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Saints and Misfits
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Saints and Misfits
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Saints and Misfits—a William C. Morris Award finalist and an Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of the Year—is a "timely and authentic" (School Library Journal, starred review) debut novel...
Saints and Misfits—a William C. Morris Award finalist and an Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of the Year—is a "timely and authentic" (School Library Journal, starred review) debut novel...
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Description-

  • Saints and Misfits—a William C. Morris Award finalist and an Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of the Year—is a "timely and authentic" (School Library Journal, starred review) debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life...starring a Muslim teen.
    There are three kinds of people in my world:

    1. Saints, those special people moving the world forward. Sometimes you glaze over them. Or, at least, I do. They're in your face so much, you can't see them, like how you can't see your nose.

    2. Misfits, people who don't belong. Like me—the way I don't fit into Dad's brand-new family or in the leftover one composed of Mom and my older brother, Mama's-Boy-Muhammad.

    Also, there's Jeremy and me. Misfits. Because although, alliteratively speaking, Janna and Jeremy sound good together, we don't go together. Same planet, different worlds.

    But sometimes worlds collide and beautiful things happen, right?

    3. Monsters. Well, monsters wearing saint masks, like in Flannery O'Connor's stories.

    Like the monster at my mosque.

    People think he's holy, untouchable, but nobody has seen under the mask.

    Except me.
 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • S. K. Ali is the author of Saints and Misfits, a finalist for the American Library Association's 2018 William C. Morris Award and the winner of the APALA Honor Award and Middle East Book Honor Award; and Love from A to Z, a Today show Read with Jenna Book Club selection. Both novels were named best YA books of the year by various media including Entertainment Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. She is also the author of Misfit in Love and Love from Mecca to Medina. You can find Sajidah online at SKAliBooks.com and follow her on Instagram @SKAliBooks and on Twitter at @SajidahWrites.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 8, 2017
    Sophomore Janna Yusuf is caught between her Muslim faith and the parts of her life that clash with it: her nonpracticing father; her crush Jeremy, who isn’t Muslim; and the pious boy from her mosque who attempts to sexually assault her during a party. This push and pull gives readers unfamiliar with Islam a deep understanding of Muslim practices and women who wear the hijab without limiting the scope of the story. Instead, debut novelist Ali taps into universal thoughts and situations, including the feelings of not fitting in, oppressive social stigmas, and the difficulty of truly connecting with and trusting others. Everything is perceived and digested through Janna’s lens as she questions a world that she finds is mostly gray areas: a photo project serves as an ironic twist for a girl pretending she wasn’t assaulted, a woman she thinks is a saint turns out to be a typically flawed human, and her relationship with an elderly Indian man exposes her own shortcomings. It’s a sympathetic and thoughtful study of a girl’s attempt to find her place in a complicated world. Ages 14–up. Agent: John M. Cusick, Folio Literary Management.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from April 15, 2017
    Janna Yusuf has two major problems: the boy who assaults her at her friend's party is well-respected in the local Muslim community, and now the boy from school she's been crushing on likes her back.Janna, a high school sophomore whose Egyptian mother and Indian father are divorced, is surrounded by caring friends and family, but there are things her non-Muslim friends don't understand, and there are things she won't tell her Muslim friends and family. It all comes to a head when her aggressor tries to publicly shame her by posting videos of her talking with her crush, a white boy named Jeremy, who, as a non-Muslim, is not considered a proper match for her...even if Janna did date, that is. As she stumbles through her social dilemmas, Janna finds out who her allies are--the everyday "saints" she's overlooked. Finally, with the help of an unpredictable niqabi on her own mission to crush misogynists, Janna gets in touch with her rage and fights back, refusing to take on the shame that belongs on the aggressor. Ali pens a touching exposition of a girl's evolution from terrified victim to someone who knows she's worthy of support and is brave enough to get it. Set in a multicultural Muslim family, this book is long overdue, a delight for readers who will recognize the culture and essential for those unfamiliar with Muslim experiences. This quiet read builds to a satisfying conclusion; readers will be glad to make space in their hearts--and bookshelves--for Janna Yusuf. (Fiction. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from May 1, 2017

    Gr 9 Up-Life has settled since Janna's parents' divorce, but several new obstacles are making things difficult. Her brother, Muhammad, is moving back home as he changes majors and pursues marriage, while Janna silently battles against a respected boy at her mosque who attempted to rape her. To cope, Janna has separated people into categories. Farooq is a monster, but there are also saints, like Muhammad's fiancee. And then there are misfits, like Janna. This categorization isn't expressed overtly other than through chapter headings and occasional references, but it allows readers to see the world as Janna views it. Yet where there is darkness, there is also light: Janna has a lovely relationship with an elderly gentleman she cares for weekly, loves Flannery O'Connor, is a focused student, and has a crush on a boy, though he's non-Muslim. Ali's writing is balanced between Janna's inner dialogue and what transpires around her. The structured delivery magnifies the teen's rich voice in a character-driven novel about identity, highlighting her faith and typical teenage stress. Readers can empathize with Janna's problems, and the pages will turn quickly. Each secondary character adds depth to the narrative and simultaneously strengthens the diverse portrait that the Toronto-based author shares. VERDICT This timely and authentic portrayal is an indisputable purchase in the realistic fiction category.-Alicia Abdul, Albany High School Library, NY

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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