Kate ☀️ Olson's Reviews > Tell Me How You Really Feel

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi
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really liked it
bookshelves: advanced-reader-copies, aoc, young-adult, lgbtqia

(free review copy) I'll break down my rating because there are STRONG things and less strong things, but overall, HALLELUJAH FOR A F/F ROMANTIC COVER and an engaging story.

Cover: ALL THE STARS. Honestly, I want every bookstore and library on earth to put this on prominent display. If everyone just bought it simply to display, I'd be happy. We need this book cover on posters - like movie posters. Everywhere. Two teen girls, obviously in romantic love. One of them obviously a woman of color. YES.

Representation: Amazing. Rachel is Mexican-Jewish and Sana is Muslim (Bengali/Persion on her mom's side) and their race, religion and sexuality are never questioned or challenged. This isn't a coming out story or at all about their sexuality. That's a done deal. Just like it is in almost every single m/f love story. Maybe it could be a bigger deal, though?? I'm not sure on that.

Setting: So, so LA. Not the generic LA we read about in so many books but very atmospheric and natural.

Story: Okay, so this is where I get a little picky. I honestly just straight up don't love books about movies and film-making, and there seems to be a trend in YA where all these teens are super into the film world. That's totally cool, and since I'm not a teen and I'm not into that, I can just say that I went along with it for the sake of the REST of the book (relationships, etc). However, even with me not overall liking that theme, I think that this huge focus on The Odyssey was overdone, and confusing and made the book longer and more cumbersome than it needed to be. It's like the author dug herself into this plotline hole and didn't know how to get out of it. In addition, the ending was rushed and there was some romantic drama that was completely unnecessary.

BUT, guess what! I have the right to rate a book however I want, and for this one, the cover and representation and my ability to read it in one sitting bump it up to 4 stars despite my meh feelings about some of the story. Maybe soon we'll have so many cute sapphic covers and stories in the YA market that we won't even be mentioning covers and much-needed representation in reviews.........but we're not there yet. So for now, buy it and display it please. Read it too and think about whether it's the best f/f YA romantic comedy featuring a character of color by an female author of color from a major publisher that you've read. And then realize that you haven't been able to read that many because there just aren't that many out there. And then sigh. And applaud Safi and the publisher for bringing us this one.

Like I read somewhere, barely-remembered paraphrased words originally said by someone important/famous:

We need enough books with [insert marginalized population] characters that there are allowed to be good [marginalized population] books, bad [marginalized population] books and horrible [marginalized population] books as well as those ones that are truly amazing. And we'll be able to rate them strictly on the writing and story. Until then, the representation inevitably factors into our reviews and we hang all of our hopes on that ONE book.
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Reading Progress

March 18, 2019 – Shelved
March 18, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
May 18, 2019 – Shelved as: advanced-reader-copies
May 18, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult
May 18, 2019 – Shelved as: aoc
May 19, 2019 – Started Reading
May 19, 2019 – Shelved as: lgbtqia
May 19, 2019 – Finished Reading

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