counter create hit The Bad Muslim Discount - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

The Bad Muslim Discount

Availability: Ready to download

Following two families from Pakistan and Iraq in the 1990s to San Francisco in 2016, Bad Muslim Discount is a hilarious, timely, and provocative comic novel about being Muslim immigrants in modern America. For fans of Hanif Kureshi, Mira Jacob, and Mohammed Hanif. It is 1995, and Anvar Faris is a restless, rebellious, and sharp-tongued boy doing his best to grow up in Karac Following two families from Pakistan and Iraq in the 1990s to San Francisco in 2016, Bad Muslim Discount is a hilarious, timely, and provocative comic novel about being Muslim immigrants in modern America. For fans of Hanif Kureshi, Mira Jacob, and Mohammed Hanif. 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. The Bad Muslim Discount is an irreverent, dramatic, and often hysterically funny debut novel by an amazing new voice. With deep insight, warmth, and an irreverent sense of humor, Syed Masood examines quirky and intense familial relationships, arranged marriage, Islamic identity, and how to live together in modern America.


Compare

Following two families from Pakistan and Iraq in the 1990s to San Francisco in 2016, Bad Muslim Discount is a hilarious, timely, and provocative comic novel about being Muslim immigrants in modern America. For fans of Hanif Kureshi, Mira Jacob, and Mohammed Hanif. It is 1995, and Anvar Faris is a restless, rebellious, and sharp-tongued boy doing his best to grow up in Karac Following two families from Pakistan and Iraq in the 1990s to San Francisco in 2016, Bad Muslim Discount is a hilarious, timely, and provocative comic novel about being Muslim immigrants in modern America. For fans of Hanif Kureshi, Mira Jacob, and Mohammed Hanif. 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. The Bad Muslim Discount is an irreverent, dramatic, and often hysterically funny debut novel by an amazing new voice. With deep insight, warmth, and an irreverent sense of humor, Syed Masood examines quirky and intense familial relationships, arranged marriage, Islamic identity, and how to live together in modern America.

30 review for The Bad Muslim Discount

  1. 5 out of 5

    On the Same Page

    ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Update 10/03/2021: After listening to a podcast with the author (thanks to Kelsie), there's something I think I should clarify. The original review (which I haven't changed) implies that I think the characters' opinions reflect the author's. I don't necessarily believe that. Do I still think this book is a poor representation of Muslims? Absolutely. Regardless of whether this is meant as satire or not, meant for Ame ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Update 10/03/2021: After listening to a podcast with the author (thanks to Kelsie), there's something I think I should clarify. The original review (which I haven't changed) implies that I think the characters' opinions reflect the author's. I don't necessarily believe that. Do I still think this book is a poor representation of Muslims? Absolutely. Regardless of whether this is meant as satire or not, meant for American Muslims since it is #OwnVoices or not, a story that does its best to mock practicing Muslims at every turn is falling short. If the Muslim representation is meant to be diverse, it's very strange that this depiction of Muslims is so out of focus. ---------- I've been thinking about how to write this review since I finished the book, and even though I've started typing I still don't know what words to use. I've never given books the power to wound me, and this one is no exception, but to say that I was annoyed would be a massive understatement. Mostly, I was left feeling disappointed at another book that further promotes the same dangerous stereotypes about Muslims that led to Trump getting elected. The book follows Anvar and Azza, both Muslims who don't feel much of a connection to their faith (until it suits them to pray, but I'll come back to that later). Anvar comes from a Pakistani family that immigrated because his father was feeling uncomfortable with the Islamic fervor spreading in his country. Azza is Iraqi, and after her father gets captured and tortured, she no longer feels safe. When a young man offers her a way out of Iraq, she's more than willing to pay the price, but finds herself trapped after. In Anvar, she finds a sort of freedom, a choice she has made for herself and herself alone, and an escape from the controlling men in her life. I want to start by saying that the reason I'm frustrated with this book actually has nothing to do with Anvar and Azza. In fact, I really enjoyed Anvar's humor, and found myself often grinning at his jokes. Neither of them is religious, but that doesn't make the representation invalid. I recognize that not everyone connects to Islam the same way I do, and I respect that. Azza's struggles felt relatable in a way, and it's understandable that, when someone gets abused by a person who claims to be religious, it'll turn them away from that faith. Despite the fact that there is a diverse range of Muslim characters in this story, the core of it can be summed up as this: Muslims who practice their religion are potential terrorists, control freaks, abusers or righteous to the point of harming other people just for the sake of doing the right thing, while Muslims who don't have a strong connection to their faith, who don't practice their religion, don't pray, drink alcohol and have sex when they want to, those are the only "good" Muslims. This stereotypical idea of what it means to be Muslim is prevalent in the entire book. “If Abu Fahd had planned to kill Azza, it would’ve been because he thought God wanted him to do it. He wouldn’t have called it murder like you just did. He would’ve called it a sacrifice.” “It is incomprehensible.” You know who else this is incomprehensible to? Practicing Muslims. “Muslims— our generation, in the West— are like the Frankenstein monster. We’re stapled and glued together, part West, part East. A little bit of Muslim here, a little bit of skeptic there. We put ourselves together as best we can and that makes us, not pretty, of course, but unique.” Another fantastic generalization. According to this, it's impossible to be both modern and Muslim? Logical and Muslim? Smart and Muslim? I'm not sure what he's trying to say here. Anvar and Azza do remember they're Muslim when they're in trouble. Then they send up a quick prayer to God, and always make it a point to say, "well, that didn't help, go figure". Yeah, I think we get it by now, you think practicing Muslims are ridiculous. I don't think the world needs another book with the same old (wrong) stereotypes. How about something different for once? I could've been fine with this book if there had been a couple of Muslim characters who are religious but also just normal people. We exist, I promise. We're not some mythical unicorn. We're also not insane, or boring (because we believe in God, obviously, so we must be so tedious during conversations), or go about kicking people because they do things we don't agree with. Case in point: Hi, I'm Heena, and I'm a practicing Muslim. I pray five times a day. I fast every Ramadan. I wear a hijab. Nobody is forcing me to practice Islam. I have a Bachelor's degree and am a senior software developer in a predominately male field. My faith has never stopped me from living my life. And I do all this while--gasp--living in Europe. We exist.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Aimal (The Devils We Find)

    Starting to realize that every OwnVoices Muslim book I connect with will be shredded apart by more ~pious~ Muslims who think it’s bad rep. All I say is that one POV character in this book is someone who isn’t that great of a person, and his own bad experiences with religion lead him to judge anyone religious he meets. that’s not a good thing lol. That’s acknowledged in-text. He has to work on his own anti-religious prejudices, and him being unlikable is the whole point. The second POV character Starting to realize that every OwnVoices Muslim book I connect with will be shredded apart by more ~pious~ Muslims who think it’s bad rep. All I say is that one POV character in this book is someone who isn’t that great of a person, and his own bad experiences with religion lead him to judge anyone religious he meets. that’s not a good thing lol. That’s acknowledged in-text. He has to work on his own anti-religious prejudices, and him being unlikable is the whole point. The second POV character is a refugee through whom we see the hypocrisies of religious MEN. Fathers who claim to be righteous but abuse their children. Men who preach virtue but take advantage of women. That’s a story that many, many people unfortunately live and it’s one worth telling. Religion is a nuanced thing, and people experience it very differently depending on the cultures they grew up in, their experiences with religion and religious people. I, too, am a Muslim. I am also Pakistani. I connected deeply with this book despite finding both characters somewhat unrelatable, just because I thought it had valuable things to say about empathy and faith and morality. Anyone who waters it down to “all the practicing muslims in this are bad” has missed the point spectacularly.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Em Lost In Books

    3.5* I don't know why but prior to reading this I thought this would be a YA novel about teenagers having identity crisis. Somewhere in the middle I came back to check if it was YA as kids were grew pretty quickly and were doing adult stuff. And I got that it was not the YA story I was expecting. It was about grown ups having identity crisis, and the eternal dilemma of what is right and wrong. Story is about Anvar and Safwa/Azza, both immigrants in US. Former legally from Pakistan and the latter 3.5* I don't know why but prior to reading this I thought this would be a YA novel about teenagers having identity crisis. Somewhere in the middle I came back to check if it was YA as kids were grew pretty quickly and were doing adult stuff. And I got that it was not the YA story I was expecting. It was about grown ups having identity crisis, and the eternal dilemma of what is right and wrong. Story is about Anvar and Safwa/Azza, both immigrants in US. Former legally from Pakistan and the latter illegally from Iraq. While Anvar was mostly raised in US, was all about freedom and sure of himself, Safwa had spent her life in poverty and brutal beating from her father. Anvar was judgmental when it comes to religion and religious people, Safwa while religious was also aware of how people around her twisted religion to have their own way with women. There was noting new here but I really liked how it was told. Safwa's pain and suffering felt so real to me and then there was Anvar's father who had a small role but always brought smile to my face with his deed and love for Anvar. There is good and bad in the world but that doesn't mean that you have to turn bad because you were treated badly. You can always meet good and should always try to do good.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    The Bad Muslim Discount , the new novel by Syed M. Masood, is a funny, emotionally searing, and thought-provoking look at the experience of Muslim immigrants in the U.S. “There is no true measure of pain. Each hurt is unique, and even small wounds can bleed a lot.” Anvar Faris and his family live in Pakistan until fundamentalism becomes more prevalent and his father moves them to California. His devout mother, for whom Anvar’s sarcasm and nonchalance toward their religion is a constant source o The Bad Muslim Discount , the new novel by Syed M. Masood, is a funny, emotionally searing, and thought-provoking look at the experience of Muslim immigrants in the U.S. “There is no true measure of pain. Each hurt is unique, and even small wounds can bleed a lot.” Anvar Faris and his family live in Pakistan until fundamentalism becomes more prevalent and his father moves them to California. His devout mother, for whom Anvar’s sarcasm and nonchalance toward their religion is a constant source of frustration, and his older brother, who always does the right things, quickly adjust to life in America. Anvar decides he’ll do everything he can to be a bad Muslim. Meanwhile, in Iraq, Safwa, a young woman, is living a life full of grief, violence, guilt, and anger. When circumstances grow ever-more dangerous, she must make an untenable bargain in order to get her and her father to America. It is a necessary but dangerous agreement. When Anvar and Safwa’s lives intersect in the mid-2010s, both are struggling in different ways. But how they choose to survive—and depend on one another to do so—will have powerful repercussions on their lives and those they care about. This book was so powerful and unforgettable, an amazing look at relationships, family obligations, religion, prejudice, love, pain, and salvation. I was so moved at times and at others I laughed out loud. The characters Masood created, even the supporting characters, were so appealing and memorable. Thanks to my friend Louis, a fellow Bookstagrammer, for reading The Bad Muslim Discount with me. It’s always fun to discuss books with you, and to find one we both loved that didn’t depress us!! Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. Check out my list of the best books of the last decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jite

    First 5-star read of the year and I’m absolutely wowed! First off, I must confess that this book wasn’t what I expected. Yes, it had the dry wit and irreverent humour I anticipated given the cover and title of the book, but more than that it took me on a journey of questioning and faith and exploring your beliefs and the things you think you know, and the injustices and inevitabilities of life, and it was absolutely brilliant- from the writing to the storytelling. The book tells the story of 2 ce First 5-star read of the year and I’m absolutely wowed! First off, I must confess that this book wasn’t what I expected. Yes, it had the dry wit and irreverent humour I anticipated given the cover and title of the book, but more than that it took me on a journey of questioning and faith and exploring your beliefs and the things you think you know, and the injustices and inevitabilities of life, and it was absolutely brilliant- from the writing to the storytelling. The book tells the story of 2 central characters who are imperfect and broken in different ways. Anwar is an irreverent skeptic from a Muslim family. Born and raised in Pakistan, his clever humorous wit and irreverent questions about matters of faith were already a concern to his religious mother, long before he moved to America. Now a wise-cracking, chronically underachieving adult, he finds himself in Hafeez Bhatti’s rundown building as one of the philanthropists collection of bad Muslims a.k.a broken and imperfect people in need of help. There he meets Azza, an undocumented immigrant who shares his lack of ability to settle and find peace, and a history that is more devastatingly brutal than he can imagine. It’s incredibly difficult to summarize this book and the intersections of the characters and their story without giving it all away. This book examines themes of love, family and friendship in a way that is beautifully relatable, but also themes of religious faith, resilience, and fear in ways that any person of faith or lack thereof would find compellingly apt. The book is divided into parts which represent different timelines- from the mid 1990s in part 1 to 2016/2017 and the election of Donald Trump into office. This isn’t an especially political book, other than the way politics intersects with life, until the end when clearly during the 2016 election which happens near the end of the book, populist ideologies become a reality for the characters in a way. But even though Islamophobia is a minor theme in this book, this is not a book about that or about us vs them. It’s a book about people. The characters felt incredibly real and that verisimilitude, whilst emotionally engaging when reading Anvar’s sections, becomes almost brutal when reading Azza’s. And yet as emotionally-charged as this novel is, it’s perfectly balanced with Anvar’s dark sense of humor and Azza’s almost fatalistic sense of reality. This book is sad and painful, but you won’t be able to put it down. The language is beyond gorgeous, the insights eminently quoteworthy- I found myself highlighting large swathes of this book and its brilliant takes on faith and brotherhood, injustice and fear. I found Anvar to be an odd mix of bold irreverence and cautious fear. Overtly, this book feels like it is about being “good” vs being “bad” according to religious and cultural standards. But in reality, I felt like it was a book about meeting expectations the world has of you or you have of yourself, a book about struggling to fit in and feeling different, a book about self-sabotage and identity, a book about resilience and finding oneself. This book won’t be for everyone. If you’re conservative or a practicing Muslim, you might be offended by the protagonists’ irreverent viewpoints about various articles of faith as he is on his journey to come to terms with his faith, this might be one to avoid, you will probably be offended. Sometimes Anvar’s indictment of himself as a “bad Muslim” oddly feels like an indictment of “good Muslim’s” who don’t share his struggles with his faith, whom he judges as negatively as he perceives himself judged by them. I am a person of faith (Christ follower) and I know the feeling of feeling “a way” when it appears like someone is “being funny” about your beliefs and judging you for living according to your faith. The fact is not every book that questions faith can be for everyone- we are all at different points in our acceptance that someone questioning our beliefs doesn’t have to be blasphemous or doesn’t have to mean that we question our beliefs. Thank God that He is God and isn’t dependent on the doubts or casual words of human being and thank God that one’s faith doesn’t has to be dampened by the aspersions cast by others. For me as a Christian, even though this was clearly a book where Anvar’s (the main character’s) relationship with Islam was explored extensively as a major theme, I found his journey applicable and relatable as someone who also grew up in the Christian faith as a practicing Christian, having questions and still having faith but also trying to understand my own personal relationship with God not based on my family’s relationship or my Church’s sermons. And I think at its heart, for Anwar, that’s what this story is about. It’s about being a back-slidden person, about being a remedial person of faith, about trying to be better, and from Azza, it’s a book about this world draining the faith out of you but still finding the kernel of hope that perhaps all is not lost and there is still beauty and faith left. I think one of the reasons why I’m so in love with this book is because I love characters that are broken and imperfect, characters that have no reason to believe in anything anymore and yet are on a journey to decide for themselves what they believe. I’m a huge fan of the characters in this book, in my life I’ve known Anvars and Zuhas, maybe only 1 or 2 Azzas, and for that reason it felt like they were getting their story. I didn’t necessarily LOVE any of the characters, but I enjoyed reading them and thinking about them and spending time with them. I think this is a great book for all the black sheep, the questioners, the ones on their own journeys of faith and life, the ones who have been hurt, the ones healing, the families that can’t speak of the love they have for each other. I am so blown away by this book- I read it in less than 24 hours and literally couldn’t put it down needing to know what would happen next. I adored this but am looking forward to reading more own voices reviews to get other perspectives on this. For me, it was absolutely brilliant! Super grateful to Doubleday Books for a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    The Bad Muslim Discount is more substantial than its cover suggests. With insight and dry humor, Masood tracks the immigrant experience through the eyes of Anvar, who moved to California from Pakistan as a boy, and Safwa, who has just arrived in San Francisco from Baghdad. A surprising, enjoyable novel - at times profound, but never ponderous.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sahar

    The Bad Muslim Discount is yet another failed attempt at using the medium of contemporary literature to earnestly portray the lives of American Muslims—if you can even call the protagonists in this novel ‘Muslims’ in the first place (not speculating, their own admission). The dual perspective narrative centres on Anvar, a Pakistani boy and Safwa, an Iraqi girl, both of whom flee their respective home countries to find refuge in the States. Amusingly, what makes this book stand out amongst its re The Bad Muslim Discount is yet another failed attempt at using the medium of contemporary literature to earnestly portray the lives of American Muslims—if you can even call the protagonists in this novel ‘Muslims’ in the first place (not speculating, their own admission). The dual perspective narrative centres on Anvar, a Pakistani boy and Safwa, an Iraqi girl, both of whom flee their respective home countries to find refuge in the States. Amusingly, what makes this book stand out amongst its representation-boasting fraudulent brethren is the protagonists acute awareness and acceptance of being a ‘bad’ Muslim in the first instance, differing vastly from the ignorant/in-denial characters that populate other Muslim-centred novels. It’s almost as if the author was trying to break the literary fourth wall by using the veneer of first person self-awareness and humour to justify the delusory narrative and insulting portrayal of religion. I’ve personally never seen that done before, so kudos to for spicing things up and taking a new angle to slate orthodoxy. This feat is further evidenced by Anvar’s incessant hostile behaviour towards anyone deemed religious in any capacity. Is this unrealistic of someone who had an irreligious upbringing? No. But the excessive cynicism with which he approaches religion/practicing individuals comes across as nothing more than thinly-veiled projections of his own insecurities. It’s not even that the protagonists are the ones baselessly perceiving religious individuals in this book as toxic, manipulative, irrational and abusive for no reason—it’s because those religious side characters truly *are* all of the above. I’m not about to sit here and blindly defend such vile characters by virtue of them being practicing Muslims, but I find it flagrantly dishonest that not ONE of these so-called “religious” characters serves any function other than to ‘prove’ the protagonists poor stance on religion and it being the ultimate source of evil. This narrative is no different from right-wing media at this point, not least because the book counterproductively drives home the notion that Muslims that practice their faith in earnest are inherently evil and intolerant. It’s interesting. Anvar readily defends atheists, getting personally offended at a minor mockery of their “creed”, but when it comes to making an effort to understand his own beliefs (or lack thereof) to dissolve his constant mental conflict, he simply decides to put his intellect on hold, for cognitive reconciliation is just too much effort. We can break down this notion of religious people being evil further: Anvar’s mum is religious and toxic, his brother is performatively religious and manipulative, his religious MSA is mean for defending their deen (rapper btw), his girlfriend who later finds religion is suddenly unlikeable, the hijabi chick is judgemental for believing hijab is fardh, and all the masjid uncles are misogynistic and abusive. Contrastingly, every irreligious, liberal, Islam-loathing character is the exemplar of tolerance, kindness and love, which is obviously everything Islam and Muslims are not. E.g. 1 - girlfriend Zuha on the road to religiosity whilst still being with him: “She’d convinced Zuha that it was worthwhile to at least try to pray five times a day, which meant that whenever we managed to get a night together, an alarm went off at five or six in the morning for the predawn prayer. I was tempted to get up and pray myself a couple of times, if only to ask Allah to rain down misery, pestilence and maybe boils, if He was so inclined, onto Zuha’s religious friend for these ridiculously early mornings.” E.g. 2 - Safwa’s abuser being religious: “He was—no, he is a bad man. He looks nice and he talks nice, you know, and he acts religious, so Abu liked him.” (using religion to justify heinous acts). To reiterate, the author attempts to pitch Anvar’s lacklustre perception of organised religion as a deliberate, intentional reflection of cognitive dissonance and irreconcilable beliefs about God and/or religion, but that being said I utterly fail to buy into the fact that in big California he is unable to find ONE person in his vicinity that follows Islam like a normal person and doesn’t have an ISIS-fan boy (or girl 😳) condemn-the-entire-world-to-hell mentality. At least try to make your clever and charming on-par-with-neo-atheists-in-intellect protagonist a bit realistic. Being indifferent to religion is one thing, but being actively anti-religion (read: borderline Islamophobic) is simply not convincing of a character who bears little to no religious or spiritual trauma/abuse and simply decides to up and loathe religion one day by virtue of it preventing him from having fun. He also bizarrely compares himself to Lot’s wife: “I felt something like kinship with her then, that woman centuries removed from me, abandoning her city in distress, leaving her home to its perilous fate. How could she have been expected to resist a glance back, and why had her punishment, for so small a transgression, been so severe?” Now, let’s talk about Safwa. She lives in Iraq, her father is captured and horrifically tortured by American soldiers during the invasion of Iraq, her family is extremely poor and both her mother and siblings pass away, leaving Safwa with her traumatised, abusive father. She is exposed to another abusive man when they flee to Afghanistan and it is with this man that Safwa and her father flee to the States. Unlike Anvar, Safwa is a deeply emotionally traumatised and unstable individual and so her bleak outlook of life and poor perception of religion was indeed justified and realistic. That being said, I didn’t see the point of her character in the overall story, as it mainly focused on Anvar’s life struggles. When both protagonists’ paths eventually converge, it was a very lacklustre moment and Safwa’s subsequent actions with him were deeply unrealistic given her trauma, abuse and hatred of men. Safwa’s character didn’t really add to the story at large. “Because I am a bad person and a bad Muslim. I’d like to be worse.” - Safwa. Idk why but this made me laugh. If there is one thing I will the author credit for, it is that he has a knack for storytelling. Yes, the narrative was a pain and I didn’t like a single character (perhaps bar Hafeez Bhai), I couldn’t help but marvel at the quick wit of some of the characters. Though Anvar’s endless banter did get old, I actually enjoyed the conversations he had with other characters. I’m not sure whether to praise or criticise the clear distinction in tone and writing for each perspective, it was either intentionally done to represent the male/female traumatised/non-traumatised dichotomy or it’s just that the author doesn’t know how to write female characters and this just happened to play in his favour. 2/5 ⭐️⭐️ Here are some excerpts I liked: “Turned out that being with someone is an acquired skill. There is an art to it. Basically, you have to watch your partner take a chisel—or a war hammer, depending on the day—and chip away at the ideal version of them that you’ve created in your mind. The person you fall in love with is always slightly different from the person you need to stay in love with.” “For the first time in forever, my world began to get bigger again. How amazing a thing a book is. How wonderful a piece of paper and a pen. A lot of things about religion do not make sense to me, it is true, but I understand why, in that desert mountain cave, when the history of man was about to change, God’s first command to His last prophet was one simple word. Read.” “Young people are so silly. You think you know the whole world. You think you understand everything. The truth is that you read aloud the story of your life and don’t realize that it is in first person. Each and every one of you tells their own life story to the soul of the world, all the while thinking you are the only one with a story to tell.” “It’s like there is nothing good, nothing noble, nothing precious left. Everywhere I look there is only pain and struggle and just a shadow over everything. You should know that I never feel that way when I am with you. You’re the light of my world. You make the universe beautiful.” “We live on stolen land,” I finally said, “in a country built on slavery and reliant on the continued economic exploitation of other people. The oppressor always lives in fear of the oppressed. Americans have always been afraid—of those native to this continent, of Black people, of Japanese citizens they interned, and now of Muslims and immigrants. So the real question, I think, is who is next?”

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    4.5 Stars A dramatic reenactment of me while reading this book . . . . And now a confession. Per usual, I didn’t read the blurb before putting myself on the waiting list (like seven months before its pub date after being denied an ARC). I am a sucker for a cartoon cover, a good title and I just assumed this would be a romance . . . . In case you too are an idiot, let me tell you that it is not a Rom Com. Instead what we have are the life stories of Anvar and Safwa – who both immigrated to 4.5 Stars A dramatic reenactment of me while reading this book . . . . And now a confession. Per usual, I didn’t read the blurb before putting myself on the waiting list (like seven months before its pub date after being denied an ARC). I am a sucker for a cartoon cover, a good title and I just assumed this would be a romance . . . . In case you too are an idiot, let me tell you that it is not a Rom Com. Instead what we have are the life stories of Anvar and Safwa – who both immigrated to the United States. Anvar’s family was originally from Pakistan and decided to move to the U.S. when he was a child due to feeling the tide of the country was turning into one that was no longer safe. Safwa was born in Iraq and pretty much makes a deal with the devil to get herself and her father, a former Iraqi prisoner who appears to be back on the powers-that-be’s radar, out of the country. What follows is their stories – separately and eventually together when they find themselves living in the same apartment building which offers a “good Muslim discount.” Decades are covered and there are both laughter and tears within the pages. No punches are pulled when it comes to uncomfortable subject matter such as abuse, politics, religion, breaking of tradition, etc., but nothing comes off heavy-handed or preachy. I’m very thankful this was an “own voices” author because from what I can see there has already been backlash from readers not liking the way the Muslim religion was represented. As a white privileged middle-aged woman, I have no dog in that hunt – I simply want a good story. But as someone raised in a VERY devout Catholic family, I felt such a connection with Anvar who was not willing to go with the flow and pretend to be a believer simply to not ruffle any feathers. I thought this story was so well woven together and it will certainly earn all of the Stars from many. I’m deducting just a little bit because important details were sometimes glossed over – like how Anvar’s family became so settled and stable pretty much instantly upon their arrival and especially regarding exactly how Safwa made the trek from Mexico into the United States. I can only assume after American Dirt those pages were possibly put through the shredder in fear of riling the masses once again. Still, highly recommend this one and I’m surprised I’m the first of my friends that has read it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Zainab

    Based on the description of the book, the novel seemed to be about two immigrants coming to America with different backgrounds and trying to navigate their new identities and religion. It was far from that. The story follows Anvar and Azza, two immigrant Muslims. Anvar, a boy that comes from a Pakistani family that left Pakistan because of his father did not feel as though he had the freedom to do things that he enjoyed (playing music, movies, etc) without getting backlash from their community. Based on the description of the book, the novel seemed to be about two immigrants coming to America with different backgrounds and trying to navigate their new identities and religion. It was far from that. The story follows Anvar and Azza, two immigrant Muslims. Anvar, a boy that comes from a Pakistani family that left Pakistan because of his father did not feel as though he had the freedom to do things that he enjoyed (playing music, movies, etc) without getting backlash from their community. Azza grew up in war-torn Iraq, loses family members, and her father captured by US soldiers. She no longer feels safe in Iraq and finds a way out but at a price. The two end up meeting and Azza uses Anvar as a "savior" to get away from her life and the men that control it. I am disappointed by this book because of how it depicts different types of Muslims. Muslims who are religious, pray, or fast are shown as extremists, abusers (either mentally or physically, or disconnected from "regular" people. Those who don't follow their religion or do not have a strong connection to their faith are considered to be the heroes. The practicing Muslims that Anvar and Azza are surrounded by feel disconnected from them. Anvar's mom constantly compares him to his brother and is saying that he will go to hell. Azza's dad abuses her driving her away from her faith. It is upsetting to see that with Muslim "representation" there is also a lack of it. People are not two-dimensional, either just good or bad. The author paints the picture that even the Muslims that were born and raised in America are not "American" or "modern" enough. The main characters have no actual depth to them, even though they had difficulty finding their place, there is no development for either of them, okay fine maybe a .005 increase of growth. I didn't find either of them to be likable. They both struggle to even relate to people who are "in the middle" such as Anvar's dad or Zuha. The part I did like was the recognition of the hypocrisy of America, such as going to Iraq or even DHS getting involved. But some of the strong sentiments did not seem to fit in the story. Overall, I am disappointed by this book and still on the search for more books of accurate Muslim representation. A Place for Us is one of the few books that I found has an accurate representation.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    2.5 ⭐ I went into this blind. There were more politics than I care for. Two Muslims, one from Iraq and another from Pakistan came to America under different circumstances. I enjoy reading about different culture, beliefs, and tradition. There were some humor but those were only at the beginning. Parts of the book did leave a bitter taste which I will not go into. The writing was good and so were the voice narrators. At first I thought I would love it, but I didn't. 2.5 ⭐ I went into this blind. There were more politics than I care for. Two Muslims, one from Iraq and another from Pakistan came to America under different circumstances. I enjoy reading about different culture, beliefs, and tradition. There were some humor but those were only at the beginning. Parts of the book did leave a bitter taste which I will not go into. The writing was good and so were the voice narrators. At first I thought I would love it, but I didn't.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah at Sarah's Bookshelves

    [4.5 stars] This debut novel is a deeply layered story of two families, the Muslim faith (and struggling with it), being an immigrant in the U.S., discrimination against Muslims following 9/11, and fighting for the life that will make you happy...told in an irreverently humorous voice. Masood tackled so much in this story, but it felt totally organic and not cluttered at all. The humor in this story is subtle, snarky, and made my chuckle (the way I like my humor).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    The capricious landlord of a run-down apartment building in California’s Bay Area gives rent discounts to ‘bad Muslims’. This charming man observes the residents in his building and ‘nudges’ them ever so artfully to better life choices. There is wise-cracking, pun-prone Anvar Ferris who loves literature, but studied to be an attorney. He acted as the Defense Attorney for an alleged terrorist and failed to win the case. So—he has chosen to pursue more low-risk, and worse paying work. He immigrate The capricious landlord of a run-down apartment building in California’s Bay Area gives rent discounts to ‘bad Muslims’. This charming man observes the residents in his building and ‘nudges’ them ever so artfully to better life choices. There is wise-cracking, pun-prone Anvar Ferris who loves literature, but studied to be an attorney. He acted as the Defense Attorney for an alleged terrorist and failed to win the case. So—he has chosen to pursue more low-risk, and worse paying work. He immigrated from Pakistan with his family when his father decided that the surge in Fundamentalist restrictions there were too much. Safwa is also a ‘bad Muslim’. The Iraqi woman has suffered mightily from personal loss and living in a suffocating patriarchal culture. She does not feel supported by her Muslim faith. Indeed, she has suffered beatings from her father and has been promised in marriage to another toxic man. Masood weaves in a bit of philosophy, a bit of reflections on the classic immigrant story, a bit of familial angst, and a bit of the role faith plays in one’s life—all while adding just the right amount of humor. Enjoy this excellently written story.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katie Mac

    I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Admittedly, I was one of the many readers who went into this expecting something more light and humorous. This assumption was purely based on the cover (didn't listen to the old adage, apparently). While there's funny moments scattered throughout the book (particularly from Anvar, a former lawyer and one of the protagonists), Masood has crafted a deep, compelling, and often devastating story featuring voices that are I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Admittedly, I was one of the many readers who went into this expecting something more light and humorous. This assumption was purely based on the cover (didn't listen to the old adage, apparently). While there's funny moments scattered throughout the book (particularly from Anvar, a former lawyer and one of the protagonists), Masood has crafted a deep, compelling, and often devastating story featuring voices that are not traditionally heard. My heart broke repeatedly for Azza, who came to the US from Afghanistan with her abusive father and ill-intentioned "fiance." While Azza's strength is apparent in how she deals with the tragedies that are lobbed at her, it was hard not to compare her struggles to the lesser ones of Anvar, who came to the US from Pakistan when he was younger. (I guess that's the point, though.) All of this is a testament to a strong piece of #ownvoices writing in which Masood skillfully portrays the uniqueness within the Muslim community, highlighting bad Muslims, pious Muslims, and those in the middle. Without giving anything away, it's a fast-paced ride of a book toward the end.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Fanna

    April 6, 2020: Pakistani (ownvoices) & Iraqi immigrant, and Muslim representation (!!!) in a diverse desi community of those who left the Indian subcontinent. This is promising to be romantic, political and hilarious...which is the perfect recipe for me so y'all better pray for me to read this ASAP. April 6, 2020: Pakistani (ownvoices) & Iraqi immigrant, and Muslim representation (!!!) in a diverse desi community of those who left the Indian subcontinent. This is promising to be romantic, political and hilarious...which is the perfect recipe for me so y'all better pray for me to read this ASAP.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zoha

    I really wanted to like this book more than I actually did. For the most part, the two main characters’ complicated and more negative-leaning relationship with Islam was justified. I think most of us young Muslims living in the West know all too well what it’s like to deal with the gossiping aunties, the judgemental community, the lack of privacy and having all of your actions judged against some hypothetical standard of what it means to be a good Muslim - and from that perspective, Anvar’s appr I really wanted to like this book more than I actually did. For the most part, the two main characters’ complicated and more negative-leaning relationship with Islam was justified. I think most of us young Muslims living in the West know all too well what it’s like to deal with the gossiping aunties, the judgemental community, the lack of privacy and having all of your actions judged against some hypothetical standard of what it means to be a good Muslim - and from that perspective, Anvar’s apprehension with the Muslim community and resulting distance from Islam made sense. Similarly, the political, psychological and physical abuse that Azza faced - often at the hands of religious men - is unfortunately a sad reality for many Muslim women and enough to distance anyone from their faith. I also liked the discussions of rampant islamophobia in the west, as well as America’s role in particular in terrorism and accelerating war and violence in Muslim countries. All of this could have made for a really interesting and nuanced discussion on the hypocrisies surrounding Muslim culture, and how they go against the ideals Islam is meant to uphold. Instead, this book just decided to be hyper critical and judgemental of any character that was religious, immediately labelling them as extremist, backwards, abusive, or too conservative in some way. This was a huge missed opportunity to really explore the diversity within the Muslim community, including how individual Muslims explore and decide what their faith means to them and how they choose to practice it. The MSA at Anvar’s school could have been a way to show this, but instead it was completely dismissed as being full of hyper-judgemental conservatives. Similarly, Zuha’s sudden decision to become more religious was never properly explored, and we never got to really see the journey she went through or how she was able to connect to her faith on a personal level. All other Muslim characters were shown as being judgemental at best and horrible abusers / borderline terrorists at worst, and some of the plot points seemed to imply that many Muslims actually deserve to be labelled as terrorists. Apart from that, the plot was super messy and disjointed. Azza’s character was by far the most interesting - but you could really tell that it was written by a man. Aside from her war-torn and abusive past, she basically wasn’t given a personality - and her way to escape all that was through yet another man that she knew literally nothing about and had never even spoken to. Her relationship with Anvar was so sudden and out of nowhere and lacked any substance - and I had a lot of trouble believing that a woman who’d been abused would willingly seek out and repeatedly be alone with a male stranger. Anvar himself was meant to be quirky and witty and funny, but instead just came across as really irritating and pretentious - and some of the decisions he made were pretty inexcusable, especially given that he was a grown man in his 30s. I’m sure that a lot of Muslims living in the West will be able to relate to this book, and I am glad that at least more Own Voices Muslim books are being written to reflect the diversity within our stories. I just wish this book had gone a bit deeper, rather than giving such a one-sided perspective reinforcing already existing harmful stereotypes. Ultimately, instead of giving the message that we're all flawed human beings, or that there’s no “right” or objectively “good” way to be Muslim, books like this seem to say it’s okay to be Muslim - but only if you’re “modern” and don’t actually practice, and don’t go against the Western norm in any way. Otherwise, you’re bound to be an abuser and basically a terrorist. An alternative to this book that I would recommend is A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, which remains the most nuanced discussion on Islam and Muslim culture that I’ve read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Monte Price

    I didn't quite know what to expect when I checked this out. I'd heard a passing description, or maybe just seen the cover on a list of books somewhere. Whatever it was I immediately asked my local library to pick up a copy and that was one of the best decisions I made this year. The stories of Anvar and Safwa intertwined in the messiest and most unexpected of ways that I was always eager to return to their world. I don't think that there's any way to explain what happens in this book without rui I didn't quite know what to expect when I checked this out. I'd heard a passing description, or maybe just seen the cover on a list of books somewhere. Whatever it was I immediately asked my local library to pick up a copy and that was one of the best decisions I made this year. The stories of Anvar and Safwa intertwined in the messiest and most unexpected of ways that I was always eager to return to their world. I don't think that there's any way to explain what happens in this book without ruining the journey, and that's part of what made this book so good in my eyes. Just know that the writing was moving at times, something that I hadn't expected and often times I found myself upset that I was reading a copy from the library and not able to annotate in the way that I might've done if I was reading from a book I owned. I'm not sure it's the book for everyone, or even if I'd want to recommend it to most people. But if you're curious I think it's worth a shot and I feel like more likely than not you'll find something to enjoy about it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    I will start by saying that I am not a Muslim, a Pakistani, or an Iraqi; I found this to be a challenging read because of that. This may also be a better book for those who aren't Republicans! I found that there was absolutely nothing at all humorous about this book and the synopsis was very misleading. This book deals with many issues that Muslims deal with in their own countries -then it speaks of how certain Muslims are dealt with in the USA. I honestly did not like any of the characters except I will start by saying that I am not a Muslim, a Pakistani, or an Iraqi; I found this to be a challenging read because of that. This may also be a better book for those who aren't Republicans! I found that there was absolutely nothing at all humorous about this book and the synopsis was very misleading. This book deals with many issues that Muslims deal with in their own countries -then it speaks of how certain Muslims are dealt with in the USA. I honestly did not like any of the characters except for perhaps a few of the secondary characters. I tried to feel empathy or sympathy, especially with Azz/Safwa, but I just couldn't. Then I found this quote: Azza/Safwa- "But you Americans never think much about who may get hurt, as long as you get what you want." and found myself liking her even less since that is what she had been doing throughout this whole book. I did learn a lot from this book, and I was curious enough to see how it ended, so that is what kept me from giving it a two-star review. *ARC supplied by the publisher and author.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    The Bad Muslim Discount was a book I didn't know I had been waiting for. Following Anvar, whose family leaves Pakistan for California when he is a child, and Azza, who flees Iraq for Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and then enters America illegally as a young woman, this novel deftly examines two sides of the Muslim faith. Centered around the metaphor of life as a checkers game, both protagonists learn that there is no move without a counter-move, and no decision without repercussions. Written with al The Bad Muslim Discount was a book I didn't know I had been waiting for. Following Anvar, whose family leaves Pakistan for California when he is a child, and Azza, who flees Iraq for Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and then enters America illegally as a young woman, this novel deftly examines two sides of the Muslim faith. Centered around the metaphor of life as a checkers game, both protagonists learn that there is no move without a counter-move, and no decision without repercussions. Written with almost lyrical prose, this novel kept me engaged and engrossed from the first moment. Author Masood focuses tightly on the character development of Anvar and Azza, but includes enough other supporting cast members to round out the storyline and help the reader empathize with the protagonists.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Liz Hein

    4.5 stars! This incredibly layered story read both like a Shakespearean comedy and tragedy simultaneously. I could not put it down.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Noodle

    I loved this book. It so perfectly described so many of the feelings and thoughts as an American (or in my case, Canadian) from a Pakistani/Muslim household that I have had. Ofcourse it wasn’t perfect, and I read a bunch of other peoples reviews who didn’t enjoy this book as much or the portrayal of other Muslim practicing characters. For me though, I related hardcore to the main character and his relationship with faith and family and life, etc. The plot was secondary to me personally (mainly t I loved this book. It so perfectly described so many of the feelings and thoughts as an American (or in my case, Canadian) from a Pakistani/Muslim household that I have had. Ofcourse it wasn’t perfect, and I read a bunch of other peoples reviews who didn’t enjoy this book as much or the portrayal of other Muslim practicing characters. For me though, I related hardcore to the main character and his relationship with faith and family and life, etc. The plot was secondary to me personally (mainly the girls side lols 🤷🏻‍♀️) but I think it was also because Anwar was Pakistani like me and I just understood his views and where he was coming from, as problematic as they might be, especially for people who are more religious than me. The following is a quote that was something the main guy said and it really struck out to me: “Muslims - our generation in the west - are like the Frankenstein monster. We’re stapled and glued together. Part west. Part east. A little bit of Muslim here, a little bit of skeptic there. We put ourselves together as best we can, and that makes us not pretty, but unique. Then we spend the rest of our lives looking for a mate. Someone who’s like us. Except there is no one like us. And we did that to ourselves.” Also this quote I love because I always find names so powerful and love to ask people where there name comes from/the stories behind it/etc. I also think of my own name, how my parents didn’t really choose it themselves, how many problems I had with bullying when I was younger due to my name, how my name means unique (my name is Nudrat, an Urdu name), how if I’ve measure up to that name, etc. “I’d been taught that names have power. The prophet said that. There is destiny in a name. It isn’t a small thing to pick one.”

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jordyn

    This book follows Anvar and Safwa, both separately and when their world’s collide by chance. Anvar considers and takes pride in his “bad Muslim” status, always trying to other and step away from his family’s grasp when they were in Pakistan and even more as they move to San Francisco. Then, there’s Safwa, who we first see Baghdad, suffocating by the war torn city and by her conservative father, while trying to fill the role that has been decided for her...and then she makes the dangerous journey This book follows Anvar and Safwa, both separately and when their world’s collide by chance. Anvar considers and takes pride in his “bad Muslim” status, always trying to other and step away from his family’s grasp when they were in Pakistan and even more as they move to San Francisco. Then, there’s Safwa, who we first see Baghdad, suffocating by the war torn city and by her conservative father, while trying to fill the role that has been decided for her...and then she makes the dangerous journey to the US. This book talked about immigration (both legal and not), the complexity of one’s relationship to religion, finding yourself and your place in the world, relationships and the complexity of them when it comes to, both, familial and romantic. I loved this book. I loved the writing. I loved how this author captured these characters, their relationships with people and their faith or lack thereof. I loved how he intertwined humor and sadness and happiness and tough topics all seamlessly together. I loved the authenticity and how much I FELT for these characters. I loved learning more about another culture and peoples experiences without feeling like I was learning in the moment. I loved the messages interwoven in the story of empathy, and understanding, and love, and change, and so much more. I love how the author made my heart connect to the words on the paper and made me want to both savor every sentence but also devour the book whole. I could talk about this book all day...but, here is ONE of my favorite quotes from the zillion I wrote down that isn’t too long: “Remember to never take more from the world than you can give back to it.” Thank you so much @doubledaybooks for this #gifted copy this was definitely my favorite read of January and will probably remain one of my favorites of the year. ⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️ Trigger warnings: abuse, islamophobia, religious bigotry, non consensual sex, minor mentions of trump election 2016, mentions of torture ⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️

  22. 4 out of 5

    Charisma D

    To think that this book will probably be overlooked because of its cover... BUT, like they say, don’t judge a book by its cover. This book was everything I hoped it would be, and more. Masood truly showed the difference between being Muslim from South Asia and being a Muslim American. I really learned so much from this book from verses from the Quran, to how life was demonstrated in the Middle East during the time Americans began invading there countries to how a Muslim looks at the world compar To think that this book will probably be overlooked because of its cover... BUT, like they say, don’t judge a book by its cover. This book was everything I hoped it would be, and more. Masood truly showed the difference between being Muslim from South Asia and being a Muslim American. I really learned so much from this book from verses from the Quran, to how life was demonstrated in the Middle East during the time Americans began invading there countries to how a Muslim looks at the world compared to a Muslim American and there world views. This is not a light hearted read and it goes to show how truly talented Masood is. He has a great eye for detail and truly understands the importance of explaining his culture and religion to readers in a most pleasant way. This is not a book to try and skim through nor is it a book that you can become easily distracted with. There is some satire with one of the MCs and it does lighten the mood up a bit but it just goes to show the difference between him and devoted Muslims. I loved how it showed in the end, what the book truly is about is how even though Allah kept repeating how everyone must do the right thing, one never knows what the right thing truly is. The world is simply not black and white. Every action has an equal or opposite reaction. This novel tore through all my emotions and truly left my heart sad but filled with hope. It is okay to read a heavy book and still fall in love with it and its purpose, its education and its message. Thank you to double day books for this gifted copy in an exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susie | Novel Visits

    Yes, everything you’ve heard about 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐁𝐀𝐃 𝐌𝐔𝐒𝐋𝐈𝐌 𝐃𝐈𝐒𝐂𝐎𝐔𝐍𝐓 by Syed M. Masood IS true! So let’s break it down.⁣ ⁣ It’s an unexpected take on the immigrant experience. True, this story features two very different Muslim families who immigrate to the U.S., one from Pakistan, the other from Iraq. The son of one, Anvar, and the daughter of another, Azza, are the cornerstones of Masood’s tale.⁣ ⁣ It’s full of irreverent humor. Yes, and in the best possible way. The author is indiscriminate in who and what Yes, everything you’ve heard about 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐁𝐀𝐃 𝐌𝐔𝐒𝐋𝐈𝐌 𝐃𝐈𝐒𝐂𝐎𝐔𝐍𝐓 by Syed M. Masood IS true! So let’s break it down.⁣ ⁣ It’s an unexpected take on the immigrant experience. True, this story features two very different Muslim families who immigrate to the U.S., one from Pakistan, the other from Iraq. The son of one, Anvar, and the daughter of another, Azza, are the cornerstones of Masood’s tale.⁣ ⁣ It’s full of irreverent humor. Yes, and in the best possible way. The author is indiscriminate in who and what he pokes fun at: Muslims, non-Muslims, stereotypes of both, politics, parenting, relationships. It was all fair game, but handled with a deft touch that never felt mean and often had me laughing out loud.⁣ ⁣ It’s a story of relationships. Above all else this is true. I loved the relationships in Anvar’s life. His connections to his grandmother and father were especially touching, and even his more tenuous relationships with his older brother and mother were full of heart. Azza’s relationships were not as simple, and as such gave real depth to this story.⁣ ⁣ Its writing is stellar. Without a doubt Masood’s brilliant storytelling made 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘉𝘢𝘥 𝘔𝘶𝘴𝘭𝘪𝘮 𝘋𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵 one of my top books so far this year. Packed with humor, love, religion, family, and politics, in lesser hands this could have been too much, but Masood wove it all together brilliantly. I flew through the pages and was left wanting more. I now have only one question. When will his next book be coming out?

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This was a selection for my IRL book club that I'm pretty sure I never would have picked up on my own, but I'm glad I did. If nothing else, I've discovered that Syed Masood has a fantastic way with words. I don't usually care about the actual writing in books very much; I prefer for it to fade into the background, but here he's just so smart! And clever and funny. I wish I had liked the story he was telling more. This is described as a comic novel, but I really don't think I would describe it tha This was a selection for my IRL book club that I'm pretty sure I never would have picked up on my own, but I'm glad I did. If nothing else, I've discovered that Syed Masood has a fantastic way with words. I don't usually care about the actual writing in books very much; I prefer for it to fade into the background, but here he's just so smart! And clever and funny. I wish I had liked the story he was telling more. This is described as a comic novel, but I really don't think I would describe it that way. It is funny in places because that's just Masood's style, but it's also very, very serious and deals with heavy, depressing topics. Our two main characters, Azza and Anvar are from immigrant families (Pakistan and Iraq) and the book explores their pre-immigration life, and then how it is to fit into the U.S. as both part of the larger country and also as part of a community of immigrant Muslims. The book has a nuanced take on culture and religion, and you can tell that a lot of Anvar's feelings come from the author's personal experience. In terms of style, this is actually really great for lit-fic. So unpretentious and yet smart, so full of feeling and great characters, yet it has a considered, thoughtful way of looking at the world. I just had a really hard time getting through it after about the first 100 pages, mostly because Azza's story is so depressing (though it does end on an upbeat note). I will be watching for this author in the future. [3.5 stars]

  25. 4 out of 5

    Miya

    This was such an interesting book. First of all the cover is crazy beautiful. Second, the story is was actually surprising to me. I thought it was going to be a bit of a romcom, but it was much more complex. I love the diversity and own voice writing. I was hooked from the beginning. All the feels in this one. Laughs and cringes. Racism and family pressure mixed with immigration to America...adding in friendship and finding one's own way. All around a good book. I can see how some could possibly This was such an interesting book. First of all the cover is crazy beautiful. Second, the story is was actually surprising to me. I thought it was going to be a bit of a romcom, but it was much more complex. I love the diversity and own voice writing. I was hooked from the beginning. All the feels in this one. Laughs and cringes. Racism and family pressure mixed with immigration to America...adding in friendship and finding one's own way. All around a good book. I can see how some could possibly be offended by some things, but I think it's important to be open to expanding our hearts and minds.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mina

    No! Just NO!!!! This is just definitely not it. The representation of Muslims here is just seriously so offputting my goodness! I just can't. No! Just NO!!!! This is just definitely not it. The representation of Muslims here is just seriously so offputting my goodness! I just can't.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Moore

    Thank you NetGalley, Doubleday Books, and Syed M. Masood for the opportunity to review this book! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. In this story, we follow two families who immigrate to the United States from Pakistan and Iraq throughout the 90's all the way until 2016. The main character, Anvar, constantly finds himself in the shadow of his seemingly perfect older brother. As a result, Thank you NetGalley, Doubleday Books, and Syed M. Masood for the opportunity to review this book! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. In this story, we follow two families who immigrate to the United States from Pakistan and Iraq throughout the 90's all the way until 2016. The main character, Anvar, constantly finds himself in the shadow of his seemingly perfect older brother. As a result, he is cynical about his life's current circumstances but is soon thrown into the lives of two women with different backgrounds and personalities. He realizes he will have to develop very different emotional repertoires to understand each woman. I loved getting to learn more about different cultures and what it must have felt like to leave everything behind and move to a place so different from your homeland. This book has so much depth and emotion, I absolutely loved it! There are funny parts, violent parts, emotional parts, all melding together to create an excellent book. I highly recommend giving this book a try if you like learning about immigration, Muslim culture, living in the shadow of your siblings, and love.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Robert Blumenthal

    What a wonderful novel this was. It concerns two individuals, one male growing up in Pakistan and one female growing up in Iraq. They both come to America and the book chronicles their experiences in alternating chapters. Anvar is trying to live his life away from the Conservative religious family that he was born into. He does not believe in God or most of the creeds from the Muslim religion, which is not very welcome by his domineering mother. He becomes a lawyer, but is rather unmotivated in What a wonderful novel this was. It concerns two individuals, one male growing up in Pakistan and one female growing up in Iraq. They both come to America and the book chronicles their experiences in alternating chapters. Anvar is trying to live his life away from the Conservative religious family that he was born into. He does not believe in God or most of the creeds from the Muslim religion, which is not very welcome by his domineering mother. He becomes a lawyer, but is rather unmotivated in his life. Safwa is growing up during the Iraq War of the 2000s, and it becomes prudent for her Father and herself to escape. They do so with the help of a somewhat seedy individual who clearly cannot be trusted. They come to America and end up at the same apartment complex in San Francisco where Anvar is residing. Anvar becomes involved with an Iranian American woman and it ends because of religious differences. Later he starts a sexual but not romantic relationship with Azza, the name by which Safwa is now called. The plot thickens and involves various romantic and dangerous happenings, and everything is sewn up nicely in the end. There is much of the Muslim experience in the US, and the fear that comes with the election of Donald Trump as President. The thing I liked most about this novel was the author's sense of humor. Anvar uses humor in pretty much all his endeavors, and I found myself laughing aloud while reading about his exploits. There are also some really tender moments and the depictions of the various aspects of Islam and their role in the American landscape were very well done here as well.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Attack Salmon

    3 stars for enjoyment and 1 star for the MC The Bad Muslim Discount wasn't something I usually pick up but I am glad I did. Because this one was just different. I didn't expect a Muslim author could write an MC like that and the author didn't paint him as a bad person either. Only someone who isn't religious and actually question his religion. Anvar is pretty fun to read about and I like a character who isn't afraid to speak his mind and question authority. I didn't read the blurb very closely bu 3 stars for enjoyment and 1 star for the MC The Bad Muslim Discount wasn't something I usually pick up but I am glad I did. Because this one was just different. I didn't expect a Muslim author could write an MC like that and the author didn't paint him as a bad person either. Only someone who isn't religious and actually question his religion. Anvar is pretty fun to read about and I like a character who isn't afraid to speak his mind and question authority. I didn't read the blurb very closely but after reading through 30% of it I thought it would be about dysfunctional family and immigrant experience. Oh boy was I wrong, its actually more than that, it talks about political stuff and its wasn't the kind of book to shove their one side opinion up your ass (which POC books tends to do from the few I have read) But this book actually presents 2 side of the argument and new perspectives. Take for example the part where Jason and Anvar will discussing about who to vote for. Anvar is brown and muslim so of course he would be somewhat afraid of the muslim ban but instead he tell Jason to listen to both sides of the argument and make his judgement. I mean thats what I like most about this book and its neutral stance and telling people to look at either side of the argument and it also didn't scream about white people. The conversation between the characters are overly philosophical at times but well its expected and its wisdom to be ponder about Azza was nice to read about too but I like Anvar the most.

  30. 5 out of 5

    erin

    I'm so sad that I didn't love this book. I am such a fan of this author's other books and have read incredible reviews of people who truly connected with this novel. Unfortunately, I couldn't get into it, the characters and the plot just confused me more as I went on. Please don't be swayed negatively towards this book by my review, sooo many individuals adored it. I'm so sad that I didn't love this book. I am such a fan of this author's other books and have read incredible reviews of people who truly connected with this novel. Unfortunately, I couldn't get into it, the characters and the plot just confused me more as I went on. Please don't be swayed negatively towards this book by my review, sooo many individuals adored it.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.