The Bad Muslim Discount

Doubleday. Feb. 2021. 368p. Tr $27.95. ISBN 9780385545259.
Gr 10 Up–Anvar grew up in Pakistan where he spent most of his childhood, until his family’s move to America where he then tries to navigate his new lifestyle changes, including an eventual college heartbreak, and settles into his current life in California as a religious skeptic. Safwa’s story is one of resilience and continuous struggles, having grown up in war-torn Iraq, immigrating to America after changing her name to Azza, and facing abuse from seemingly pious men in her life. After coming together, Anvar and Safwa realize that, although they don’t have much in common and have gone through very different experiences, they ended up with similar thoughts about their faith, culture, and what it means to be a “bad Muslim.” Although at times the subject matter is heavy, the story is told through eloquent writing with occasional bits of dry humor from Anvar. Told in alternating chapters, Masood’s adult debut features authentic, complex characters who don’t have much “faith,” but ultimately find balance and perhaps even happiness.
VERDICT An #OwnVoices novel that will stay with readers long after they’re done.

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