It was sometime in May of this year that I came across this book by an author I have been meaning to read for a while. Safi’s sophomore novel, Tell Me How You Really Feel, had been one of my most anticipated 2019 releases but unfortunately I haven’t been able to read it yet! Anyway, I came across This Is All Your Fault and it seemed to be the most interesting set of characters in the most interesting place so I leaped at the opportunity of reviewing this YA contemporary, and oh my, I loved this book a lot.
This Is All Your Fault by Aminah Mae Safi
Set over the course of one day, this smart and voice-driven YA novel follows three young women determined to save their indie bookstore.
Rinn Olivera is finally going to tell her longtime crush AJ that she’s in love with him.
Daniella Korres writes poetry for her own account, but nobody knows it’s her.
Imogen Azar is just trying to make it through the day.
When Rinn, Daniella, and Imogen clock into work at Wild Nights Bookstore on the first day of summer, they’re expecting the hours to drift by the way they always do. Instead, they have to deal with the news that the bookstore is closing. Before the day is out, there’ll be shaved heads, a diva author, and a very large shipment of Air Jordans to contend with.
And it will take all three of them working together if they have any chance to save Wild Nights Bookstore.
This Is All Your Fault is diversely stacked with developing friendships, personal struggles, distanced coworkers finding support in each other, passionate personalities, a slightly humorous narration, book recommendations, and a sign board on the door of an independent bookstore turning to ‘closed’ forever.
Representation: Biracial (Mexican-American—German) MC, Middle-Eastern—American & Queer MC, anxiety & depression.
Ownvoices reader for: anxiety rep.
Trigger warnings: sexual harassment, financial fraud, anxiety, panic, depression.
SPANS OVER A DAY AT WORK IN AN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE WHOSE CHARM AND MAGIC IS BEING LOST TO FINANCIAL GREED.
A story set in the midst of books, the incredible aura of a bookstore is well portrayed through the beautiful decorations, the shelves, and the heart-warming vibe of regulars and newcomers finding their own solace and meaning in this place. The underutilised time space of twenty-fours to play out a story is cute little bow to everything, especially since it’s brought down to just the working hours of a store and makes you even more pleasantly surprised to see how such tremendous emotional progress and events were made in such small time frame.
THREE YOUNG GIRLS SOULFULLY CONNECT THROUGH A CRISIS, DESPITE BEING WILDLY DISTANCED ON ANY OTHER WORKDAY .
Being narrated through a multiple point-of-view lens, this contemporary beautifully intertwines the lives of three young coworkers on the basis of the vast differences they hold—in terms of ethnicity, mental health, and personality.
↦ Daniela is the cool blonde who is trusted with most responsibilities at the bookstore; struggle with anxiety and panic.
↦ Rinn is the half-Latine, half-white who is a bookish content creator on the Internet and is a sunshine with beautiful curls; has a huge crush on AJ, the art boy coworker.
↦ Imogen has a Middle-Eastern heritage and is the impulsive, queer soul who can trim away all her thick black wavy hair within five minutes of entering the bookstore; she has depression & she’s my personal favourite.
The dip at which the story starts, where all three are stuck with some judgement about the other two, and the peak at which the story ends, where all have supported one another through the little strings that attached them—strings of struggle, strings of mental health, strings of being girls, and strings of passion—is a contrast you’ll be delighted to witness.
THE THEMES OF FEMINISM, FRIENDSHIP, AND FADING BOOKSTORES ARE EXCELLENT.
From the manager who is a supportive woman to these three main characters who believe in their individuality, their dreams, and themselves, the girls definitely rule in this book. The girls are the ones deciding to do all they can to save this bookstore and it’s a pleasure to read about Imogen’s mother and the love for poetry that has passed down from an immigrant parent to the little girl named after the heroine in Cymbeline—one of Shakespeare’s plays.
The entire concept of an independent bookstore closing down due to an apparent financial crisis so a parking lot can be constructed on the same grounds is a prime example of the current scenario around bookstores losing a battle against online retailers, technology, and the mere hunger for money by some selfish personas.
AN UNDERTONE OF MENTAL HEALTH, CREATIVITY, AND BELONGING IN THE NARRATION ARE EXCELLENT TOO.
The anxiety rep was absolutely on point for me; the frequent feeling to puke, the constant horror of actually puking, and the constricted chest that can only breathe again after puking—I know I’m being highly specific of what impressed me but it’s the highest point for me to relate with; rest all details were anyway perfect. The portrayal of depression isn’t something I can comment on but it definitely helped me connect with Imogen on a deeper level so the emotional understanding through a bumpy mental health was clearly felt.
Daniela loves to write poetry but stays secretive about this passion of hers. Rinn is a bookish content creator who loves to read, and that’s something I was so so happy to see because who doesn’t want to see their enthusiasm being reflected in a story they read? My dramatic self would say I almost cried when Rinn talked about how fulfilling content creation can be but also comes with the struggle of always being online, always engaging, always keeping up one’s numbers, and always feeling a sense of pressure from the community and audience itself.
Overall, an absolute favourite that I’ll always be recommending to anyone who wants to read a contemporary that’s greatly focused on friendship and feminism while lightly strumming to romance and mystery too.
WIN A FINISHED COPY OF THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT (us only)
Aminah Mae Safi is a Muslim-American writer. Safi was the winner of the We Need Diverse Books short story contest, and that story appeared in the anthology Fresh Ink. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her partner and cat. This Is All Your Fault is her third novel, following Not the Girls You’re Looking For and Tell Me How You Really Feel.
This post is written for a promotional blog tour hosted by Turn The Page Book Tours but everything stated in the post is solely my opinion and recommendation.
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