Title: SAINTS AND MISFITS
Author: S.K Ali
Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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?
“The old Tas can’t come to the phone right now.
‘Cause they just melted into a puddle.”
There’s so much to say, that I’ve had a bit struggle deciding where to start. There’s been characters I could relate to, and there’s been storylines I could relate to. But this book got me to stop at every sentence and say, I feel you, girl (except her choice of breakfast).
The book follows a hijabi teen as she finds her way to deal with a sexual predator everyone else thinks to be saint and at the same time finds her ‘why’ she is doing it all. The author deserves so much admiration for portraying something you don’t see us women (especially Muslims) talking about everyday. It’s both not knowing what to do, or being afraid others will generalize your entire race with that one predator you speak up about, and that’s what the MC, Janna struggles to do.
It’s a story about finding yourself, your friends and fighting away monsters – all from a Hijabi girl’s perspective. It’s a must-read for hijabi teens because we don’t see ourselves represented so realistically that often. I recommend it to anyone into YA contemporary.