Saints and Misfits, Book 1
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Based on 4 reviews
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that in S.K. Ali's Saints and Misfits, 15-year-old Muslim American teen Janna Yusuf is trying her best to navigate a whole series of relatable teen problems: fitting into the new families created by her Egyptian mother and Indian father's divorce, a tough math class, mean girls, and a crush on a boy who might not be right for her. Janna has decided to wear a hijab, but for the ethnically diverse friends and neighbors that inhabit Janna's life, her religion is simply one part of what makes up the kind, smart, and strong girl they know. When Janna's secure world is shattered by an attempted sexual assault, she first struggles and then becomes determined to fight back and hold her attacker accountable. There's some strong language ("hell," "bulls--t," "a--hole," and "bitch"), and the assault is not graphically described. This is an exceptional read that shows a Muslim American teen living her faith in the multicultural United States.
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What's the Story?
Janna Yusuf is balancing a lot in SAINTS AND MISFITS. Her non-religious Indian father and religious Egyptian mother are divorced, and her father has remarried. Her brother's dating the "the most perfect Muslim girl on the planet," while Janna has a crush on a non-Muslim boy named Jeremy. She has one life with a group of culturally diverse friends at her high school and another with her friends at the local mosque. And Janna has a secret she's been keeping from all of them. Farouq, a young man everyone at her mosque considers a saint, tried to sexually assault her and now seems to be turning up everywhere she goes. When she refuses to have anything to do with him, he retaliates by videotaping her talking with Jeremy and sending it to her friends and brother. She knows she needs to fight back and expose Farouq for who he really is, but will anyone believe her?
Is It Any Good?
This empowering multicultural coming-of-age story uses engaging and relatable teen characters to take on big issues of faith, identity, and sexual assault. Saints and Misfits introduces readers to characters in an ethnically and religiously diverse American community with whom they'll have much in common.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Muslim teens are portrayed in Saints and Misfits. Does Janna's high school life seem pretty much like that of any other teen? Would a girl wearing a hijab be as readily accepted in your school as Janna is in hers?
Several girls post photos on Facebook they know will be hurtful to Janna. Do you think people who post false or hurtful things on social media should be held accountable? Why, or why not?
If you knew someone considered a "saint" was actually a "monster," would you speak out? Who would you tell? What if no one believed you?
- Author: S.K. Ali
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Salaam Reads
- Publication date: June 13, 2017
- Number of pages: 325
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (abridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: September 28, 2021
Our Editors Recommend
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Little Mosque on the Prairie
Funny ensemble comedy plays with Muslim stereotypes.
When Dimple Met Rishi
Opposites begin to attract in sweet arranged-union tale.
For kids who love teen romance and stories about the need for consent
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