Guest Posts

Guest Post: Upcoming Muslim YA on Farah Naz Rishi’s TBR

Farah Naz Rishi has written some of my favorite recent YAs. Whether it be SF – I Hope You Get This Message – or Contemporary – It All Comes Back to You – I knew I wanted to collaborate on something. Then when Farah Naz Rishi talked about wanting to do a post about upcoming YA releases with Muslim characters, I was sold!!

It All Comes Back to You

After Kiran Noorani’s mom died, Kiran vowed to keep her dad and sister, Amira, close–to keep her family together. But when Amira announces that she’s dating someone, Kiran’s world is turned upside down.

Deen Malik is thrilled that his brother, Faisal, has found a great girlfriend. Maybe a new love will give Faisal a new lease on life, and Deen can stop feeling guilty for the reason that Faisal needs a do-over in the first place.

When the families meet, Deen and Kiran find themselves face to face. Again. Three years ago–before Amira and Faisal met–Kiran and Deen dated in secret. Until Deen ghosted Kiran.

And now, after discovering hints of Faisal’s shady past, Kiran will stop at nothing to find answers. Deen just wants his brother to be happy–and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep Kiran from reaching the truth. Though the chemistry between Kiran and Deen is undeniable, can either of them take down their walls?

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

Find It All Comes Back to You on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.

Muslim YA on Farah Naz Rishi’s TBR

Muslim YA books have been having a moment.

Growing up, I remember struggling to find any Muslims in any books, across all genres and age group. The only prominent representation I had to cling to were The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini and Samirah al-Abbas in the Magnus Chase books by Rick Riordan.

Muslims still hardly have any representation in media. According to Riz Ahmed and the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who combed through 200 popular movies from 2017 to 2019, only “six of them had a Muslim in a co-leading role, and only one of those was female. Of the nearly 9,000 speaking parts, fewer than two percent were Muslim. And there none in animated movies.” In movies and TV, between all the Between hijab-removals and depictions of Muslims as terrorists, Muslims have slim-pickings for roles and representation, at best. (Source:

But slowly, things are changing, and Muslim YA penned by Muslims is at the forefront of that change—which frankly, isn’t surprising. YA has always been an experimental space for imagining the world as it could and should be, and seeks to challenge perceptions and presents tools for its young readers to bring about that change.

These days, I almost have trouble keeping track of all the new YA books with Muslim rep. We still have a long way to go, of course. I think the Guardian said it best: “Real representation will be here when Muslim characters and stories can be more than just overtly good or bad. It will be complex and messy and unpredictable, and for that we need more Muslim writers and creatives, and certainly more women who have greater creative autonomy.” (Source: But Muslim YA is a space to keep an eye on, as I believe it is the core of where change will eventually come.  

Here are eight fantastic upcoming Muslim YA novels to look out for and support:

Sabriya has her whole summer planned out in color-coded glory, but those plans go out the window after a terrorist attack near her home. When the terrorist is assumed to be Muslim and Islamophobia grows, Sabriya turns to her online journal for comfort. You Truly Assumed was never meant to be anything more than an outlet, but the blog goes viral as fellow Muslim teens around the country flock to it and find solace and a sense of community.

Soon two more teens, Zakat and Farah, join Bri to run You Truly Assumed and the three quickly form a strong friendship. But as the blog’s popularity grows, so do the pushback and hateful comments. When one of them is threatened, the search to find out who is behind it all begins, and their friendship is put to the test when all three must decide whether to shut down the blog and lose what they’ve worked for…or take a stand and risk everything to make their voices heard. 

For fans of Sandhya Menon, Gloria Chao, and Jenny Han, THE LOVE MATCH is a young adult romantic comedy starring Zahra Khan, a Bangladeshi-American teenager who has to deal with growing feelings for two very different boys after her meddling widow mother decides to play matchmaker.

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.

But the same can’t be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All’s fair in love and Scrabble, but all bets are off when Trina’s formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe Trina’s death wasn’t as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.

As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.

A magic-infused contemporary young adult novel about an Afghan-Uzbek immigrant family’s secrets and the teen girl who comes face to face with the literal ghosts of their past.

Pitched as a speculative Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda with a focus on identity, found family, and friendship, the novel follows a queer Indian-Muslim boy travelling the world for a second chance at love after a possibly magical heiress grants him three wishes.

Follows Salma Kassab, a teenager who must learn to see the events around her for what they truly are-not a war, but a revolution-and decide how she, too, will cry for Syria’s freedom.

Mira must decide whether to re-connect with the woman who placed her for adoption…but isn’t sure she’s ready for what she might learn. Told in dual perspectives, this novel follows Mira and her mother eighteen years apart.

Safiya Mirza dreams of becoming a journalist. And one thing she’s learned as editor of her school newspaper is that a journalist’s job is to find the facts and not let personal biases affect the story. But all that changes the day she finds the body of a murdered boy.

Jawad Ali was fourteen years old when he built a cosplay jetpack that a teacher mistook for a bomb. A jetpack that got him arrested, labeled a terrorist—and eventually killed. But he’s more than a dead body, and more than “Bomb Boy.” He was a person with a life worth remembering.

Driven by Jawad’s haunting voice guiding her throughout her investigation, Safiya seeks to tell the whole truth about the murdered boy and those who killed him because of their hate-based beliefs.

This gripping and powerful book uses an innovative format and lyrical prose to expose the evil that exists in front of us, and the silent complicity of the privileged who create alternative facts to bend the truth to their liking.

About the Author

Farah Naz Rishi is a Pakistani-American Muslim writer and voice actor, but in another life, she’s worked stints as a lawyer, a video game journalist, and an editorial assistant. She received her B.A. in English from Bryn Mawr College, her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School, and her love of weaving stories from the Odyssey Writing Workshop. When she’s not writing, she’s probably hanging out with video game characters. You can find her at home in Philadelphia, or on Twitter at @farahnazrishi.


What is your favorite YA with a Muslim character?

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