How It All Blew Up is a delightful, coming of age, coming out story where the main character Amir begins to find his voice and define his place in the world. Amir is an 18 year old Muslim teenager who is struggling to reveal that he is gay to his parents, they are rather conservative so he feels as if he cannot entirely be himself around them. After a fellow classmate threatens to out him he decides to escape to Rome so that he does not have to face coming out to his family. He meets a gay cast of characters who embrace him and show him the best way to be is to be true to himself. He begins to find his voice and break out of his shell a bit with the help of this new close friend group. Once Amir's family figures out where he has been staying they come to get him and after fighting on the airplane home Amir and his family are detained and questioned at the airport. Everything comes to light as they all speak to each other and interrogation officers.
This book had a realistic Young Adult voice, I found it spoke rather clearly as to how young people feel the weight of things can be so heavy. This was told from alternating family perspectives - giving an insight into how each family member perceives their relationship with Amir. This put in perspective for me the idea of coming out to your family, which is something that I have not had to experience, this was very eye-opening for me - it was rather an emotional experience to travel along with this character. I absolutely loved the time he spent with his new friends in Italy, they really brought the story all together and imbued a sense of fun as well as gravity to his situation. My one criticism is that I did not love the end, it seemed strange and like it just left off in a random place. I recommend this book to anyone who loves Young Adult or LGBTQ stories!
Thank you to Bookish First and Viking Books for a giving me a copy to review!