A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
There's lots for readers to learn about the role religion can play in the life of a Muslim teen -- stopping for prayers throughout the day, what it's like to wear a burkini, rules about dating (girls should never be completely alone with a boy), that even gummy bears can be halal (permissible to eat under Islamic law).
Shows the importance of learning how to take action (even if it's only a few first steps) if you see an injustice.
Positive Role Models
Janna breaks down many of the cliches and misconceptions a reader might have about what life is like for a Muslim American teen. She has decided to wear a hijab and stop throughout the day to say prayers, and she has crushes on boys, has her heart a bit broken, worries about what she's wearing, listens to pop music, and goes to the movies. She loves to swim and doesn't let her modest burkini stop her from diving into the pool and having a great time with her friends. Like many readers, Janna's dealing with the aftermath of divorce, the remarriage of one parent, and new half-siblings.
Violence & Scariness
Mentions are made about the attempted sexual assault on Janna that took place in Saints and Misfits. A character's father is awaiting trial for a drunk driving crash that killed his younger brother.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Janna hopes to have a summer romance and considers someone who was previously interested in her, who has come for the wedding weekend.
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A few uses of "a--hole," "crap," "s--t."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that smart and stong Egyptian Indian American teen Janna Yusuf returns in S.K. Ali's Misfit in Love, the sequel to Saints and Misfits. But it easily stands on it's own and doesn't require readers to be familiar with the characters or storylines in the first book. Here, Janna's older brother, Muhammed, is getting married, and her blended family (Janna's father, stepmother, half-brothers, and mother) and a huge group of friends are gathering at her father's lakeside estate for a weekend of festivities. Janna's looking forward to the wedding, but even more to the arrival of Nuah. It's time, Janna's decided, to finally tell him she's ready to return his feelings for her. Of course, the weekend gets complicated as Janna realizes Nuah's heart may now lie elsewhere, she discovers her mother might have a new boyfriend, and her beloved father could be a racist. Mentions are made about a past attempted sexual assault on Janna. There are a few uses of "a--hole," "crap," and "s-t."
Is It Any Good?
Once again, Ali offers readers a bright engaging and easily relatable novel about a Muslim teen and her family. While the storyline in Misfit in Love that addresses racism doesn't appear until midway through what has been until then very much a romcom, it's quickly developed and adds a serious takeaway for readers as Janna confronts not only her father's racism but the prejudices based on ethnicity that exist within her own extended family.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.