Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel
By Sara Farizan
Published 2014 by Algonquin Young Readers
Leila has mostly slipped under the radar in high school, though her Persian heritage means she still sticks out a bit. But imagine how much worse it would be if everyone knew she liked girls! Thankfully, no one has caught Leila's eye - until the beautiful Saskia arrives. Soon, Leila is trying her hardest to express her feelings but also keep her secret. Can she keep it in balance or will everyone find out what she's tried to hide?
I downloaded this because of the tremendous praise I'd heard about Farizan's first novel, which published last year. I haven't read that one yet, but hearing such good things about it inspired me to read the e-galley of this when I saw it was available. I'm left wishing I'd started with her debut.
Don't get me wrong, this book is not bad. I think I just expected more than what I got. With so much praise for her debut, I expected great things from this sophomore effort. Unfortunately, I didn't really get them.
I wanted to like this book - I am always looking for great GLBT lit for kids, and I appreciate when multiple diverse identities are incorporated into a character (after all, aren't we more than just one identifier?) . So, I really liked that Farizan was telling a story of a gay Persian girl. The problem, for me, is that's pretty much all Leila ever felt like. What I mean is that this book just felt a little too simple all around. The characterizations are rather thin, the dialogue feels inauthentic, and most of the time it felt like Farizan was dumbing things down for readers. The plot was incredibly simplistic and every twist felt obvious. I think I just wanted a deeper story than what Farizan gave us.
As I said, it's not terrible - there were moments of levity that I enjoyed and I think it's an important book to be on our shelves for teens to discover. I just hoped for greater things.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.