! From the first chapter to the last, “The Syrian Virgin” pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go until I came out the other side. You can tell that Zack Love really put his heart and soul into writing “The Syrian Virgin”. All the time, effort, (and I’m sure, all the blood, sweat and tears) he put into researching and writing EVERY aspect of this book is TRULY evident!

    In “The Syrian Virgin”, Zack’s writing is so realistic … it makes you feel like you’re living the story along with Anissa, the young Syrian woman who is the central character in the novel. You feel her pain and her struggle. I felt heartbroken for her and I literally cried for her as I read it.

    Zack painted a detailed picture of what’s really going on in Syria and the Middle East. For Anissa and her family, life was very difficult in war-torn Syria. He highlighted the difficulties of being a part of the Christian minority amongst warring groups. It’s a scary picture and more people should be aware of it.

    When Anissa arrives in New York, she becomes involved with two very different men. Michael is totally immersed in his activism and doesn’t seem to want to commit to a relationship. On the other hand, her relationship with Julien is very complicated as he is fighting demons of his own.

    In my opinion, this is Zack Love’s most impressive novel to date. I really enjoyed the way he wove his characters and their struggles into current events. You could really feel Zack’s passion for this subject and his desire to share it with his readers. I cannot wait for the sequel!

  4. William Bentrim William Bentrim says:

    The Syrian Virgin by Zack Love

    I just revised my review on this book as I realized I dinged it one star due to my general dislike of the romantic genre. I have recommended this book to more people than any other book I have read recently. I recommended it, in spite of the romance, because of the crucial spotlight it shines on dreadful genocide being carried out in the Mid East. This book has an important message that all the minorities being butchered in the Mid East by fundamental terrorists need to have a voice.

    Zack Love approaches literature as I approach a bakery. He seems to want to have one of everything. He has published eBook, a short story, a paperback, a novellette, a screenplay, a collection and a comedy. Luckily he writes rather than frequents bakeries because he would be enormous. I showcased his book The Syrian Virgin and suggest you check it out. Now that I have read this book, I am still amazed at Zack Love. This book is a philosophic treatise and a romantic novel.

    Anissa is the Syrian virgin. She is a young woman pushed out of her home by the sectarian violence in Syria. The philosophic or political aspect of the book is based on the moral or righteousness of the actions of ISIS. Those of us in the West tend to view the violence as totally repugnant and frankly I can't see how you could see the religious bigotry in any other way. Assad's rule in Syria can be compared to Saddam Hussein's in Iraq and Marshall Tito's in Yugoslavia. A strong dictator keeping a lid on sectarian violence is not a new story. As I write this there is a news account of a mass execution of Coptic Christians by ISIS bigots. This moves Zack Love's novel from entertainment to political commentary.

    The other side of Love's book is the romantic novel aspect. Anissa is enrolled in college and is torn between a charismatic leader trying to elicit support for displaced Christians and a self-made billionaire. Her virginity and her feelings about said status preoccupy a fair amount of the plot.

    This is an unusual book in that it poses some very difficult questions regarding dictatorship, religious bigotry, sectarian violence and personal mores.

    I recommend i.

    LINKS
    Amazon(.com): http://tinyurl.com/TheSyrianVirgin
    Amazon (UK): http://tinyurl.com/TheSyrianVirgin-UK
    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...
    Author web site: http://zacklove.com

  5. Amy Amy says:

    I do NOT write reviews for every book I read. My reasoning is this: EVERY published novel is the result of an individual who had an idea. That idea was then built within the author's imagination and carefully constructed to share with the Untold Numbers (readers like you and me). Sometimes those published works are wonderful and sometimes they are not. It is, of course, a variable thing due to the fact that we all have opinions! Our feelings about any work of art are subjective. My point is this: ALL books are personal. They are the result of someone's creativity and the time that that particular someone spent conveying their creativity. Therefore, I only write my thoughts and feelings about a book when I have a personal love affair with said book.

    Thoughts and feelings are about to get effusive! Just do not expect a detailed plot description. I don't play that. Look at the book blurb and the other reviews for that. This book...I am in love. This beautiful novel was my introduction to Mr. Zack Love, Author. Just for your edification, Zack Love is carrying a very heavy load on his shoulders. That would be his brain. It is magnificent! He has written a story that will be floating in my mind for quite some time and sitting on my Keeper Shelf for...keeps. I have read most of the reviews and find that I would concur with the majority of the majority. The level of writing is superb...agreed. Provocative, compelling, unforgettable...so much yes. I do not consider The Syrian Virgin to be a Romance novel. AT ALL. There is a love story within a much bigger story. Personally, I consider that designation to be something other than a Romance novel. It's actually difficult to categorize this book.

    The story is told through the journal entries...primarily those of Anissa. The first half of the book is reflective. Anissa has been directed by her therapist to use journal writing in an effort to better cope with the tragedy she has faced. That tragedy occurred two years prior. Anissa takes us back to war-torn Syria. We see, through her eyes, the gut-wrenching violence that is visited upon her family and those of the Christian faith, living in that region. On the very heels of what will be locked in my memory as one of the most horrific situations I could ever imagine, Anissa seeks refuge with her uncle in New York. It is there that we find her, presently. She is now attending Columbia University at the ripe old age of 17. Observations about Anissa: She is a very young woman, learning to navigate adulthood. This is almost what could be called a Coming-of-Age story. I found it interesting that, in order to get past her Tragic Truth, Anissa was paradoxically compelled to be dishonest with herself. Additionally, she found herself in a new culture that has a greater prevalence of the Hidden Agenda. That was quite a departure from that of her homeland where she had experienced the overt and aggressive method of subjugating those who disagree with the groups who hold the positions of power. In the end, which is a Dangling End, we are still not sure what truths Anissa has yet to reveal to My Dearest (herself) from the moments that occurred on that fateful night, before her departure from Syria. I am waiting, Zack Love!

    We are introduced to two more primary-secondary characters, Michael and Julien. Michael is a charismatic and handsome activist. While young, he is still several years older (11) than Anissa. A graduate student at Columbia University, he leads a group of Christians who seek to shed light on the atrocities that are visited upon Christians living in the Middle East and raise funds for aid. Though he is a native born United States citizen, Michael feels that he is destined to spearhead the development of a new Christian State, located within the Middle East. His father is Syrian and his mother, Egyptian. They had emigrated to the United States in the 70s. Anissa is drawn to Michael for obvious reasons. I, too, was initially charmed by him. As the story moved forward and his relationship with Anissa developed, the enamor was lost. I felt that Michael was a radical who had lost sight of his immediate reality. He was without scruples when it came to seeing the advantage to using Anissa as a vehicle in his scheme. No charm. No bueno, Michael. I know there must be a quote somewhere out there about the dangers of swallowing the sun, in an effort to grow bright enough to shed light on a dark truth. The power of the sun cannot be contained and would, therefore, burn everyone within range of that individual...including supposed friends and allies.

    Julien is MUCH older than Anissa...24 years older! He is her professor in Psychology and Markets. Psychology and Markets? What? Baylor did not offer that one in 1983-1987! Just the description of this field of study has me very intrigued. In addition to being a professor at Columbia University, Julien is a self-made billionaire. Just a little hedge fund he built on the side. You know, money for shoes and wine. My immediate impression of Julien was...that I would hold my opinion in reserve. Maybe that was my age talking, but I was very glad that I had proceeded with caution as pertains to this complicated soul. Bless his heart! Though the years do separate these two characters, Julien and Anissa are actually much closer to being kindred spirits. Certainly, they are both liars...to themselves! As it turns out, they are teaching each other quite a bit. I am greatly intrigued by this man, this Julien Morales. We have SO much to learn in the sequel.

    There was one reviewer who actually stated that they were disappointed in the lack of continued mention of the situation in Syria in the book. HELLO! Did we read the same book? There was a veritable feast of information relayed through all three of these characters. How? Well, Anissa's recollections and her conversations with family members who were still in Syria were very enlightening. Michael's conversations with Anissa and his speeches to the Mideast Christian Association were quite informative to the very end. ToTheVeryEnd...I was beyond tired of Michael. Did I mention that I did not like this dude? I know that I am going to be unpopular with that one, but, whatever. I'm on Team Anissa and Michael is not not not! Julien provided the psychological and economical explanations for what might bring about a tyranny and what would be the effects upon a collective society, following the acts of that tyranny. His extrapolations did not directly state a relationship to the Syrian crisis; however, I saw the parallels. I saw them.

    Little gems I found within this novel were: Annisa's study of decision theory and loss aversion. That was quite interesting. I will now be investigating written material that covers the research of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. Michael's references to political masterminds. The quotes were wonderful. *I MUST re-watch Exodus...and read it! I would never never never watch the movie simply to view Paul Newman for a 3+ hours!* Julien's theory on why older men date younger women...priceless. Truly, that was bonus material, Zack Love!

    I thank you, Zack Love, for sharing your imagination with me...with all of us. The Syrian Virgin is really a Work of Art. You have a gift, sir. Is it March yet? I am so anxious for the continuation of this story!

  6. Olivia-Savannah Roach Olivia-Savannah Roach says:

    This review can originally be found on Olivia's Catastrophe: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/20...

    *Thank you to the author for the review copy*

    This book was pretty good. It was written in diary format with two alternating points of view, but mainly Anissa’s. I really liked the main character, Anissa. She was a brave girl, someone who was hard working and determined to not let the society she ended up in sway her judgment and her own morals. She wasn’t someone who conformed to other people, and you know how much I respect that! So, awesome main character here,

    Nonetheless, this book kind of bordered on having a love triangle? It never veered that way completely, but it dabbled in the idea of having one. In the second book (there will be one!) I think the love triangle will be clearer and more important. For now, if you are a love triangle hater than you needn’t worry ;)

    Sometimes when I read this I felt like it was a bit of an important dump. Like we were being shot a lot of information all at once just so we could learn more about Syria, and like there wasn’t enough fiction thrown in to disguise it. There was a lot of emotion in this novel too, especially because it is a situation that causes me to empathise. I felt like the author could’ve added even more in there in places.

    Michael was a character I didn’t like too much. Mainly because of some opinions he holds to later on, and I didn’t like his reasoning for breaking up with his original girlfriend. At first I liked him and then that gradually chipped away the more we learned. I feel like this was exactly how Anissa felt in some places as well though, which is why this might just be some effective writing.

    Julian was also very open with his therapist. You should always be because they need to know everything possible about you. But there is a line there and I am not sure people would’ve shared that in real life.

    This was also a very philosophic read which made me think in places, making it more memorable. I wondered, how far should we be prepared to go for a good cause? This is something that is debated in the novel and it made me think about how far I would go. It’s one of the things I loved about it. This was based off of real happenings in a way that made me think about the book and remember it after I had closed the book itself.

    There were some sexual mentions in the story, and some randomly explicit moments, but not too many. I think this book was mostly focused on Anissa trying to find out her purpose, and who/what would get her there. It doesn't focus too much on the religion.

    The ending was abrupt as if it was simply cut off. I know there will be a sequel, but it would’ve been nice for it to have been tied up a bit nicer. Overall, a good, informative and thoughtful reader. I wonder what part two has in store.

  7. Christina Christina says:

    Complimentary copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

    Anissa is hardly even a teenager when she must flee Syria, bound for the United States where she will seek asylum and live with her uncle. After witnessing the deaths of most of her family and the hands of Muslim Jihadists, and leaving the other half behind with other relatives, Anissa must start from the beginning, building a life that would have made her parents proud while maintaining a legacy as a Syriac Christian. She soon finds out that life is very different in the United States, however her promise to her father to become the best person she can be and carry on the fight on behalf of Christians in the Middle East, keeps her focused on her studies, as well as maintaining her virtue as a virgin.

    When Anissa is admitted to Columbia, she embarks on a journey of finding herself and broadening her horizons, not only through the classes she attends, but also in her involvement with the MCA (Middle East Christian Association). She befriends its leader, Michael, on Facebook and months after meeting online, they finally meet face to face at a rally. Eventually the two become a couple and Anissa begins to explore the feelings of attraction she has towards Michael. College is a time of transformation for nearly all young adults, for Anissa it is even more so. It is a chance to find her identity in a country that, in theory, embraces religious and cultural diversity.

    But Michael isn’t the only one that is vying for Anissa’s attention. Julien Morales is one of her professors and is 20+ years older than her. He prefers to surround himself with younger women, which make him feel younger himself. But not only is Anissa not even eighteen, she is also a current student. However Julien is finding it hard to put aside his feelings even though his career could be on the line. Anissa is interested in him as well, however it remains to be seen exactly in what capacity.

    It is quite obvious that the author invested hours upon hours of research in order to lend authenticity to Anissa’s story. The plight of all people in the Middle East, especially after the advent of the Arab Spring, is something we see on the nightly news reports, yet so many people fail to understand what actually is happening in these regions. Love does an amazing job of making Anissa’s story real, something we can empathize with and feel called to action. The problem is that readers pick up a book and their own pasts can cloud the way in which they interpret a book. Michael’s idyllic dream of a Christian state in the Middle East seems naïve, especially given how he uses the example of Israel as an experiment of successful cultural integration, given the struggle that is still readily evident there.

    The characters were multi-dimensional and believable; unfortunately I just really didn’t care for Michael. For some reason I just have a feeling of unease where he is concerned, a feeling that it seems Anissa shares on occasion. The storyline, told through journal entries by both Anissa and Julien is easy to follow and flows well, easily transitioning from the past to the present. I’m definitely eager to see how the relationship between Anissa and Julien develops

    I’m a bit of a political wonk and I love stories that represent other cultures (Anth major!) so this book was right up my alley. As a writer primarily in the romance genre, I wondered how Love would pull off a book that was so mired in politics in order to make it a love story, but he seems to be off to a good start with the first of the two books planned. What seems to be building is a slow burn of attraction in the love triangle that is Anissa, Michael, and Julien. There is a lot going on in this book and the heavy back story and history may not be for everyone, but if you’re interested in an exceptionally well-written book that is timely and relevant, this one is for you.

  8. Lee Lee says:


    Provocative and unforgettable, The Syrian Virgin is unlike any romance I have read to-date. In my beloved but wildly uneven genre of escapist fiction, I was thrilled to find this intelligent, well-written, and informative love story! I’m adding this book to my list of favorites, which predominantly features works by Penny Reid and Amy Harmon.

    My newest “go-to” author, Zack Love is a masterful and meticulous storyteller. From word one, his exceptional writing commanded my complete focus, and I became immersed in his compelling (and at times adrenalin pumping) plot. He embraced my need to understand his distinctive, complex characters and their motivations, and, surprisingly, brought me to a refreshed desire for knowledge about important global news.

    Significantly, the book’s dedication reads, “To the people of Syria. The world let you down.” The premise and unfolding of The Syrian Virgin imparts a message of great import and an implicit, collective call to action, if only to pay closer attention to the world stage. (Its message, however, is not in any way preachy or religion-based.) Having read this book, I am changed forever, and for better! For that, FIVE STARS seems exceedingly inadequate.

    Topical and eminently contemporary, this story shines a light on Anissa, a brave, smart and resilient Christian Syrian woman who escapes unimaginable terror in her homeland to begin anew as a student at Columbia. She becomes enamored of two potential love interests…Michael, a larger than life leader and activist determined to save the persecuted peoples in the Middle East and Julien, an outwardly successful professor/business mogul and committed bachelor haunted by his own childhood terrors and a personal nihilism.

    I’m not usually a fan of love triangles, but this one is unusual and it really works! I can completely understand Anissa’s dilemma and dual attraction…each magnetic man (in high contrast to each other via circumstance and personality) offers her understanding, appreciation and a means, although vastly different, to help her family and people in Syria. Anissa is not indecisive; she is, however, thoughtful and thorough in examining her feelings and motivation to do what is right and good. She’s not perfect but still earns my admiration and investment in her happy ending. I enjoyed witnessing her character become more confident and charismatic as she realizes her potential and her power.

    The story will continue in a sequel, Anissa’s Redemption, to be released in early spring, 2015. A dangling storyline can be a deal-breaker for me, but in this case, I was left with less of a cliffhanger-induced frustration and more of an opportunity to absorb the complexities of Anissa’s choices and to contemplate possibilities for her future. The Syrian Virgin ends at a logical moment in the plot progression, with enough information to leave me satisfied but also excited for the resolution of this remarkable tale.

    I recommend The Syrian Virgin without reservation! If you’re like me, your only complaint will be not having read it sooner.

  9. Kahea Kahea says:

    ***I received a copy as a gift from N.M. Silber in exchange for an honest review***

    Intense, insightful, heartbreaking, hopeful, sweet, eye opening and I could go on and on and on about this book and that says a lot since had it not been for spotting a post about an opportunity to review it, I never would have looked twice at it, as it doesn’t fall within the genres I typically read, but I’m happy I did. Hell, I unplugged so that I could give the book my entire attention and had to fight with myself, in my head of course, over wanting to finish it while not really wanting it to end.

    Told through diary entries, we meet Anissa as a freshman in college in the US who is writing about her last memories of being in Syria with her family two years prior and the violence that led to her fleeing her home to the present day as a form of therapy, but also for herself. These entries are done in chronological order and you feel her anxiety over the escalating violence towards Christians, such as herself, and the gut wrenching and heartbreaking horror of the event that drives her away from her homeland and into a new life in New York. While Anissa is, as the title states, a ‘virgin’ she isn’t a naive one. As she states, she may be young in age she was fifteen when she had to flee, but she is no longer a child and I couldn’t help but admire how she strives to live her life and not wallow in despair over what she has lost and what she could still possibly lose. I do find some of her choices suspect, but the fact that she doesn’t allow her pain to drag her down nor does she go wild and crazy in her new world, makes it easier to accept.

    While we meet people who matter the most to Anissa through her entries, her family, Maya, her best friend, and Michael, a man she has an interest in, we also meet Julian, one of her professors, not only through her diary entries, but through his own. It was a little weird for me when his first one comes into play but as the book progressed I came to find myself looking forward to his POV of things. In many ways Julian and Anissa are opposites, not only in their upbringing but their view of the world, but at the same time have a connection of sorts and as it plays out you do have to wonder how it will play out.

    My only issue is that we are left with a cliffhanger ending. It’s a great place to end things, I had a total WTF?!? outburst, but as you can imagine frustrating as all get out. So now, I must wait patiently for the next book in the series...

  10. Daina Lazzarotto Daina Lazzarotto says:

    It's truly a remarkable feeling to find a book that teaches you something and keeps you entertained along the way.

    The Syrian Virgin starts off with To the people of Syria. The world let you down. Which is very powerful statement and also a great way to start this powerful book. In this story you follow the life of Anissa a young Syrian girl who is forced to leave Syria at the age of 15, leaving members of her family behind her. Anissa has seen things at 15yrs old that I would never want to see or live through in my lifetime. You follow her journey to America, through high school and into college.

    Anissa is a virgin in more ways then the literal sense so starting a new life in America is a challenge. She is lucky enough to make a good friend Maya who helps her adapt to college life, she meets 2 men who make her question things and have her thinking things she never thought she would be thinking.

    There are a couple of times in this book that I cried so hard I had to stop reading because I couldn't see the words on the screen. There were also some amazingly hot scenes in this book.

    I was disappointed that this story ended as I had so many questions, but I was glad to see that there will be a book 2 in this series.

    This is not your typical romance story, which was a great change for me. Something needs to be said for books that make you take a close look at the world around you. We can sometimes believe that the problems outside our own boarders are not our concerns, that those horrific activities happening in the Middle East don't effect us. But what about them? What about their quality of life? What about if they live or die?

    I am thankful to Zack Love for writing The Syrian Virgin and opening my eyes to what is happening in Syria. You can feel the passion that Zack has for this subject matter. He made me realize that just because my boarders are protected shouldn't mean I shouldn't care about what is going on in the world. Take a look around you and ask what can you do today to make tomorrow better.

    I highly recommend this extremely well written and well researched book.

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