Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel main

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel
Sara Farizan3 Stars

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.



14 thoughts on “Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

  1. And here I thought that Cross-State Relocation was some book event I wasn’t aware of and so I Googled only to be provided the def’n of it being that you’re just moving (?) LOL.

    I have a love/hate relationship with cardboard characters. They’re fun to make fun of (critically, of course, I’m not that crude to actively hate on them…maybe) but also agonizing to read about. Such is life with “just ok” books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alternative titles: The Grand Move, The Rehoming Project, Our Impending Conquest of the New City. I’m still taking ideas, if you think Cross-State Relocation Event is too misleading. 😀

      Yeah, I can agree with you on that. Unfortunately, these cardboard characters were more bland than joke-worthy. I could see what the author was going for with them–and she was going in a great direction, if rather stereotypical–but they just kind of gave me the yawns.

      Hopefully I’ll have better luck with the next books on my list.


  2. I like lists. But I love them even more when they are written with a cardigan on :p (I need sleep, don’t mind me)
    “didn’t piss me off” I should add that to my rating system, between 2 and 3, that would be perfect. Lots of books would be thrown into that category. Okay books that are not good enough to send you to the therapist because you fell for a character and the author thought it would be fun to torture/have him get a haircut/kill him, but that are a notch above the ones that send you straight into the reading slump dark zone. (That was confusing for me too)
    Anyway! I love the Iranian-American lesbian protagonist! The lack of diversity requires this detail to be mentioned and applauded. Great flash-review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, I forgot the cardigan. Hold on, I’ll redo it, give me a minute.

      “didn’t piss me off” is an important aspect of my rating scheme, and I highly recommend it. Between 2 and 3 stars is an excellent place for it. Thumbs up.

      “[…] and the author thought it would be fun to torture/have him get a haircut/kill him […]”

      Ahaha, EXACTLY. Those haircuts can be brutal. 😀

      Off to bed with you, what are you doing up reading my dumb stuff? Sleep, sleep.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Even if the story isn’t perfect, the fact that this story features am Iranian-American lesbian protagonist is a good enough reason to at least try it out. I’ve never read that kind of book and why shouldn’t I? I’ve read plenty of good to average books that were much more generic and still enjoyed them.
    Thanks for the detailed list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d definitely recommend you give it a read! And it’s always good to support the author and the genre by checking the book out or buying it; sends a message to the libraries and publishing companies that there’s an interest in these books. Not that you need me to tell you that!


  4. I haven’t heard of this one, but I do plan to try more F/F romances in the future so I’ll be on the lookout in stores. And because this one is one of the lesser known titles (at least for me); I’m starting to wonder if hype is a factor that affects your reading experience (since The Winner’s trilogy and ToG are both super popular, I think). In that case, go into A Darker Shade of Magic with very low expectations! (Because I really want you to love that series at least). 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I hope you like it, if you do find it!

      I’ve never really paused to think how hype affects my reading–but I really should. It’s true that I don’t trust the taste of the general reading public to match my own taste! I’m not sure that hype makes me more prone to dislike a book, though; I fully expect to love A Darker Shade of Magic! I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on it. I need to gush about something soon. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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