Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan
Review by Lauren
source: personal copy; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: 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.
Leila knows she likes girls, but she's not sure how to tell anyone else. She's Iranian American and she knows other families like hers have shunned their out children. Would her family do the same? It doesn't help that she feels wholly inadequate next to her sister, in whatever she does. Instead, she tries to enjoy school as much as she can. All of this changes when new student Saskia takes a liking to Leila. She has an immediate crush and she begins to think that Saskia just might like her back, even though Saskia is pretty and interesting and could easily be the popular girl if she wanted to be.
Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel is an honest portrayal of growing up and growing into your own skin. Leila might know she likes girls, but that doesn't mean she's 100% come to terms with it. This book clearly shows the questions she faces when it comes to coming out, especially to her family. People being to learn Leila's secret but is it enough to make her more comfortable? I loved that, regardless if you are gay or straight, that you could relate to Leila. She has a loving family that she doesn't always agree with, friends that have their own "issues" and "problems" away from Leila, and Leila doesn't just dwell on her sexuality. That is a big part, but a lot of it is just being a teen - falling in love, finding new hobbies and interests, learning to let friends grow around you, and more.
I'd definitely read more by this author!