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.
I purchased a copy of this book. This does not influence my review.
I usually start my reviews by saying why I’m interested in reading certain books but I think that Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel needs no long explanation: a lesbian Persian main character is all that needs saying!
Leila is a high school junior who feels different than her peers: not only is she Persian, she’s also into girls. Luckily, her school is pretty obsolete in terms of eligible crushes. But when new girl Saskia enters the scene, Leila is confused by her new feelings. Leila starts to confide in her an old friend, Lisa, and bonds with her tech-grew buddies. As time grows, Leila tries to understand how a crush is supposed to feel…
Basically, Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel is an awesome contemporary that has a memorable character and a very interesting plot. The beginning of the novel might seem a bit slow, but the plot definitely picks up throughout the book. I actually felt that the plot took some twists that I did not expect, which is always great! The writing was definitely fleshed out and made me connect to both Leila and the plot.
My favourite thing about Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel is definitely the main character, Leila. I could really connect to her and I felt like readers really get a good glimpse inside her head. She definitely felt like a real teenager to me and I could definitely relate to feeling like an outcast around your peers. I don’t think I can emphasize enough how real Leila felt to me, I could picture her as a Real Person, which I think is always important.
Now, I obviously can’t discuss Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel without discussing the romance! I was pleasantly surprised by the romance in Tell Me Again. I thought based on the synopsis that the romance would go one way but I loved that it went another way. My only complaint seems to be MORE KISSING! (So yes, the romance is very shippable!)
In terms of diversity, Tell Me Again was just amazing. Not only is the main character realistically diverse, the entire cast of characters are all unique. This book definitely felt like it took place in the Real World, not some unrealistic world where only one group of people exist.
Overall, Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel was a wonderful diverse book that I recommend to any contemporary lovers, and upper-MG readers looking to cross over into YA territory. Just read it so we can discuss how crushes should feel! 😉