Review: Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali

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Diverse books are always a hit or miss. I don’t think I’ve ever read a “meh” diverse books. They’re usually very good or very bad, so I’m always hesitant at picking them up from the library. That being said, I’m glad I picked up this book.

Janna Yusuf is an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is in love with… a white boy named Jeremy. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Supposedly. But while her heart ventures one way her mind is completely occupied with something else. There are three types of people in the world. Saints, people who do good things; misfits, people who mean well but mess up sometimes; and monsters. Unfortunately, Janna has a monster she can’t stop worrying about. And he’s in the Muslim community.

Right off the bat Janna is such a likeable character. She’s quirky but realistic. She comes off as someone you could know and relate to and she’s not a sulking mess. She’s an accurate portrayal of today’s Muslim youth: a little confused but trying to make their way through it. At some points in the novel I was why she would make such bad decision but I realized that everyone make’s menial mistakes and there’s probably someone out in the world that did the exact same thing.

The subject matter in the book is heavy. Sexual assault is not something that is openly discussed in many muslim households and its difficult to live with something like that if you can’t tell anyone. The situation gets worse when the attacker is a supposedly “pious” Muslim man with a very clean reputation. This book serves as a reminder that no matter how religious someone is, only their actions can determine how they really are.

Final thoughts: A great book that everyone should read. Balances light humour well with a heavy subject matter and does a great job at representation. Pick up as your new contemporary read!

5/5

(Psssssst… want to help my friend out with her booktube channel? Here’s a link to her review on this book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzY1VwFQXUc&t=70s happy reading!)

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