In the YA Diversity Book Club, we chat about the latest YA books that celebrate diversity. Each month we’ll focus on one book with a book review (our discussion chat) and bonus features.
Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan
Our November book club pick is TELL ME AGAIN HOW A CRUSH SHOULD FEEL by Sara Farizan. Here at Gone Pecan I was lucky enough to share an interview with the author!
1. Describe your book in a sentence or two.
It is a story about a young Persian-American girl in a New England prep school coming to terms with her identity and having embarrassing, self-deprecating moments along the way. A rom-com with kids you’d like to meet and maybe be friends with.
2. What was your inspiration for writing this book?
I was unemployed in L.A. and trying to write teen soap spec scripts. For fun, I started writing a teen soap-ish story that had a character of my background. I was writing a book for my younger self so she wouldn’t be so angst ridden or sad.
3. What kind of research did you have to do to make sure your characters were authentic?
This one was very much based on how I grew up. If it were actually about me it would be a very boring book about going to student government meetings and not making out with anybody. Everything is fictional, but the setting and the characters are heavily influenced by how I grew up.
4. How did you come to incorporate the diverse elements in your book?
Well I have multiple identities and lots of other people do too once you scratch the surface and get to know a person. We are more than our stereotypes and tropes. And I figured why not? It would be cool to see a story with people of different backgrounds. Maybe it’s not so lucrative, but it made me feel good and hopefully makes other people feel good too.
5. How does the diversity in your book relate to your life?I
think if you can write an experience that is different from what people are used to, you can help change perceptions about groups of people and change the momentum in society. If you can read about someone who is different from you in a lot of ways, but still like them or root for them, you realize you’re not as different as you imagined.
6. What are some of your favorite YA books about diverse characters?
The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi, If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson, Adaptation by Malinda Lo, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, Monster by Walter Dean Myers, Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle, and Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden to name a few. And be on the lookout for my friend Jasmine Warga when her book drops in February 2015.
7. What areas of diversity do you want to draw attention to or do you feel are underrepresented in books?
How much time have you got? I would love to see more characters of Middle Eastern descent, particularly men, who are depicted with thoughtfulness and not as terrorists. I would love to see more characters who happen to be of a different race and get to go on a mystical, sword fighting adventure or whatever the kids are into these days. I would like to see less talking animals in picture books and more children of different ethnic backgrounds. I would like to see more main characters who deal with issues of class distinction and come from a lower socio economic background. More books about the immigrant experience in the 21st century. In a very ideal world, I’d like to write books that explore issues that I think impact young people today.
WAnt to know more about this wonderful book? Check out the posts by the other lovely ladies of the YA Diversity Book Club!