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The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood
Contemporary fiction

The Bad Muslim Discount

by Syed M. Masood

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Quick take

Brimming with heart and biting humor, a novel chronicling the lives of two Muslim immigrant families in San Francisco.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance

    Romance

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_ForbiddenLove

    Forbidden love

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LOL

    LOL

Synopsis

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.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Bad Muslim Discount.
The Bad Muslim Discount

The Opening

Anvar

I killed Mikey.

It sounds worse than it actually was. You have to understand that I didn’t kill Mikey because I wanted to do it. I killed him because God told me to do it.

I don’t suppose that sounds much better.

It helps, I think, to know that Mikey was a goat. He had bored brown eyes with rectangular pupils that made him seem a little creepy. Loud and obnoxious, he shat tiny round pellets all over the cramped garage he shared with three of his brethren. He was probably the only one of them who had a name. I know my parents didn’t name their goats, and my brother, Aamir, said that naming animals was stupid.

Mikey was the only pet I ever had. He was mine for about a week. I fed him dry straw, brought him buckets of water and asked him if he really wanted to be slaughtered for the sake of Allah at the upcoming Eid because, quite frankly, that seemed like a poor career choice. He remained stoic in the face of his grim fate, at least so far as I could tell.

Eid al-Adha marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. The name of the celebration translates to “the Festival of Sacrifice.”

Yes, Islam has a marketing problem.

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Why I love it

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.

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Member ratings (2,792)

  • Leah S.

    Califon, NJ

    The cover (though beautiful) does nothing to convey the tone or message of the book. The story I found inside was not at all what I was anticipating. I enjoyed the writing style immensely. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Alyssa O.

    Bolivar, MO

    Funny, moving, filled with complex themes and brilliant prose, The Bad Muslim Discount is exquisite! Anvar and Azza's stories showcase the many nuances of religious experience and culture. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Jordan D.

    Midway, UT

    In turns sad and hopeful, this book is an incisive look at today’s America and a compassionate recounting of what it’s like to navigate it as a Muslim. I left believing there is beauty in the world.

  • Mikayla L.

    Bremerton, WA

    I expected a light read, and walked away with far more valuable thoughts. Beautiful work is often wrapped with hardship. This book is no exception. It also felt nice to be gifted with Masood’s humor.

  • Brooke H.

    Louisville, CO

    Was first drawn in by the cover, thinking it was a YA read. Pleasantly surprised that it turned out to be more than that! Loved how the characters’ stories intertwined +enjoyed the Muslim/American POV

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