Brimming with heart and biting humor, a novel chronicling the lives of two Muslim immigrant families in San Francisco.
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BOTM Editorial Team
Readers who dip into the YA world may recognize the name of Syed M. Masood, author of a young adult rom-com that came out last year. Now Masood is quickly back with his adult debut: the charming, serious, hotly anticipated book, The Bad Muslim Discount.
This is a story that follows two young people from their preteen years to adulthood. Anvar, a son of Muslim-American immigrants (and a self-titled “Bad Muslim”), is a young man doing his best to juggle classic coming-of-age issues (girls, school, etc.) with his parent’s expectations. Azza, a young woman growing up in Baghdad, is facing her own trials: a strict father, a bad suitor, and their eventual move to the United States. Soon their paths cross, which is when the book—already a page-turner—really takes off.
Emotionally insightful, occasionally ironic, and full of warmth for its characters, Masood tells two stories in parallel while also crafting a sharply observed narrative about Islamophobia, sexism, and violence. The result is a book about love, identity, and family that is honest, incisive, and unforgettable.
It is 1995, and Anvar Faris is a restless, rebellious, and sharp-tongued boy doing his best to grow up in Karachi, Pakistan. As fundamentalists in the government become increasingly strident and the zealots next door start roaming the streets in gangs to help make Islam great again, his family decides, not quite unanimously, to start life over in California. The irony is not lost on Anvar that in America, his deeply devout mother and his model-Muslim brother are the ones who fit right in with the tightly knit and gossipy Desi community. Anvar wants more.
At the same time, thousands of miles away, Safwa, a young girl suffocating in war-torn Baghdad with her grief-stricken, conservative father will find a very different and far more dangerous path to America. These two narratives are intrinsically linked, and when their worlds come together, the fates of two remarkably different people intertwine and set off a series of events that rock their whole community to its core.