Blog Tour: Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi – Review

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Today I’m taking part in the Not the Girls You’re Looking For blog tour, hosted by Aimee, Always!

Not the Girls You're Looking For

Title: Not the Girls You’re Looking For
Author: Aminah Mae Safi
Genres: Young Adult contemporary
Goodreads

Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.

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Not the Girls You’re Looking For was a book that I was highly anticipating. I adored the cover, the synopsis sounded very interesting and I’ve been following the author on Twitter for a while and she seems wonderful. So naturally, I couldn’t wait to dive into the book. Sadly, while this book has a lot of things going for it, it just wasn’t for me.

The biggest problem I had with this book was the writing. It just didn’t really click with me, and I had a really hard time getting into it. When I was about halfway through the book and I started getting used to it it definitely became a lot easier, but something still felt a little off. The writing just felt very complex. Like, looking at it objectively it was definitely very beautiful and had amazing descriptions, but I feel like a lot of stuff was said between the lines, and this was very much a show-don’t-tell book, which made me feel a little lost. There’d be a piece of dialogue which started at point A and ended at point B, and I’d have no idea how they ended up at point B. I know this is a type of writing that some people might adore, but it didn’t work for me personally, and I spend most of my time feeling like there was this piece of information that I was missing, and it was very frustrating.

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I realize how much this writing reminds me of adult books, because whenever I try to read adult books my brain has this same ‘cannot compute’-reaction. A lot of YA books are very straight-forward and basically hand you everything on a silver platter, and with this book you had to figure out a lot yourself and read between the lines.

Besides the complex writing, the characters were also very complex. Lulu, the main character, definitely has a sense of unlikeability to her, and while I usually don’t tend to enjoy reading about unlikeable characters, I did enjoy reading about Lulu. She’s incredibly multi-layered as well; she’s tough, but also very vulnerable. Seems very confident and has thick walls surrounding her, but is also very afraid. Figuring out who she is, why she is that way, and seeing her grow was probably one of my favorite things about the novel, and I really enjoyed how the author approached it.

I also really enjoyed reading the way Lulu and her family interact with each other. Again, there’s some very complex relationships (complex is kind of the theme of this review, lol) but I did like it. Often in YA, parents are either super chill and let you get away with anything or they’re absolutely awful, and Lulu’s parents felt a lot more realistic. And I just loved Lulu’s dad a lot.

Lulu is biracial (her dad is Iraqi and her mom is American) and we also get to read about how she navigates this part of her life, and how it has influenced her. I cannot speak on whether the representation was good or not, but it was definitely very interesting to read about.

It’s very clear that this book is incredibly character driven, because this book doesn’t have much of a plot besides figuring out things about the characters and seeing them grow, and feels more slice-of-life-y. This is definitely not a bad thing, as long as slice-of-life books are your kind of thing.

So, would I recommend this book? If you like complex books that are incredibly character driven, then yes. Definitely.

While this book didn’t work for me personally, I would definitely give the author another chance in the future. While confusing to me, I do think her writing is very pretty and I would love to see what she’ll come out with next, because she has a lot of potential.

(Also, can we take a moment to appreciate the cover for a second? Because it’s wonderful. So, so wonderful.) (Also, yes, I counted and I used the word ‘complex’ 6 times in this review. Not as much as I thought.)

TW: racism, ableism, sexual assault/intimidation, alcohol/drug use, slut-shaming, cheating
There’s also a storyline about a girl dating a racist who has a girlfriend because she likes seeing him struggle with a part of him that hates who she is and who lusts after her, and you might want to be aware of that.

About the Author

Aminah Mae Safi is a Muslim-American writer who explores art, fiction, feminism, and film. She loves Sofia Coppola movies, Bollywood endings, and the Fast and Furious franchise. She’s the winner of the We Need Diverse Books short story contest. Originally raised in Texas, she now lives in Los Angeles, California, with her partner, a cat bent on world domination, and another cat who’s just here for the snacks. NOT THE GIRLS YOU’RE LOOKING FOR is her first novel.

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Tour Schedule

Not the Girls You're Looking For Aminah Mae Safi Official Blog Tour Schedule

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and Loneliness

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