Tell Me How You Really Feel

Rachel Consuela Recht has hated Sana Khan ever since the "perfect, delicate, tiny girly" girl asked for her number freshman year. Rachel, "a film student so extraordinary that she was granted a scholarship" at the elite Royce School, "had seen Carrie, for Christ's sake," and knew never to "trust beautiful people bearing invitations." Sana had to have been messing with Rachel. Unfortunately, Sana wasn't.

It's senior year and Rachel still hates Sana. As perfect as ever, Sana is cheer captain and headed to Princeton in the fall. But she has a secret: she wants to defer college a year and take a hospital fellowship in India. Rachel, who has been accepted to New York University's film program, is also in a bind: if she doesn't finish her senior film in the next month, her adviser is going to tell NYU that she's slacking. When Sana sees Rachel struggling with camera gear after a shoot, she tries to help, causing both girls to go tumbling and a camera to break. As punishment for the destruction of school property, Rachel's adviser demands Sana become the new lead in Rachel's film, forcing the two girls to work together. As one can expect, Rachel and Sana don't stay enemies for long.

In her sophomore novel, Aminah Mae Safi (Not the Girls You're Looking For) uses the enemies-to-lovers trope to splendid effect, producing a love story that feels natural and a romance that grows organically. Sana and Rachel have big feelings, the melodrama is pitched perfectly, and the two happily subvert stereotypes over and over again. Tell Me How You Really Feel is the best kind of rom-com: genuine and absorbing, with wonderfully over-the-top declarations of love. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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