Tell Me How You Really Feel – Aminah Mae Safi

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: June 11th, 2019
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Romance, Filmmaking, Coming of Age, Family Dynamics, Enemies to Lovers


This is a decent enemies-to-lovers story. I say ‘‘decent’’ because so many so-called love/hate relationships are so… tame. There’s no real hate, just annoyance. There’s also no real reason to hate the other person, just mild disagreements. But what I liked about this book is that it shows how two people—in this case two teen girls—can misjudge one another completely, assuming they have nothing in common and no way to connect, only to find themselves being drawn to one another almost unconsciously.

Both protagonists—Sana and Rachel—have their own lives, yet somehow their lives become intertwined when they have a misfortunate (or perhaps very fortunate) accident that results in them having to work together for some time. It’s hard to hate someone or keep hating someone when you’re both working toward a common goal, unless you’re a masochist who would rather fight continuously. I say masochist because, yes, you’re hurting the other person during fights but you’re also very much hurting yourself. Watching Sana, and Rachel especially, decide to stop being masochists made me rather happy.

I connected with Sana better than I did with Rachel because she is torn between going to an Ivy League school and working abroad right after graduating high school. She knows what her family would rather she chose but she decides to fight for her own wishes, which she hopes will make her happy in the end. Because what’s the point of studying something for many years if it will only make you miserable? Ever head of that saying, ‘‘If you do something you love, you will never work a day in your life.’’ Sana is trying to determine if medicine is the right path for her and I admired her for it.

It’s an engaging realistic tale that should appeal to anyone who loves reading about characters pushing through fear, doubt and insecurities in order to follow the path they were meant to walk on.


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