Misfit in Love
S. K. Ali
Simon & Schuster/Salaam Reads
Published May 25, 2021
Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads
About Misfit in Love
Janna Yusuf is so excited for the weekend: her brother Muhammad’s getting married, and she’s reuniting with her mom, whom she’s missed the whole summer.
And Nuah’s arriving for the weekend too.
Sweet, constant Nuah.
The last time she saw him, Janna wasn’t ready to reciprocate his feelings for her. But things are different now. She’s finished high school, ready for college…and ready for Nuah.
It’s time for Janna’s (carefully planned) summer of love to begin—starting right at the wedding.
But it wouldn’t be a wedding if everything went according to plan. Muhammad’s party choices aren’t in line with his fiancée’s taste at all, Janna’s dad is acting strange, and her mom is spending more time with an old friend (and maybe love interest?) than Janna.
And Nuah’s treating her differently.
Just when things couldn’t get more complicated, two newcomers—the dreamy Haytham and brooding Layth—have Janna more confused than ever about what her misfit heart really wants.
Janna’s summer of love is turning out to be super crowded and painfully unpredictable.
In this fun and fresh sequel to SAINTS AND MISFITS, Janna hopes her brother’s wedding will be the perfect start to her own summer of love, but attractive new arrivals have her more confused than ever.
Janna is hilarious and awkward and completely adorable. I love her. Every time I sat down to read for a few minutes, I got pulled straight into this story and its big, quirky family and all the drama of getting ready for the wedding. I love the way Janna has this community of women surrounding her and building her up. She also spends some time asking herself really hard questions about love and forgiveness, and I love that the story pursued those threads, too. It was fun getting to revisit some of my favorite characters from SAINTS AND MISFITS and adding some new characters to the mix.
I think one of the reasons I enjoy faith-positive stories like this one so much is that I feel like I can really easily connect with a character whose faith is deeply important to them. I guess I just feel like I really connect with characters whose faith drives a lot of their everyday decisions and motivates them to try to be a better person to others. I’m glad to see faith-positive stories in young adult literature.
I think fans of HENNA WARS by Adiba Jaigirdar or TODAY TONIGHT TOMORROW by Rachel Lynn Solomon will enjoy this book.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Janna and many of her friends and family members are Muslim. A few minor characters are Black. Janna’s dad is Indian and her mom is Egyptian.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used very infrequently.
Janna has feelings for a boy, but doesn’t pursue physical contact with him because of her faith. She believes that dating should be focused on preparing for marriage and chaperoned by a companion.
Scenes show Janna and others rising early to pray and praying together at other times in the day. Janna’s faith governs her behavior toward boys, too. She covers her hair with a hijab. She wears a burkini to swim. She doesn’t have physical contact with boys. She also edits a question and answer page on her mosque’s website, and browses some of those questions and answers in one scene of the story. Some other precepts of Islam come up, like the importance of caring for the environment and the value of loving others.
In SAINTS AND MISFITS, Janna was assaulted by a family friend. She mentions the assault a couple of times, but it’s not described in any detail.
Janna also confronts a loved one about anti-Black behavior and wrestles with how to handle having a relationship with that person going forward.
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