Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, she lived in New York City for 10 years before relocating down to Dixie, where she is comfortably growing fat on grits and barbecue. When not writing, she can be find rock-climbing, skydiving, taking photographs, drawing pictures, and dragging her dog on ridiculously long hikes. More here. […]
“Look at how pretty you are!” Mum exclaims. “You should straighten your hair all the time!”
Well, I guess that’s one thing I can straighten about myself. (p. 63)
Leila Azadi has always managed to avoid crushing on any of her classmates. No one knows she likes girls, not her loving and traditional Iranian parents, not her elementary school partner in crime, Lisa, and not even her best friends, Tess and Greg. And then Saskia arrives.
“Do people always has you where you’re from?” Saskia asks me. I know exactly what she means.
“Because I’m ethnically ambiguous? Absolutely,” I say, and she giggles. “Mostly, people think I’m Latina and speak to me in Spanish. When I tell them I don’t understand, they think I’m denying my heritage or something.” This gets her to laugh tremendously. I want to continue to hear it. “Then I say, ‘No, Middle Eastern,’ and the response is always ‘Lo siento‘, like I’ve got it really bad.”
[…] It’s nice to be able to talk to someone about this stuff. Tess and Greg don’t get it, because people see basic white or black when they look at them. Ir’s the ambiguity that throws people; they want to know which box to put you in. (p. 41)
Okay, just give up on this review already and go read the book. Still here and need convincing?
- Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel will make you laugh out loud. Leila is honest, sharp, sometimes amazingly oblivious, and has just the right way of putting things.
- Girls crushing on girls! No spoilers, but Leila and her girlfriend are super sweet together. Wait, that was a spoiler, wasn’t it.
- Tess doesn’t waver in her loyalty to her best friends, even when neither Leila nor Greg is at their best. (Actually, that’s being kind; sometimes, Tess’s best friends are downright foolish. Tess never stops being their friend.) Also, she doesn’t die. Which, okay, this isn’t fantasy, sci-fi, or dystopia, but I’ve read plenty of modern/alternative universe high school stories where horrible things happen to the best friend. Be reassured: Tess is well and happy at the story’s end.
- Greg is kind of an idiot at times. Onnnn the other hand, hormones will do that to you. And he also comes around. He’s doing his best, even if what he wants and what Leila wants – and what Saskia wants – don’t always coincide.
- Lisa Katz: popular, Jewish, and unhappy. Lisa and Leila were best friends in elementary school but drifted apart after. Lisa is still mourning for her brother, who died a year before the story starts. Her grief is treated with respect and empathy, and her choices, even choices that Leila doesn’t understand (like, why did Lisa ditch me to join the popular crowd?) have solid reasons.
- Sister-sister relationship! Leila’s perfect older sister, Nahal, is not just “the perfect older sister” that Leila can never live up to, but a sister. An ally. A person in her own right. Who may have a few minor secrets she’s keeping, too.
- Drama! Of the stage variety. Leila’s high school is putting on Twelfth Night, and the middle school puts on Cinderella. The theatre stuff is background but distinctly present; theatre geeks will enjoy the glimpses of backstage production. Not a love letter to mounting productions, but a note slipped between classes, maybe, a Miss you, hon! See you after school!
- And the backstage denizens: three girls who Leila is kind of afraid of, initially. Taryn, Simone, and Christina are fabulous.
- There are all kinds of prejudice and bigoted people in the story (um, not a spoiler). There are also people who learn better, people don’t share their parent’s prejudices, and people who never made a fuss over what colour anyone’s skin was or who they wanted to kiss in the first place.
In short: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel is a sweet! funny! honest! story of how one girl comes out to her family and friends, and manages to land the perfect girlfriend. Yeah. High school happily ever after.
“I’m not a phase,” I whisper, and [my girlfriend] nods.
“If you need me to be gushy, I can be. It’s just not what I’m used to. But if you need me to reassure you that you’re my love nugget, or whatever the hell it is people say these days, I can try.” (p. 271)
I’m a cat lady. What can I say, I’m a librarian, it pretty much comes with the territory. I’m also a children’s librarian, which means I’m always on the hunt for new picture books. So, any time that a cat-themed picture book appears on my radar, I am a very happy camper indeed. […]
Hardcover, 304 pages Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Simon & Schuster Source: Publisher The Education of Margot Sanchez is bloody amazing. I will tell all the reasons why. Now you may not know this but I am not someone who willingly reads contemporary. I prefer dragons with my drama. But I have been making an […]
I say introduction but basically it’s an excuse to post gifs. Because you all know that I do this best. The theme for this month is pretty self-explanatory. But here’s a disclaimer, the world is absolutely shi…er..crappy right now so we may be taking days off from talking about romance to just talk about whatever […]
Hardcover, 128 pages Published January 3rd 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens Source: Raincoast Books We’re at a rather grim and dark period in time, aren’t we? Well, I think we are and I think that is precisely the reason that books like One Last Word by Nikki Grimes are so important at this point. My […]
I’m not gonna lie: I picked this theme knowing full well it would annoy my team. But I’m a petty person. Although, if the fact that I’ve read one (just one!) romance with someone like me as the romantic interest and I’m not willing to give up looking for more makes me petty, so be it. […]
The World Science Fiction Convention is considering an award for YA science fiction and fantasy. The Worldcon’s YA Award Committee has shortlisted possible award names, and is asking readers to vote. A short background can be found here, and the survey itself can be found here. Voting is open until March 15, 2017. Cheryl Klein […]
Next to You: A Book of Adorableness by Lori Haskins Houran is, to put it neatly, adorable. Like, really, really adorable. Our narrator shares all sorts of really adorable animals, like a squirrel eating a doughnut with its tiny hands, or a piglet in a sweater, but reaffirms again and again that nothing is remotely as […]
Janet I’m assuming here that “graphic novels” excludes comics that are part of an ongoing series – so no Kamala Khan, Lumberjanes, Gotham Academy, Check Please!… Nimona by Noelle Stevenson Bite Me! by Dylan Meconis March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell Amy Unbounded: Belondweg Blossoming by Rachel Hartman Nafiza Manabeshima Island Japan by Florent Chavouet […]
Hardcover, 40 pages Published January 24th 2017 by Viking Books for Young Readers Source: Publisher Mitford at the Hollywood Zoo is about the assistant to an editor of a fashion magazine who apparently is a whiz designer, accessorizer, and everything in between. The picturebook satires the fashion world especially the world as shown to us […]