School Library Journal – Starred Review
Booklist – Starred Review
Top Five YA Debuts of Spring/Summer 2017
Saints and Misfits is 2017’s must-read contemporary novel. S.K. Ali has given us a sharp and relatable heroine in Janna, as well as a fully realized supporting cast of unforgettable characters. Deftly handles several heavy topics including attempted assault.
Allison Senecal, American Booksellers Association
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…readers will be glad to make space in their hearts—and bookshelves—for Janna Yusuf.
Ali’s writing…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….timely and authentic portrayal.
Ali’s debut offers a much-needed, important perspective in Janna, whose Muslim faith is pivotal but far from the only part of her multifaceted identity. Thanks to her sharp, wry first-person narrative, readers will gain deep insight into her anxieties, choices, and aspirations… A wide variety of readers will find solidarity with Janna.
Booklist, starred review
…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…a sympathetic and thoughtful study of a girl’s attempt to find her place in a complicated world.
A heartfelt, gorgeously written, deeply meaningful book…there was so much wisdom in it, so much truth, so much heart. I want to hug it to myself.
Ausma Zehanat Khan, Author of The Unquiet Dead, Language of Secrets, Among the Ruins and The Bloodprint
SAINTS AND MISFITS is a beating heart inside a book…[It] takes us on a powerful journey as we watch our heroine find her place in her community and find herself in the process.
– Aisha Saeed, Author of Written in the Stars
Content warning: sexual assault (not graphic); see Common Sense Media’s review for content descriptions.
Picture Book: coming soon