Safi, Aminah Mae. Tell Me How You Really Feel. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2019.
Hardcover | $17.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-1250299482 | 312 pages | YA Contemporary Romance
Tell Me How You Really Feel is pure fun, queer rom-com goodness. The two protagonists are charming, and I couldn’t help but root for them as they went from not really getting each other to falling in love.
Sana’s a great character, and while I’m sure there are others that I haven’t read about yet, it’s nice to see a cheerleader in fiction who also have a strong academic focus, breaking the stereotype of so many high school movies. I could empathize with her struggle to decide what her future plans were, and how it was so entrenched in the sacrifices both her parents and grandparents made for her.
Rachel’s character growth is great as well, and I really liked seeing her opinions about her film being challenged by Sana’s perspective, even though her film teacher is encouraging her to stay on the same path she originally intended.
I did feel like I wanted a bit more exploration of the “why” they supposedly didn’t like each other. It’s mentioned once or twice in-text, but I feel like the backstory with Sana originally asking Rachel out got more attention in the blurb, and is all but ignored in the book itself, in favor of the other things they don’t have in common. While I don’t agree with some that this isn’t a strong enough case of enemies-to-lovers (especially since some people’s idea of the trope crosses into the point of no redemption for me), I just feel like that one facet should have been more fleshed out.
This is a great read with a great f/f romance. I recommend it to other lovers of sweet YA romances.