For fans of lesbian chick-lit, Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan is a funny, entertaining read, and delves into what it is like to be a lesbian of color.
Leila Azadi, a high school junior at Armstead Academy, is Iranian-American; the only one in her school, in fact. Most of her classmates are white, so Leila already feels out of place. She also knows she is gay, and is terrified to come out to her school and her conservative parents. So Leila decides to keep her sexuality a secret. All that changes when Armstead gets a new student; an attractive and enigmatic girl named Saskia. Leila begins to develop romantic feelings for her, and is thrilled when Saskia seems to like her back. She also gets to learn more about her classmates, who are not at all what they appear to be. As Leila grapples with coming out, she needs to learn who to trust…and who to avoid.
Tell Me Again is an easy read, as well as relevant to lesbians today. Throughout the book, Leila’s mixed feelings about being gay come to the surface. The story opens with her class reading The Color Purple, and how scared Leila is to say anything about the main character’s sexuality, for fear of drawing attention to herself. From that moment on, I found myself drawn in. The storyline of Leila coming to terms with her sexuality was gripping as I wondered what would happen next. There were plenty of subplots in the story; such as Leila’s sister Nahal going to medical school, her aloof friend Lisa Katz dealing with her brother’s death, and Leila working on the school’s upcoming play of Twelfth Night. All were nicely written by Sara Farizan.
The best parts about this book were the characters and the numerous surprises that came up. No spoilers here, but I really liked how the plot lines wrapped up. There were some moments where I laughed at a surprise, or when I got livid with a character. Nobody in Tell Me Again was clear-cut. They all had their secrets, motives, and hidden personalities. It was good to see such multi-layered characters, and that really made this book leave a deeper impression on me.
Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel is not a book readers should easily forget. The humor, combined with family, crushes, and coming out, makes Leila’s story fun and relatable. Sara Farizan put a new and interesting spin on teenage sexuality, and the result was a splendid read.