Title // This Is All Your Fault
Author // Aminah Mae Safi
Publisher // Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date // October 13, 2020
Synopsis // Set over the course of one day, Aminah Mae Safi’s This Is All Your Fault is a smart and voice-driven YA novel that 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.
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)
Many thanks to the publisher, Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This was such a wonderfully fun, cute, and touching contemporary story about friends working together to save their bookstore! I had so much fun reading it, laughing aloud at parts, and being really moved at other parts. I absolutely flew through this!
I will note that from reading other reviews (and a quick wikipedia summary!) apparently this book is extraordinarily similar to the movie, Empire Records. I’ve never seen the movie so I didn’t notice it, but if you like that movie, you could potentially love this book all that much more for paying homage to it, or be annoyed that some are calling it a rip off or even plagiarism.
This was, at the core, a very character driven story, and I loved getting to know the three main characters. On the surface, they seem to all fit into generic stereotypes such as “the coolest girl in the world” and “little miss perfect,” but by the end of the book, it becomes evident that they’re all so much more than that, and you really can’t judge a person just off how they seem on the exterior or at first glance.
I loved the interactions the girls had with each other. They’re all extremely different, and it seems that there’s no way these girls with so little in common would be friends, but they’re all united in the goal of saving the bookstore, and they’re able to overcome differences to work together and really see each other, not just their facades, which I loved.
This book also had a couple of romantic subplots, but they were definitely not the main focus of the book and didn’t take away from the main girls, which I really appreciated. There were a few cute scenes I really smiled at, but the romance was mainly for the girls character development, such as a girl with anxiety having to go out of her comfort zone to talk to the guy she liked, which felt really authentic and I really liked.
This book also had so much diversity that it was amazing! The rep included anxiety, depression, lesbian, Latinx, Korean, Middle Eastern, and biracial. I will note that I’ve seen this book being billed as lgbtq+ but the lesbian rep pretty much only included a scene where a girl breaks up with her girlfriend, and another scene that hints at flirting. It’s definitely there, just as there’s so much effortless diversity in this book, but I wouldn’t really call this a lgbtq+ book because of it.
There are also a few moments where a girl with depression is written off, and a character says something along the lines of she should stop being so depressed and be actually helpful, which isn’t great. However, the depression is addressed again later in the book in a much more positive way, where it’s discussed that a “simple solution” and the solution being easy to do aren’t the same and it’s okay not to be okay, so the discussion of depression did seem overall good to me.
One last thing I absolutely loved was how there was so much bookishness! The characters work at a bookstore, and there were mentions of ordering books, author events, and the fun solace that can be found there. I also hadn’t realized until I started reading but one of the main characters runs an enormously popular bookstagram, which was super fun to read about! It’s always rare but super fun to read about a fellow member of the book community! There was talk of photographing and editing books and filming videos.
The book also addressed ownvoices, and the importance of boosting ownvoices books (like this one!!), which is the first time I’ve ever seen ownvoices in an actual book, and even a bit on how white influencers have more privilege and opportunities (it felt very meta lol, but in a good way). The fact that this book took all the best parts of the diverse book community and stuck it in here was so amazing.
Have you read any of Aminah Mae Safi’s book? Are you planning on reading this one? Do you like reading about booksellers or the bookish community? I’d love to chat in the comments below!