As Long As The Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfa Katouh

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: As Long As the Lemon Trees Grow

Author: Zoulfa Katouh

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Syrian Muslim MC and characters

Recommended For…: young adult readers, historical fiction, romance, war, Syria, Middle East

Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Age Relevance: 16+ (war, starvation, gore, violence, pregnancy, religion, death, depression, torture, infanticide, rape, human trafficking, cursing, PTSD, romance, attempted sexual assault)

Explanation of Above: The book takes place during the war for freedom in Syria, so there is a lot about war in the book. There is also gore, including blood and some surgery, and weapons violence. There is also death mentioned frequently in the book and there are mentions of torture as well. There is starvation mentioned and shown in the book and pregnancy is also shown and discussed, as well as some infanticide committed by opposing forces. Religion (Islam) is discussed a lot in the book. There are depictions and mentions of depression and PTSD. There is some slight cursing in the book and some romance. Rape is mentioned a couple of times in the book, there is a scene with an attempted sexual assault, and human trafficking is mentioned as well.

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 432

Synopsis: Salama Kassab was a pharmacy student when the cries for freedom broke out in Syria. She still had her parents and her big brother; she still had her home. She had a normal teenager’s life.

Now Salama volunteers at a hospital in Homs, helping the wounded who flood through the doors daily. Secretly, though, she is desperate to find a way out of her beloved country before her sister-in-law, Layla, gives birth. So desperate, that she has manifested a physical embodiment of her fear in the form of her imagined companion, Khawf, who haunts her every move in an effort to keep her safe.

But even with Khawf pressing her to leave, Salama is torn between her loyalty to her country and her conviction to survive. Salama must contend with bullets and bombs, military assaults, and her shifting sense of morality before she might finally breathe free. And when she crosses paths with the boy she was supposed to meet one fateful day, she starts to doubt her resolve in leaving home at all.

Soon, Salama must learn to see the events around her for what they truly are—not a war, but a revolution—and decide how she, too, will cry for Syria’s freedom.

Review: This was an excellent read! I absolutely loved the story and I thought it did well to talk about the struggles of living in Syria during the majority of the fighting. I loved the world building and character development. The pacing was on point and the writing was very well done. The twist in the book was so well done and I could NOT put the book down. I cried, I screamed, I fell in love. And this story will stick with me for a long time. It’s definitely changed me for the better.

The only thing I think could be a bit better is that I wanted a little bit more of the romance and I wanted a bit more resolution with Khawf.

Verdict: It was amazing! Highly recommend!

Book Info:

As Long As the Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfa Katouh

Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction

Publishing Date: September 13, 2022

Synopsis:

Salama Kassab was a pharmacy student when the cries for freedom broke out in Syria. She still had her parents and her big brother; she still had her home. She had a normal teenager’s life.

Now Salama volunteers at a hospital in Homs, helping the wounded who flood through the doors daily. Secretly, though, she is desperate to find a way out of her beloved country before her sister-in-law, Layla, gives birth. So desperate, that she has manifested a physical embodiment of her fear in the form of her imagined companion, Khawf, who haunts her every move in an effort to keep her safe.

But even with Khawf pressing her to leave, Salama is torn between her loyalty to her country and her conviction to survive. Salama must contend with bullets and bombs, military assaults, and her shifting sense of morality before she might finally breathe free. And when she crosses paths with the boy she was supposed to meet one fateful day, she starts to doubt her resolve in leaving home at all.

Soon, Salama must learn to see the events around her for what they truly are—not a war, but a revolution—and decide how she, too, will cry for Syria’s freedom.

Content Warning: on page death and sexual assault. As well as, descriptions of torture, child abuse and torture, PTSD, starvation, and general descriptions of the horror that comes with war.

Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57390604-as-long-as-the-lemon-trees-grow

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316351377

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/as-long-as-the-lemon-trees-grow-zoulfa-katouh/1140835426

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Long-Lemon-Trees-Grow-Zoulfa-Katouh/9781526648525

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/as-long-as-the-lemon/9780316351379-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316351379

About the Author:

Zoulfa Katouh is the only person in her family who can’t roll her tongue, but that’s okay because she writes characters who can do so. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Drug Sciences. She is trilingual in English, Arabic and German. Zoulfa currently resides in Switzerland where she finds inspiration in the Studio Ghibli picturesque scenery.

Ever since her Mama gave her a copy of Anne of Green Gables when she was eight years old, she discovered the beauty of books. Soon enough she was sneaking books under her school desk to read while teachers went on about Math and Physics. Her imagination grew, and one day, she had the courage to pen down the stories that roam her mind. And she never stopped!

Her speculative contemporary YA debut AS LONG AS THE LEMON TREES GROW comes out September 13th by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and September 15th by Bloomsbury Kids & YA UK, making her the first Syrian YA author to be published in the US and UK.

She is represented by the warrior queen Alexandra Levick at Writers House.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.zoulfakatouh.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thelemonwitch_

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thelemonwitch_/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21273700.Zoulfa_Katouh

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/zoulfa94?si=fbgYINjzSAO6r0_krt4d_g&nd=1

Tour Schedule:https://tbrandbeyondtours.com/2022/08/04/tour-schedule-as-long-as-the-lemon-trees-grow-by-zoulfa-katouh/