Misfit in Love

S. & S. (Saints and Misfits). May 2021. 320p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534442757.
Gr 9 Up–Changes are underway in Janna’s life: She is preparing for college, her mother appears to have a love interest, and Nuah returns but his coolness startles Janna. As Janna’s brother Muhammad’s nikah, or marriage, draws nearer, a startling conversation with her dad about racism strains their relationship. Whether it will be resolved depends on how much Janna is willing to push back using an antiracist perspective. While there are dozens of characters to keep track of, this chaotic convergence works to amplify Janna’s situation and heighten anxieties. Similar to Darius in Adib Khorram’s Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Janna’s internal life is on full display and provides a sympathetic character to relate to in love, fashion, and family bonds. As an Arab and Indian American of Islamic faith, her thoughts are driven by her culture but ebb and flow as she matures and solidifies her own beliefs. The roadblocks she faces along the way are realistic and may parallel readers’ lives, making Janna an endearing main character. This second book in a series that could certainly lead to a third continues to broach topics of social justice, making this relevant reading with a strong female lead.
VERDICT Make sure this one is available for teens interested in a realistic story of faith, family, and friendships.

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