As an Iranian-American, Leila’s different enough but if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when Saskia shows up, Leila begins to struggle to sort out her feelings.
I really wanted to love this book. It’s diverse, challenging, and absolutely needed in YA. But Farizan’s writing style doesn’t appeal to me at all. What I liked about Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel was that it captured the awkwardness of high school. Leila has a great and sarcastic sense of humour. Her small comments were really funny and I think she’s a well-rounded protagonist. I liked reading about her cultural conflict, in both her sexuality and future. While I can’t relate to the former, I could certainly relate to the latter. This kind of cultural conflict introduces a newer perspective that isn’t really discussed in young adult literature.
However, the story, overall, felt extremely simplistic in terms of plotting and characterisation. And I felt like the story focused way too much on Saskia as an attempt to bring in some drama when Farizan gives us so much more than the novel could’ve focused on if the plot hadn’t revolved around Saskia so much. (Leila’s family, Lisa’s family history, the way she used the Twelfth Night was a favourite part of the novel and I really wished that was introduced earlier into the novel and developed more.)
Despite the problems I had with Farizan’s characterisation, I did enjoy Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel. While the plot was a little cheesy and predictable, but the romance between Leila and a certain character was adorable, and I loved their backstory. I know I’ll be reading more from Farizan.
Kindle Edition, 304 pagesPublished October 7th 2014 by Algonquin Young Readers