Hi guys! Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Aimal from Bookshelves and Paperbacks. Every week, you choose a book for each of these three categories: a diverse book you’ve read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your tbr, and a diverse book that hasn’t been released yet. This week all my picks are books with muslim protagonists.
Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure her out, an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who’s a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and graphic novelist isn’t easy to put in box. And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think, or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks.
While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She knows a monster. One who happens to be parading around as a saint. Will she be the one to call him out? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?
tw: sexual assault, stalking, victim blaming
This book has a lot more layers than I was expecting based on it’s blurb and pretty, pastel cover. It deals with some pretty heavy topics like sexual assault, harassment and victim blaming. It specially explores the cost of coming forward when the person who’s abused you is someone who’s well liked and respected in your community.
Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (staying in Chicago and being matched with a “suitable” Muslim boy) and the one where she goes to film school in New York City and maybe kisses a guy she’s only known from afar. There’s the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya’s last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?
I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this book and I’m very excited to read it. I think it’s another one who’s cute, pastel cover might hide a darker story within – seeing as it deals with Islamophobia in the US following a terrorist attack.
Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed, May 8th
Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal’s Pakistani village, but she had no complaints. She’s busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Then the unimaginable happens, after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt. Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear how far they’ll go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others to change the status quo.
This cover is absolutely stunning and I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about Aisha Saeed’s writing, so I’m very excited about this book even though Middle Grade’s not my most read genre.
Have you read any books with a muslim protagonist? Do you have any of these books on your tbr as well?