Thursday, July 27, 2017

Author Spotlight: Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 10:00 AM

S. K. Ali is the author of Saints and Misfits. She lives in Toronto with her family, which includes a very vocal cat named Yeti. She is currently working on her second YA novel, featuring an ensemble cast of diverse souls, as well as LOVE.

Title: Saints and Misfits
Genre: YA Contemporary OwnVoices
Author: S. K. Ali
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Publication: June 13th 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5

A few weeks ago, I read my first fiction book having to do with the Muslim religion and culture. It was very eye opening towards the way women are treated in their communities. While I did enjoy the book, reading about the topic made me incredibly saddened. When I requested to do this spotlight for Saint's and Misfit's I knew I might be getting into something that I could either love or hate. Luckily, I ended up really liking this book but that didn't stop my feeling of sadness. In fact, this book only strengthened my opinions on the topic.

Our main character is Janna. She is this really awesome girl who is just trying to make sense of life. Her parents are divorced, her brother just moved back in and she might have to give up her bedroom for him. Then add a crush, some betrayal and her religion into the mix and you've got yourself a fairly normal girl dealing with fairly normal problems. But then one of her problems becomes not so normal and her entire life is flipped upside down by The Monster.

Then we have Muhammad, Janna's brother, Mr. Ram, the elderly man she helps out with and a ton of other characters that  all have their purpose in the plot for many reasons. Janna's life changes a lot through this book and not just because of The Monster. She becomes close with people she didn't think she would like. She grew up and learned to stand up for herself. this story was definitely about a girl finding herself but it was also about that girl learning to stand up for what is right, regardless of the backlash you might get for it. 

The book plays out like it is some sort of sitcom for the main characters crappy life. We get to follow her through so much and I liked that we got to see so much of her life. Not just her life, though, a lot of lives. We get to see her brother attempting to 'date' Saint Sarah. Her best friend, Tat, gushing over some guy, kind of bordering on stalking and so many other interesting lives. 

To touch on the sadness I mentioned at the beginning of this review, it was so hard to read about someone who didn't even feel safe enough in her own little niche because of some guy who felt that he was entitled to whatever she had to offer. She wasn't even offering anything, but he still tried to take it and that made me beyond sick. Then he tried to make it seem like it was her fault, telling her that he knew she wanted him, all the usual things a rapist tries to tell his victims to make them believe they are in the wrong, not the rapist. 

Now, let's talk about the main love interest, Jeremy. He was white, he was normal, he wasn't anything special and, aside from him being Janna's crush and that causing drama, he really had no purpose. We only got maybe two or three scenes with him as part of the scene and not just in the background or being talked about. He seemed really sweet and caring in the one first scene but due to The Monster, we never really got to see much else about him.

I was so relieved that Janna finally took a stand and opened her damn mouth. She was such a great character to deal with but that one fatal flaw was just killing it for me. I understand WHY she didn't want to say anything in the first place, but hiding and letting something The Monster did ruin things was not the best way to handle the situation. I finished this book with a broken heart over the old man and a smile on my face because of Janna being brave. Also, I hope her brother beat the crap out of The Monster!

In the end, I am glad that this book exists. The Young Adult genre is growing at such a rapid rate but there still wasn't much diversity in the books. Saints and Misfits is a huge step forward in the YA book world and I appreciate the author for putting her words onto paper.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.


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