I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan
Also by this author: If You Could Be Mine
Published by Algonquin Books on 2014-10-07
Genres: Dating & Sex, Homosexuality, People & Places, Social Issues, United States, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
“Both personal and universal, this is a compelling story about high school, family and owning up to who you really are. Farizan is just the voice YA needs right now. Trust me, you'll be glad you listened.” --Sarah DessenHigh-school junior Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. Her Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia’s confusing signals, Leila confides in her old friend, Lisa, and grows closer to her fellow drama tech-crew members, especially Tomas, whose comments about his own sexuality are frank, funny, wise, and sometimes painful. Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own.
The very first BEA book that I chose to read and finish this year was Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan. The book is pink and purse sized with lots of chapters, easy to read font and plenty of blank pages between the chapters. I decided I wanted Farizan’s book to be my first BEA read because I was feeling all kinds of We Need Diverse Books enthusiasm and what better way to feed into enthusiasm for such a great project than by reading a book that totally exemplifies diversity. Farizan’s Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel hits check boxes on two points – the main character is Iranian American AND happens to be a lesbian. I mean, books with Arab-American characters are rare enough, but with lesbian Arab-American characters? I have found the unicorn of diverse books and that is a very, very good thing.
Okay, so you guys need to forgive me for not giving you the most detailed plot description of all time because it has been approximately three months since I’ve finished Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel and intricate plot details fly out of my head all the time. Here’s what I remember the plot being about at heart – Leila goes to this elite school called Armstead Academy. Her parents have all these ambitions and dreams for her. Her older sister is essentially perfect. Leila’s best friend Greg has a crush on her, only, she is into girls and he doesn’t know it but clearly that is a romance that is not going to happen. This year at Leila’s school there’s a new girl named Saskia who is totally into Leila. The two begin a clandestine secret relationship. Only, Saskia keeps giving Leila the run around. AND THEN there happens to be another girl interested in Leila. And oh, lots of family pressures too. Also, Leila is not out about being lesbian, so this book is kind of a coming out book too.
If you’ve read If You Could Be Mine, Farizan’s debut, you probably remember Sahar and her not so great life choices and maybe wanting to just take her aside and talk to her. Well, I did not get that feeling with Leila. I thought she had her head on right. I think she’s easier to relate to and easier to like. Her life isn’t quite as heavy as Sahar’s. Leila still has her struggles though, like with being true to herself and with coming out. She also can be quite judgmental and seems to make snap judgments about other people and write them off quickly. It’s interesting, because normally that would be irritating to me, but it just gave her room to grow in this book which I really liked.
I will say that there is plenty of kissing in Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel. Like, I am definitely not team Saskia by any means, but when we first meet her, it’s easy to see how Leila gets wrapped up in Saskia. That girl is a whirlwind. She’s also kind of toxic too. She’s like the bad boy evil character in a paranormal book, dangerous and alluring. As a reader, I was totally rooting for Leila to find someone, anyone else. But also to be true to herself. Really, the entire romance storyline in the book is a bit dramatic, but it’s good, it kept me reading for sure.
I realize that a few people did not love If You Could Be Mine like I did. I think that’s okay. What I will tell you people who did not love it is that Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel is really, really good. I actually thought it was better than If You Could Be Mine. I found Leila more interesting and relatable. I liked her family a bit more. I liked that the book was about more than her coming out and about more than her relationships, but about how Leila needs to learn how to give people a chance and to be less judgmental. It’s actually a really fantastic read that I think you should pick up if you just want something that’s fast, good, and meaningful.