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S.K. Ali Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Saints and Misfits (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Love from A to Z (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

S.K. Ali is a critically acclaimed novelist from Toronto, Canada, who is well known for writing children’s books, young adult, and contemporary stories. She is particularly popular for writing her first novel called Saints and Misfits. This novel was a finalist for the 2018 William C Morris Award from the Library Association of America. Author Ali was highly praised for her excellent portrayal of the life of an unapologetic teen from the Muslim-American background. Ali’s first book has featured on a few bestselling lists of 2017’s Best Teen Novels. It has also appeared on top books’ lists of Kirkus Reviews, NY Public Library, and Entertainment Weekly. The book was also a long-list title of 2018 CBC Canada Reads and has featured in the Toronto Star, Salon, The Next Chapter, Globe & Mill, Huffington Post, Bustle, The Morning Show, NBC News, The Social, and several other media of North America.

Author Ali was born as Sajidah Ali in South India. In addition to writing stories on part time basis, Ali works as a full time teacher. She is happily married and resides in Toronto, where she is employed as a teacher. She is quite famous for her portrayal of Muslim life and culture in her writings. Ali belongs to a family full of Muslim scholars. The members of her family are consistently featured in the list of the World’s top 500 Most Influential Muslims. Ali’s insight into the culture of Muslims is far-reaching and personal. She is a teenage’s daughter’s mother herself and seeing her daughter grow over the years served as an inspiration for her first book. She has wonderfully described a young lady’s exploration of her identity through family, faith, and friendship. Author Ali’s description of the teenage character is considered nuanced and beautiful by many critics. Prior to starting her career in the teaching field, and later in the world of writing & publishing, author Ali obtained a Creative Writing degree from the York University. She is known to have written about the life of Muslims for a number of outlets such as NBC News, Toronto Star, etc. Ali has finished writing her second book called Love From A to Z and is in the process of getting it published. She is expected to publish her second novel somewhere in May 2019. Simon Schuster has obtained the rights of publishing the book. This book describes the story about discovering love in an environment filled with Islamophobia.

In addition to writing the two novels, author Ali has co-written a picture book about the first-day hijabs. This picture book is also expected to come out next year. Besides these, Ali has some other books that are yet to be announced for publication. The very first complete story penned by Ali was known as Sweet Calvin. This story contained the main primary character as a child arriving from Australia, who gets bitten by a mouse and starts committing murders. This story had become a great hit in her 7th grade class. Ali was just 11 years old at that time and had made up her mind to take up novel writing as a career after growing up. Ali says that she was much into telling stories that she did not wait much after passing from high school and went straight for a degree in Creative Writing. After being born in India, Ali accompanied her parents as they shifted to Canada. She still remembers the beautiful, lush, and idyllic surroundings of her birthplace. Ali likes to consider her stories as stitching together of threads in the lives of people that lead to the joyful moments. Other than English, Ali has a fluency in French too, as she learned the language in school. Whenever Ali is not busy with her writing works, she likes to spend time with her family in Toronto. She is fond of pet animals and has a cat called Yeti.

The debut book written by author S.K. Ali is entitled ‘Saints and Misfits’. It was released by the Salaam Reads in 2017. In this book, Ali has featured the chief characters as Janna, Jeremy, Muhammad, Farooq, etc. At the book’s start, Ali has mentioned three kinds of people, Saints, Misfits, and Monsters. She has described the saints as those people who helps to make the world a better place. Such people may be around us, but we tend to oversee them. Misfits are those people who don’t seem to belong. They appear to be different kinds of people stuck in unwanted surroundings. The third category of people are the monsters, who wear saint masks and do evil deeds. Janna is introduced as an Egyptian hijabi girl living in the United States. She encounters regular day-to-day issues encountered by teenagers. But, as she is a Muslim, Janna has to go through some additional issues as well. She is often criticized for her Muslim background.

Janna has an Egyptian mother and an Indian Father, who are divorced. It adversely affects Janna and her brother. She is trying to deal with the trauma of attempted rape on her by Farooq. Janna cannot believe Farooq would turn out to be such an evil because he was considered a pious boy. Farooq has memorized the whole Quran and has the image of a respectful man. He stalks Janna for a long time and keeps a close watch on her actions. He doesn’t appreciate it when Janna tries to become friendly with a boy outside the community. Also, he tries to harass Janna with his mere presence. She thinks of letting others know about the real nature of Farooq, but fears that no one will believe her words. So, Janna is left with no other option, but carrying with the shame.

Janna loves the stories of Flannery O’Connor because she loves the fact that she fights monsters and serves justice. Throughout the book, it is seen that Janna goes through a number of difficult situations. She even starts getting second thoughts about wearing the hijab. This novel captures the elements of humanity in the realistic activities very well. The story described by Ali weaves general wisdom in different forms. The way author Ali has depicted the mixture of characters seems to be the strongest part of this novel. Everything characters appear like it has something unique to offer. The book contains many powerful scenes that the readers enjoyed very much. Author Ali was praised for portraying the difficulties faced by Muslims on a daily basis, especially the young girls. Through this book, Ali has tried to show a mirror to the society and explain its old beliefs and orthodox thinking affect its people.

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