I’m glad that Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel didn’t disappointment me as much as If You Could Be Mine. (Click here for my review on IYCBM). I hadn’t realized at first that TMAHACSF (that’s a lot of letters) was written by the same author as IYCBM and when I did, I was a bit wary, but I decided to read it anyway. And to be completely honest, majority of the book was absolutely dreadful. For the most part, Leila simply narrated what everyone else was doing and how they were feeling/reacting to events. I kept wondering how she felt or what she was doing. Why have a first person narrator if we’re going to learn about everyone else and learn nothing about the speaker?
Another thing that bothered me was how Farizan went about establishing Leila’s difficult life, which hindered her from coming out. I’m by no means saying that it’s easy to come out to one’s family and friends and I can’t even imagine how hard it must be. Nonetheless, Leila’s reason for not coming out to her family sooner is that her father is a traditional Persian, but Farizan doesn’t clearly explain what this means. I know that Leila’s father wants her to be a doctor and she’s expected to marry a man of similar background, but Farizan doesn’t create that same pressure to conform to society’s expectations like she does in If You Could Be Mine. Since this pressure wasn’t clearly defined it seemed like Leila was her own obstacle, like she wasn’t comfortable with her own homosexuality, and talked about other people to avoid the topic.
I also didn’t like Leila’s crush on Saskia. I could tell it was a destructive from a mile away. Usually, when a person has a crush on someone, he/she focuses on the good qualities of that person and the traits and hobbies that may have in common, but it was clear that Leila’s crush wasn’t a normal one because she placed Saskia on a pedestal. To Leila, Saskia was perfect and she did whatever Saskia wanted to spend time with her. Leila learned more about herself and gained friends from the experience, but that doesn’t excuse the destructive nature of Saskia and Leila’s interactions.
All in all, by the end, the book didn’t seem like a complete disappointment, but more people will leave this book unfinished than read. Leila takes too long to get to the introspective narrative that readers are used to when it comes to first person POVs.