Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How It All Blew Up” as Want to Read:
How It All Blew Up
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How It All Blew Up

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  854 ratings  ·  368 reviews
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda goes to Italy in Arvin Ahmadi's newest incisive look at identity and what it means to find yourself by running away.

Eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi always knew coming out to his Muslim family would be messy--he just didn't think it would end in an airport interrogation room. But when faced with a failed relationship, bullies, and blackmail,
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 22nd 2020 by Viking Books for Young Readers
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How It All Blew Up, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  854 ratings  ·  368 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of How It All Blew Up
Alfredo (Fred)
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Please read this before you read the other reviews.

I'm a Brazilian reader who has followed Arvin Ahmadi on social media for about some years. I first heard about How It All Blew Up when he announced the book in 2019 as my most personal book yet.

The book

The premise is striking: Amir Azadi is Iranian, gay and does not feel comfortable with his conservative parents. When something terrible happens, he decides to run away from home and, without thinking about the consequences, ends up in Rome. In
Monte Price
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, favorites
So this is required reading, just so everyone is aware.

There are few things I love more than being immediately pulled into a story, one of those just happens to be having a gut feeling a book is five star worthy on the first page. There was never a moment in this book that I didn't love Amir. I also want to give this book credit for managing to make me appreciate it as much as I did when it has one of the tropes I hate the most; a queer character being blackmailed as part of a coming out
Jun 17, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book yet sadly I came out of this thinking that this is one of my least favourite books I've ever read. My first major issue is that this is sold as a gay Muslim YA book. However, Islam plays no part in this story. The character openly says that he and his family are not religious at all yet somehow this is a Muslim book. This is an issue across all of publishing; calling books Muslim YA books when in fact it's just culture that plays a part in the story. Aside from ...more
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
I was keeping a scoreboard its hard to explain, but the points were never in my favor. They just werent. Then I came to Rome, and the points started adding up, you know? They were finally in my favor, and I felt like I was winning.

On my blog.

Rep: Iranian American gay mc, Iranian American side characters, gay side characters, bi side character

CWs: racial profiling, homophobic language, threatened outing

Galley provided by publisher

How It All Blew Up is a book that reminded me very much of
Cody Roecker
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my most anticipated novel of the year and it certainly did not disappoint. Wow.
A.R. Hellbender
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I devoured this in no time. This is such a heartfelt story about being gay and Iranian, and I also love the way both of Arvin Ahmadis books Ive read have captured the way you might start hanging out with people all the time but really only know them in that particular context. ...more
Anna Luce
DISCLAIMER: having just come across a 5-star review that says negative reviews should not remark on how this book doesn't really explore Amir's faith and/or heritage I felt the need to better articulate my thoughts about this book:
1) I'm not saying this book doesn't have great Muslim rep because I found it unbelievable that a Muslim mc wouldn't be thinking about his faith/heritage 24/7 or because the mc is a non-practicing Muslim
2) I do think that this book could have delved deeper into Amir's
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How It All Blew Up was a quick and entertaining read. I really enjoyed a little journey into Italy with Amir, sure it was full of cliche's and a little far fetched, but taking it with a pinch of salt it was a fun book that I couldn't put down. I'd give it 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 because it was on the higher side of the 3.5.

Amir was one of those strange characters, I feel that I still don't know much about him outside of his sexuality, yet he was immediately likeable. The unique little
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A story that comes from a place of bravery, honesty, vulnerability, and hope. I can't wait for everyone to meet Amir!
anna ✩
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars!

Amir Azadi knows a few things: he's gay; he's muslim; coming out to his family will be hard. When someone at his school blackmails him into either giving him money or outing him, Amir loses the opportunity to have his carefully planned out coming out conversation with his parents.

In the midst of trying to figure out what how to deal with this blackmail situation, Amir ends up in Rome, living the summer of his life.

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me with an ARC in
Katie B
2.5 stars

This YA fiction read was disappointing for me. I had enjoyed a previous book by this author and when I read the synopsis for this one I thought it sounded interesting. While the potential for a good story was here, the execution was a misfire in my opinion. At 250+ pages there still managed to be a lack of proper development with the character and plot and it ended up feeling like I read a novella or even a short story. Just not a satisfying read.

Amir Azadi is a senior in high school
Vicky Again
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How It All Blew Up is an arresting story readers won't be able to put down. It's certainly not perfect, but it's messy and honest and real all the same. Ahmadi skillfully uses the past/present points of view to craft a story that, at its heart, speaks of finding your place in the world and reconciling your identities.

I absolutely sped through this novel in a couple hours the night before (morning of? *sweats nervously*) release. I started it thinking, "just a few pages" and then I'm suddenly swept away in the story of Amir and his fears and experiences.

Amir's life is messy and his coming out story might be triggering for some people, so please check the content warnings! He's dealing with a lot, but he's also just a cool character. He edits Wikipedia pages in his free time! He really likes Mean Girls! He
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my 100th read of 2020! And my first ever ARC (this book comes out 22.09.20 - tomorrow!)

Big thank you to HotKeyBooks for sending this my way, it was brilliant.

Right from the offset, this book is extremely funny and relatable. Its full of fun pop culture references and witty play on word moments. I loved the writing style, it was really easy to connect with and made reading this book a breeze. The plot was unpredictable, engaging and kept me wanting more. Though it was fairly lighthearted,
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, lgbt
"It is such a privilege, you know? To get to be yourself, all of yourself, in this great big world."

Thank you NetGalley and Hot Key Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is incredibly genuine all the way though and I loved every single page. It made me emotional and warm, happy and sad, and it made me laugh out loud many times. 

One of the main themes that this book emphasises is how important it is to be yourself, but how difficult this may be and how some
Dash fan
2.5☆ A Story about Acceptance.

How It All Blew Up gave me mixed feelings, it was an easy and quick read but for me it just lacked depth.

The blurb had so much promise and I was really looking forward to reading this book.

The story is about Amir a 18yr old who is being blackmailed for being gay.
He is petrified of being exposed to his Muslim family, that he feels has no other choice but to run away the day of his high school graduation.

He runs away to Italy where he meets a group of friends that are
Vee_Bookish // YA Book Blogger
[ARC Provided by NetGalley and finished copy won in a giveaway from ReadersFirst, my review is unbiased]
Wordpress Blog | Twitter | Pinterest

📗 I was really hoping that this book would heavily feature a fun romp around Italy after being disappointed with Love & Gelato, and I'm so happy to say I got just that. While dealing with heavier themes of coming out to a Muslim family and racial profiling, this book managed to also be a light read that I really enjoyed.

📕 I thought that Amir was a really
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: Islamaphobia, homophobia, panic attacks, blackmail

What struck me from the very beginning about How It All Blew Up was how relatable Amir is. Don't we all know that feeling when our mistakes catch up to us? When little lies, small mistakes, end up snowballing and turning into an avalanche? How those things we say end up collecting dust, the feeling of dread and guilt collecting
October 02, 2020: I wish I enjoyed this more but the important themesembracing one's cultural and sexual identity, being a child of immigrant parents, acceptance from a family, built up emotions, religious discrimination and fighting stereotypesreflected in the story are worth appreciating. The Italian setting is beautiful and the absolute fun & self-reflection that this impromptu escape brings is a delight to read, but the lack of a strong enough plot and a different style of narration that ...more
Angela Staudt
Thank you to PenguinTeen and BookishFirst for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I went into this book thinking it was a book representing queer Muslims in YA. I did not get that, at all during this short, but fast paced book. I think this book could have been incredible and unique considering it is written as a kind of count down to this huge scene in the book, and we have present tense moments where the main characters family is being detained at an airport. It just felt very
Celia McMahon
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks, Bookishfirst for the chance to read this awesome book.

I spent three years living in Italy so, suffice it to say, I felt a lot of what the character's in this book say and think. Italy is a nice place to visit, not to live, but I am sure others have a different opinion. That being said, Rome was my favorite city (I visited twice!) and I fell in love with the things that Amir fell in love with. His struggles were not my struggles. I'm in a military family so I did not go willingly. Amir
Kera (featherboundbooks)
Before I read this book, I did a cursory review check on Goodreads and what I found wasn't great... and that makes me sad, having read this book now. I adored this so freaking much.

Amir is an 18 yo getting ready to graduate high school. His traditional (not exactly religious) Muslim family doesn't have any clue that he is gay and he fears they wouldn't respond well. But, he and a handsome jock have been spending a lot of time getting acquainted in the privacy of this boy's car. When another boy
Gayatri Saikia   | per_fictionist
❝I wish I could say I was better than that, that I ignored the stereotype. But when your safety hinges on a stereotype being true or not, you dont get to be brave. I wasnt going to bet my happiness on the fact that my mom watched a talk show hosted by a lesbian.❞

~ how it all blew up by Arvin Ahmadi

IT was a super quick and fun read! It is a coming of age story of Amir Azadi, who finds himself in the midst of quite extreme circumstances and eventually ends up fleeing to Rome. The story opens up
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc

Thank you to Edelweiss and Penguin Random House for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story focuses on Amir--a high school student. He's just about to graduate when he is found out by a fellow classmate. Amir is gay. And to top it off, he is Iranian and Muslim. He talks.about this as if this combo is the worst thing ever because he has always stood out as an Iranian kid and had to tolerate jeers from others, but to be gay too? He just wants to keep this under wraps until he can head off to college.

This story is told in flashbacks and also from multiple points of view: Amir,
Kristel Greer
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was sent a copy of this book for review.

Amir is 18 and is hiding a secret. He is gay and has been seeing a guy from school but keeping it hidden. He comes from a Muslim family and is terrified they will disown him. Two guys decide to blackmail him for money by threatening to tell his parents and instead of facing this issue he hops on a plane to Rome to escape his problems.

The book is set in an US Customs interrogation room where Amir and his family have
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This started out around 3-4 stars, but then quickly plummeted. The fast pace of the first quarter was appreciated, but the rest of the book dragged for me. The writing is mediocre at best, and the entire cast of characters is forgettable. It was so hard keeping track of who was who; they just blurred together. This book dehumanizes certain characters because theyre attractive, and I hate when that happens. Also, I have major problems with the presentation of a barely legal boy getting picked up ...more
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, favorites
Let me tell you, Arvin let slip this book over a year ago at his book signing and I couldn't wait to read this. When I won an ARC I was so excited because I wanted to see what Arvin's first gay YA would be. I read his debut novel I wasn't that impressed (and I haven't read his second one but I have a copy!) so I was excited to see how this one would turn out.

This is book is truly amazing. The book switches from Amir and family being interrogated at the airport to Amir's story and how he ended up
Michael Cartwright
I LOVED this book! I'll start with the only negative I can think of - I would've liked more resolution to the blackmail thread, maybe an epilogue dealing with that would've been a better ending. Other than that, I loved the protagonist, the side characters, the plot - it all worked so well together, I cannot understate how enjoyable, educational and emotional I found this.
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
How it All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi ⭐⭐⭐⭐

An Iranian family is detained at the airport. During the interrogation a teenage tale of blackmail, coming out, and finding oneself is told.

A perfect book to understand the dissonance between ones identity and culture. Amir felt he couldnt be himself around his family because of their culture. His growth was apparent throughout the book, and with it his confidence peaked as well. We also got insight into his parents and sister, and how they felt about
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Bookish First Rea...: How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi 2 24 Aug 02, 2020 09:52AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Super Fake Love Song
  • Darius the Great Deserves Better (Darius the Great, #2)
  • Star Wars Adventures, Vol. 10: Driving Force
  • City of Spies: Who can you trust in this gripping debut thriller?
  • The Country Village Christmas Show
  • Writers & Lovers
  • American Royals (American Royals, #1)
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea
  • The Raven
  • The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Cold Mountain
  • Why Mummy’s Sloshed (Why Mummy, #4)
  • In West Mills
  • Dancing at the Pity Party
  • Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order - Dark Temple
  • Queen's Peril (Star Wars)
  • Final Crisis
  • Infinite Crisis
See similar books…

News & Interviews

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
47 likes · 16 comments