Saints & Misfits
Author: S.K. Ali
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Genre/Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: June 13th 2017
Page Count: 352
*Disclaimer: An ARC of Saints & Misfits by S.K. Ali was provided to me by Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.
Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali has been one of the most talked about books of the summer. The hype was definitely real! I even had the opportunity to meet S.K. Ali prior to the book’s release at an Indigo Teen Preview event! Did you know that she is based in Toronto!? Meeting her and hearing her talk about Saints and Misfits definitely helped move it up on my list of most anticipated reads of the year.
How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them? 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?
What I Liked
The characters. The characters were definitely the strongest aspect of this novel. They were diverse and stood out from one another as they had their own individual personalities. I loved Janna, but I think the stand-outs for me were Nuah and Mohammad. Nuah because of his friendship with Janna and Mohammad because of the pretty accurate depiction of a bond between siblings. I don’t have an older brother, but I do have a younger sister and I know that even when you’re having an argument, you will always be there to whoop anyone’s ass that bothers your sibling.
I learned new things. Saints and Misfits features the story of a young Muslim teen. As I myself am not Muslim, I learned a lot about Muslim culture! I was luck enough to grow up in a very multi-cultural setting, so there were a few things that I already knew, but through Saints and Misfits I was able to learn so much more. I know a few readers found it hard to follow when Muslim terms were used casually without explanation, but I personally liked that. There are probably so many moments in novels that randomly drop Catholic terms and just expect people to know what it means. It was refreshing to read and come across a word that I was unsure about. It forced me to research and learn new things, which I am always grateful for.
The average every day life. I loved that Saints and Misfits took readers through a day in the life of your normal teen Muslim girl. The story wasn’t over the top or super dramatic, but instead focused on a young girl dealing with her life. It was a fresh new take on a different teenaged perspective and one that I haven’t read before. Saints and Misfits also touched on the very important topic of attempted sexual assault. Not only did we as readers witness how Janna had to deal with the situation, but it also took a look at how difficult dealing with the situation is when the culprit is a very prestigious and highly respected member of the mosque she attends. Saints and Misfits deals with some heavy topics, but perfectly intertwines them with normal, average moments in every teenagers life.
What I Didn’t Like
The pacing. Unfortunately, the pacing of this novel felt a little off for me. There were moments that felt like they were dragging on and I felt myself wanting to skim through them. I’m not sure what it was, but it wasn’t as smooth of a read as I was hoping it would be.
Overall, I really loved reading from a different perspective that I had never read before. I learned more about Muslim which was amazing. While there were moments that dragged a little, there was a very strong story underneath that I definitely learned from.
About The Author
Hi everyone! *waves* I’m still working on writing up my serious, OFFICIAL bio, but, for now, I hope a compilation of random facts about me will do?
The first complete story I wrote was called Sweet Calvin. It featured a child visiting from Australia who goes on a murderous rampage WITH A RAKE after being bitten by a mouse. Because that’s what mice do to children from Australia. The story was a hit with my seventh grade class so, yeah, I decided to become an author at the tender, gruesome age of eleven.
I wanted to tell stories so badly that I got my degree in Creative Writing as soon as I was released from high school.
I was born in south India but left that lush, beautiful, idyllic place during my terrible threes. Not by my toddler-self of course. My parents and siblings insisted on accompanying me across the oceans to Canada.
One of my favorite words in the entire world is…wait for it…”wee”. As in, that’s a wee little word to be putting all your favoriting-power into! I believe I have some Scottish blood in me.
I call my stories a stitching-together of the threads in our lives that lead to our ah-ha moments. But, yes, on thinking about it, that’s what all stories are.
The first language I learned in school was French.
Thank you for reading!