Look no further than Tell Me How You Really Feel for a great hate to love story featuring a sapphic couple at the forefront.
Sana Khan is a cheerleader and a straight A student. She’s the classic (somewhat obnoxious) overachiever determined to win.
Rachel Recht is a wannabe director who’s obsesssed with movies and ready to make her own masterpiece. As she’s casting her senior film project, she knows she’s found the perfect lead – Sana.
There’s only one problem. Rachel hates Sana. Rachel was the first girl Sana ever asked out, but Rachel thought it was a cruel prank and has detested Sana ever since.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Can we just take a moment and appreciate this gorgeous and swoony cover? I would have picked this book up for the cover alone, not to mention that I’ve heard good things about Aminah Mae Safi, or the blurb alone. This is such a great example of the perfect storm. One of the main things I loved about Tell Me How You Really Feel is how detailed and complex this dual perspective book is. Sana and Rachel have plenty of things going on in their life besides their love: future, family, and expectations.
I can’t actually contain a coherent list of all the reasons why I love Tell Me How You Really Feel. Whether it be Sana’s mom, and her career journey to succeed in the male driven tv industry, the fantastic writing, beginning with the reason Sana and Rachel hate each other, all the way to Sana’s detailed and passionate defense of Helen of Troy.
Rachel and Sana’s dynamic is something that draws you in. Whether they’re sharing secrets, smoldering looks, or sarcasm you can’t help but root for them. Sana isn’t afraid to call Rachel out on her ‘classic driven’ film favorites or her objectification of Helen whereas Rachel isn’t afraid to bring out the more adventurous side of Sana. A true partnership brings out the best in each other.
But even more than that, I loved how in Tell Me How You Really Feel Safi challenges us to look past and defy our expectations of people. When we hate an image, an idea of someone and realizing both the cracks in the veneer of that illusion and the ways we have entirely misjudged them. If I had to pick some other themes I liked: Sana’s difficult decision to grapple with her family’s expectations of her, Rachel’s relationship with her father, Sana’s new and fraught relationship with her own father, and the entire ending.
Seriously, go add Tell Me How You Really Feel to your TBR so you can crush on this story full of complicated families, figuring out who we are apart from the expectations of others, and the bravery to embrace our future.