Misfit in Love by S.K. Ali | Book Review


BLURB: 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 (Goodreads).

Throughout our lives, pain visits us in turns. There isn't a human alive that hasn't been touched by pain. We all carry scars and wounds, but only some rise to the surface to be seen and commented on. Simply put, the story of pain is common to us all.

Title: Misfit in Love
Author: S.K. Ali
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Goodreads rating: 4.00
Pages: 301
Publication: 2021 by Simon & Schuster
Source: MPH Online
Book links: Book Depository | AmazonGoogle Books
Reading format: Paperback
Review type: Non-spoilery

I should just say that S.K. Ali is one of my favourite authors by now. She always manages to craft a lighthearted, fun story with some important discussions in her book and I will always love her for that. This is a sequel to her debut, Saints and Misfits which was one of my favourite books of all time. In this book, we enter Janna's story again; her brother, Muhammad is finally getting married and she might start her own love story after all! Compared to the first book, the topics in this book were much lighter and the vibe was much more fun. I highly anticipated this one, not just because I loved the first book but also because this sets around a wedding, AND I LOVE BOOKS ABOUT WEDDING because with weddings come chaotic fun and huge familial themes that will make me smile and laugh, and we've established that I love me some good laughings.
Let there be all kinds of love. And taking first steps. And changing my world.
Yes, romance is one of the subgenres of this book. Yes, it revolves around love. But it's so much more than that (which is always the case with S.K. Ali's books). I thought it was only going to be another cute halal romance as I saw in her second book, Love From A to Z. I would not say that this is a romantic book per se, but relationships and love were discussed, and in a much deeper way than I expected. We follow Janna as she tried to start 'something' with Nuah, which has been one of her closest friends and also gets to know dreamy Haytham and brooding Layth. Sounds like a love triangle drama, but I promise you, it wasn't. But there were a lot of other dramas, mainly familial, which was everything I wanted (seem diabolical but I WASN'T, OKAY).

Besides the drama in Janna's love life, she was also dealing with her mother finding love after divorce and her father's prejudice towards Nuah. This book also discusses racism, eurocentrism, prejudice across cultures in the Muslim community, which I don't personally see a lot.

I was a Nuah-Janna shipper since book 1, so it was so disheartening when I saw that ship slowly dissolve in this book. But it was also fun getting to know Layth and Haytham; at one point, I wasn't sure who I shipped Janna with😂 The Janna's love life plotline was very well-crafted, in my opinion. Some people argued that young teens that read this might get more confused about love while reading this, but I think that's the whole point. LOVE IS CONFUSING, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU'RE A TEENAGER. You won't know what you want from the get-go. You might think you like someone, and then question your feelings for them after getting to know someone else. You might like someone and thought they also share the same feeling for you but you did not end up together. Love, lust, admiration are interchangeable especially in the teenage phase of one's life, and in Janna's case, she reached the perfect conclusion, which is summed up in the quote below:
But, I ask my stupid heart, do you actually like him in that way?
No, I don't, my stupid heart answers. He's cute but we're on different wavelengths.
Then why make a narrative, a love story, a world in your head? If your heart isn't officially ready to participate in one in real life?

I can relate, Janna, I can relate. And I'm sure a lot of teenagers and young adults can too. Why force a love story just for the sake of having a love story, if you're not actually ready?

NGL I had a little epiphany moment when I was reading those lines.
As mentioned above, the discussion of prejudice across cultures in the Muslim community was constantly shown in the book. The most apparent one was, of course, the prejudice of one of Janna's family members towards her love interest, Nuah, which was a Black Muslim. The root of the prejudice across cultures, how common it actually is, the way people avoid the discussion of racism when it is done by the closest ones were discussed and described very nicely from conversations between Janna and Nuah, another separate discussion with her mom, and discussions with the other characters. It makes me think whether I can see a similar pattern happening in my own culture (yes it does, and I have to learn more about this to stop being blind).

To sum it up, I love this book so much, as much as I loved the first one although this one was much more fun for me due to the wedding setting. I cried a few times, laughed a lot, felt very seen, loved the ending and everything. I would give every star in the world to this book if I could.

Recommended for people who love: a story set around a wedding, self-discovery of a teenager trying to find love, accurate Muslim representation, a diverse set of characters with diverse representations of Muslims, heavy familiar theme and loveable characters.

Post a Comment

Instagram follow @nerdbilla