June 28, 2019
Title: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel
Author: Sara Farizan
Publication date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, LGBTQ, Contemporary
Source: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
High-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.
Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel, Sara Farzin's second novel, is a much different story than her first, If I Could Have You. While IICHY was well written, it was painful to read because I felt the situation was a hopeless one. On the other hand, TMAHACSF was light and funny, and I couldn't stop reading it. I didn't want it to end even with the painful and awkward moments. I love this book so much!!
Leila is a high school student with parents who are Persians and hold traditional values. Her parents are from Iran, and I really liked reading about the different expressions they have in conversation and their customs. Leila's older sister, Nahal, follows what their father wants for her, but Leila is torn between what she wants and what her father wants, worrying that if she doesn't do what he wants, she won't have his love. Her fear is compounded by the fact that her family comes from a country where homosexuality is illegal.
I really liked how the characters in this book aren't what they appeared to be on the outside. What you see isn't what you get because they're much more complex than that. One of my favorite characters was Tomas. He's honest and realistic and someone I'd like to know in real life. Saskia was sending out confusing signals! I couldn't figure out if she liked Leila back or what until the end.
TMAHACSF is a light, easy read with diverse characters, a compelling story, and heart. You'll learn about Persian culture, and this second offering from Farizan is vastly superior to her first.