Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

saints-and-misfits-9781481499248_hrSaints and Misfits is a pretty solid contemporary with some truly extraordinary components.

Let me dive right in. Here’s what I liked:

  • Janna is a bright and diverse voice in contemporary fiction. I loved that she chose to wear hijab and that this book really focuses on the pros and cons of such a choice. The entire portrayal of Islam was, in my opinion, well-written and in good taste. I enjoyed Janna’s POV for the most part, and thought that she was a very
  • This is a book about Islam that in no way deals with terrorism. It’s refreshing to read a story that explores Islamic culture and beliefs, without connecting in any way to terrorists or the war on terror. It’s nice to just read about a normal American teenager struggling with her faith in a way that feels authentic and real.
  • The supporting characters were a fun addition. In particular, I loved Mr. Ram and Sarah. And, oh my gosh, Sausun definitely could have her own novel – there is a lot to explore in her character’s byline.
  • It does a beautiful job dealing with the topic of rape and attempted rape. This is definitely a strong girl-power book, which is always a plus in a contemporary. But what sets this book apart is how well it deals with the fear and shame victims often feel after something horrible has been done to them. Janna has to learn how to cope with what Farooq has done to her and she has to find her own courage so that she can confront him and keep him from hurting other girls. It’s heart-wrenching.

Unfortunately, what kept this from being a 4 or 5 star read for me is that I just didn’t really enjoy it as much as I wish I had. It was a solid read but I wasn’t speeding through it at breakneck. I had a hard time really getting into the story and losing myself in it. Janna was probably the least relatable of the characters, and since it was from her POV I didn’t feel a strong connection to what was happening.

I think the topic and supporting characters were great, but the execution could have used some work to take this from a good read to a FANTASTIC one. Still, it’s worth a read just for the subject matter and portrayal of Islam.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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