book reviews

Salaam, With Love by Sara Sheraf Beg

Pub Date: January 4th, 2022

Rating: 4.5/5

I went into this cautiously optimistic and was pleasantly surprised! As a Muslim reader it’s always a little difficult to read books with Muslims that might practice faith differently than I do which generally sets me up for disappointment. That being said, the only real thing that makes me not like the representation is if the book contributes to the rhetoric that Muslims who practice differently (or stricter) aren’t great or if it fits into the whole “I’m not like other Muslims” trope.

So this book passed that test because this book really explored GROWTH in faith. This is one of the rare non hijabi books that shows that the hijab isn’t what makes a woman more Muslim than another. I loved seeing Dua strive to grow in her faith and get closer to her family and her passions. I absolutely adored seeing bits and pieces of the Quran or hadith in the book. It was so seamless and natural and unapologetic!

My actual rating would probably be 4.5 just because there were moments that took me out of the story like the fact that they would listen to music during Ramadan. And while I know every Muslim practices differently, it felt strange to have it brought up so many times, especially because music isn’t really allowed in Islam (and while I still struggle with that aspect of my faith I do tend to try and avoid it especially during Ramadan). However, the band name Sheikh Rattle and Roll was iconic and I think it was really cool to see Muslim kids sing nasheeds! So that specific portion is just a me thing and not something that would deter me from recommending the book, really.

I also think the romance aspect was so well done especially because it wasn’t really a traditional romance at all. We actually got to see two types of romance in the book, and they were both halal. I loved that the book discussed interracial marriages as well! This book also had such lovely family and friendship relationships! The dynamics between the individual characters were really well done and by the end of it it almost felt like I was a part of the big family too!

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it! Content warnings for racism and Islamophobia, and gun violence!

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