In a world where many are discriminated against for their faith, these books shine an important light into the lives of Muslim teens from a variety of background and walks of life. From rom-coms to tense thrillers, these must-read books feature protagonists who are some of our all-time faves! How many of these protagonists have you met?
Muslim Protagonists You’ll Fall in Love With
1. Najwa Bakri – Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf
All’s fair in love and Scrabble! When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend’s death, it’s with the intention to heal and move on with her life. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to choose the very same competition where said best friend, Trina Low, died. It might be even though Najwa’s trying to change, she’s not ready to give up Trina just yet. As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to save Trina’s memory, and save herself.
2. Janna Yusuf – Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
Saints and Misfits follows Janna, an Arab Indian-American hijabi teen whose Indian father leads a secular life while her Egyptian mother continues to be a practicing Muslim. Janna thinks of people in three different categories in her world, saints, misfits, and monsters, and she places herself and Jeremy, a non-muslim jock, firmly in the misfits category. Janna thinks she and Jeremy are from two different worlds, but the old adage “opposites attract” can be very true! Follow along with more of Janna’s story in the sequel, Misfit in Love!
3. Zayneb Malik and Adam Chen – Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali
Love from A to Z centers around not one but two muslim protagonists! Written from both Zayneb and Adam’s points of view, this story highlights their different experiences being muslim. Zayneb has experienced Islamophobia, and Adam hasn’t, but their differences pull them together and they help each other to grow. Stay tuned for the sequel to this heartwarming romance, Love from Mecca to Medina, coming this fall!
4. Melati Ahmad – The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
Melati Ahmad looks like your typical movie-going, Beatles-obsessed sixteen-year-old in 1969. Unlike most other sixteen-year-olds though, Mel also believes that she harbors a djinn inside her, one who threatens her with horrific images of her mother’s death unless she adheres to an elaborate ritual of counting and tapping to keep him satisfied. She faces a demon daily, one we now call OCD, but when the historic Malaysian race riots begin, her challenges are multiplied.
5. In a Perfect World by Trish Dollar – Adam Elhadad
When Caroline, a white Catholic teen from Ohio, is whisked away to Cairo, Egypt, against her wishes for summer break AND her senior year, she’s thrust into the unknown and facing serious homesickness. All seems to be lost until she meets Adam, a charming, unpredictable boy, who shows her a Cairo beyond stereotypes: not just pyramids, but churches, jerk chicken, and Egyptian reggae. As Adam helps her begin to adapt to Egyptian and Muslim customs, their relationship quickly begins to grow.