Book Review: Tell Me How You Really Feel

tell me how you really feelTell Me How You Really Feel
by Aminah Mae Safi
Young Adult / Romance / LGBT
309 pages
Published June 2019

This book was alright. There was a lot of hype around it before it released and I…don’t really agree. I liked both characters. I enjoyed the plot. Okay, I enjoyed the entire book, except. Except. Rachel BLINDLY hates beautiful people. Which is ridiculous, given (at least on the cover) she’s far from ugly herself. I just don’t get her blind hatred of beautiful people. She’s spent the last three years hating Sana because, what? Sana had the guts to ask her out while being pretty? That plot point just kept pulling me out of the story. Which was otherwise really good! But two pretty girls on the cover and one of them hates pretty people but has no self-awareness that she is ALSO pretty? I don’t recall the text actually saying whether Rachel is pretty or not, but Sana obviously thinks so.

This might be an issue with whoever designed the cover not understanding the plot of the book; I know authors don’t always have full control over their covers. But it REALLY made that particular plot point confusing.

This book is also another example of the cover description being misleading. Rachel doesn’t “realize” that Sana is perfect for the role and try to cast her; her supervisor informs her that Sana will be in that role and she’ll just have to make it work. It’s a bit of a different dynamic.

Sooooo I don’t know whether to recommend the book or not. It was good, but I was annoyed by that plot point. Rachel and Sana were the only developed characters; everyone else was only there to further their story. Which is not always a bad thing; but I generally like the supporting cast to be a little bit more developed. They are people too, they shouldn’t solely exist to drive the romance between the two main characters.

As a lesbian romance, this was great. As a well-rounded book, not so much.

From the cover of Tell Me How You Really Feel:

The first time Sana Khan asked out a girl – Rachel Recht – it went so badly that she never did it again. Rachel is a film buff and an aspiring director, and she’s seen Carrie enough times to learn you can never trust cheerleaders (and beautiful people). Rachel was furious that Sana tried to prank her by asking her out on a date.

But when it comes time for Rachel to cast her senior project, she realizes that there’s no one more perfect than Sana – the girl she’s sneered at in the halls for the past three years – to play the lead role. And poor Sana – she says yes. She never did get over that first crush, even if Rachel can barely stand to be in the same room as her.

Told from alternating viewpoints and set against the backdrop of LA in the springtime, when the rainy season rolls in and the Santa Anas can still blow, these two girls are about to learn that in the city of dreams, anything is possible – even love.

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