Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Saints and Misfits

Monday, June 5, 2017

Just Finished Reading ... Saints and Misfits

Saints and Misfits
by S. K. Ali

To be published on June 13, 2017
by Simon & Schuster/Salaam Reads

Source: eARC for review

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Synopsis from Goodreads: Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box. And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out. While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?
My take:  Saints and Misfits is described in the Goodreads blurb as a Muslim "My So Called Life." I'm old enough to remember that 90s show, and I see the parallels, as this is a book about a smart, observant young girl navigating the ups and downs of teenage life.

Janna is the daughter of divorced parents and the niece of an imam. She takes photos at mosque events for her uncle and helps edit his advice column. She has a part time job wheeling around a 90+ year-old senior citizen with whom she discusses race and representation in Shakespeare. Her brother is in love with the mosque study leader. And for most of the book she's afraid of someone in her community and angry that he's managed to fool everyone about his true nature.

I loved the themes of this book. One major one was what makes a good/moral person, which is a question Janna grapples with. The level of religious observance in her family and friend circle varies quite a bit, and she's trying to see where she fits in. There's also one person, lauded in her religious community, who she doesn't think isn't a good or moral person at all.

Really enjoyed this - check it out if you're looking for a sometimes funny, sometimes moving coming-of-age story!

5 comments:

  1. This one sounds really interesting and like one I might like. I'm always looking for some good diverse reads.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As a Christian, sometimes you can see people within the religion who don't have what you would define as good morals, and it can make you doubt or question things. So I see where this main character is coming from!

    ReplyDelete

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