Leila feels like an outsider. She is the only Iranian-American at her ultra-rich, preppy private high school. She is also attracted to women, but is worried that her conservative immigrant family and her high school friends would not accept her. One day, a beautiful, wild new girl named Saskia joins the class. Saskia is full of adventure and fun – and Leila quickly falls head over heels for her.
I loved this novel for how high school it is. Leila has a normal school-girl crush on the popular, wild new kid, who just happens to be a girl. I related very well to her feelings, and loved reliving the ups and downs of high school. I wish I had seen a little more of the romance towards the end of the book. Perhaps a sequel?
Feminist Score: You’re Trying and Good Effort
Leila is still in high school, and not battling big cultural change or fighting rebellions. I liked this book a lot, but I don’t see it being a game-changer on the feminist front. That being said, check out the diversity score.
This story matters. We need more stories that tell new perspectives from a fresh point of view. They help us process our world and find comfort in other characters/people like us. Leila is a gay, American-Iranian high school student with her first real schoolgirl crush. I know there are gay high school students out there who need a story like this. And while there are many great resources for coming out to your parents, the challenges of immigrant parents may be slightly different. This book is inspiring, and I hope it finds its way into the hands of those who need Leila. [Note from Jess- I’ve seen on the interwebs that the following may come up in the book: an unwanted outing of a character, assault, and biphobia]
Leila’s story, especially the parts with her family, are sweet and well-written. The book is a fast read, but a good one.
Leila. She’s sweet and confused and so concerned with her family. I just want to give her a hug.
“Act cool. Just act cool and don’t let on that you think she is gorgeous”
I love how hard Leila tries to hide her crush and how bad she is at it. As someone who has the same problem, I can relate.
Is this worth a book hangover?
Yes. The story is a fun, quick read with a new perspective. It tackles first crushes in a high-school appropriate way and is definitely worth the read.
Fun Author Fact
This story may be semi-autobiographical. According to her website, Sara too was a closeted Iranian-American at a rich prep school. I wonder if her Saskia ever found out about her crush.
Read This Next
Forever by Judy Blume. It’s the story of first love. And while it was written in the 1970s, it’s still very easy to relate to it.
Post Author: Anisha
Anisha adores YA romance – and thinks that all love stories should start on the beach and end with the first kiss. Jess is helping her expand her horizons with more diverse, interesting books from newer authors.