Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan, is a pleasing, low key romance–much more low key than her debut novel If You Could Be Mine. Leila knows her crush on girls would devastate her Iranian born parents…confirmed by the fact that a neighbor disowned their son when he came out. As a result, she can’t tell her parents or her perfect sister, Nahal, the apple of her parents’ eyes, so she thinks. She doesn’t want to be disowned, unloved.
When a new, beautiful girl, Saskia, transfers to her school and shows interest in Leila, she’s ecstatic. She can’t stop thinking about her, her looks, the smell of her hair, the feeling as their arms brush together. She has high hopes that Saskia will become her girlfriend. But Saskia is erratic, sometimes encouraging, sometimes conniving and sometimes hurtful.
At school, all students must have an extracurricular activity. Since Leila’s no athlete, it takes little encouragement from Saskia to convince Leila to drop soccer and try out for the school play together, Twelfth Night. Although she doesn’t get a part (and Saskia does), Leila agrees to work backstage where she meets Tanya, Simone and Christine, the rumored stereotypical ‘backstage lesbians’.
While all of this is going on, Leila reconnects with a childhood friend, Lisa Katz, who had migrated to the ‘in crowd’ at school, leaving the Lisa/Leila friendship in the dust.
(Possible spoiler) I’ll admit that parts of the story are predictable, as is the ending (but it’s the ending you want). But that doesn’t detract from this sweet story. Leila is like any sixteen year old in the throes of love, regardless of whether it’s homosexual or heterosexual love, whether you’re a guy or a girl. Her insecurities about romance will resonate with most teens, since both genders go through the heartbreak of romance at some point in their young lives.
Additionally, we all think we know our siblings, only to find out they’re totally different than our image of them. Nahal is no exception.
And finally, the book reinforces the unconditional love that a parent has (should have) for a child.
Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel will make any romantic feel good, which is certainly how a crush should feel.