Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi | the f/f enemies to lovers we all need

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Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

June 11, 2019, from Feiwel & Friends
Young adult contemporary romance
Goodreads | Amazon

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.

Told in alternative viewpoints and inspired by classic romantic comedies, this engaging and edgy YA novel follows two strongwilled young women falling for each other despite themselves.

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4 stars

I initially picked Tell Me How You Really Feel up because of the very gay cover, but the enemies to lovers and the strong-willed main characters is what drew me in. Enemies to lovers is one of my favourite tropes and Tell Me How You Really Feel does it so well.

I loved both of our main characters from the outset. Rachel is vicious, grumpy, and yeah, a bit mean sometimes but it comes from a place of deep-seated ambition and frustration with her standing in the world. Sana is the golden child who has never done anything wrong–except the book opens with her applying to a medical fellowship in India without the knowledge or permission of her family. Their literal collision ends up bringing both of them together in a way that’s tense yet deeply entertaining to read about. Both Rachel and Sana are deeply flawed, incredibly ambitious, and so real. Also, they experience so much character growth throughout the book, and they learn from each other; Sana learns how to rebel a bit, and Rachel learns how to soften up.

This book really hits everything I love in enemies to lovers, honestly. We’ve got the mutual pining and thinking the other person could never like them, and the mix between loving someone and hating someone at the same time. We’ve got the ridiculous bickering that comes from a place of admiration and love for another person. It’s not as vicious of an enemies-to-lovers as some fantasy novels would be, but it’s still wonderful to see how these two girls go from grumpy and always sniping at each other to understanding and affection (and still sniping at each other, but Because Of Love, which is a trope I adore).

In terms of its plot, I’d say that Tell Me How You Really Feel reads like a pretty typical rom-com. Which is entirely a good thing! Because sapphic girls–especially sapphic girls of colour–don’t get a whole lot of mainstream rom-coms. Some of the common rom-com tropes did annoy me, like the Good Old Miscommunication Trope between Rachel and Sana that would have been solved so easily if they’d just, you know, talked to each other. So much of the book was absolutely just Rachel and Sana being cute all around Los Angeles, though, which I didn’t mind. I also loved that there was no homophobia in this book; it’s just fluffy all around.

If you’re looking for a fun f/f contemporary romance with two ambitious protagonists, definitely check out Tell Me How You Really Feel. 

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representation | poc rep (middle eastern/south asian, latinx), f/f rep, jewish rep, muslim rep

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do you have any f/f enemies to lovers recs?

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7 thoughts on “Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi | the f/f enemies to lovers we all need

  1. Aw.. this sounds like an amazing book and I loved your review so much, you’ve definitely encouraged me to pick this up !! It sounds like a really good enemies to lovers plot-line and I can’t wait to see it for myself. 🙂

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