Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel
Spoiler Rating: Low
Best of Katies,
It’s Pride Month, and what better way to celebrate than by cranking out as many LGBTQIA+ book reviews as physically possible?
HOWEVER. The grand Cross-State Relocation Event is coming in early July, and the moving-prep will seriously harsh my reading binge. I don’t know how many books I’ll be able to finish during the chaos, but hey, I have a stack of eight on my nightstand, so, uh. You can’t say I’m not ambitious.
To expedite the process, most of these will be mini-critiques, probably written in bulleted-list format. I know how you love lists.
Let’s start with a fairly breezy lesbian romance, shall we?
Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. As an Iranian American, she’s different enough; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when 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.
- POC (Iranian-American) lesbian protagonist!
- POC (Iranian-American) lesbian author!
- Leila was an interesting and engaging narrator!
- Iranian-American culture seen throughout the book!
- Great plot, conceptually!
- Great romance, conceptually!
- A very quick and enjoyable read!
- Great sense of humor!
- There’s conflict, but not of the Dark, Tragic, Heartbreaking kind that’s so prevalent in LGBTQIA+ contemporaries!
- The “don’t judge a person too quickly” message is great, conceptually!
- A very happy ending!
- Some errors in marking dialogue occasionally made the dialogue confusing.
- One bit that’s weirdly dismissive of bisexuality.
- Flat, cardboard characters (excluding Leila and, to an extent, her friend Lisa).
- The plot was rushed, with lots of stuff glossed over.
- The romance needed to be fleshed out a little more to feel realistic.
- The book treated Leila’s infuriating self-absorption as totally fine and normal.
- The “don’t judge a person too quickly” message feels half-baked, especially as it relates to all the secondary characters.
UPDATED TO ADD: The lovely T at novelparadise points out a lot of biphobic and generally awful stuff that either went over my head or I dismissed as realistic (though unpleasant) thoughts/behaviors on the characters’ parts, and I highly recommend you read her review of the book to find out more.
It’s not perfect, but it was an enjoyable little story, and didn’t piss me off. Two thumbs up for that alone. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a contemporary teen lesbian romance with a happy ending.