I'm torn on this book

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kmerolla Avatar


I'm struggling, torn on this book.

What I can say with certainty, however, is wow do I love Arvin Ahmadi as a writer of young adult fiction. I'd previously read Ahmadi's 'Girl Gone Viral'. He has interesting stories to tell, and he creates amazing voices for his protagonists (seventeen-year-old Opal Hopper in 'Girl'; eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi in 'How It All Blew Up').

Anyways... Let me return to why I'm struggling with 'How It All Blew Up'. There's a lot to appreciate about this novel. Its ideas about identity, family, love and acceptance. Its structure, cutting between interrogation scenes and Amir's chronological narration. Its depiction of a meaningful, loving sibling relationship (....and at this point, I need to say how much I LOVE Amir's little sister, Soraya. My favorite character, easily). Despite all these features, however... the plot just veers too far into the surreal for me. I couldn't fully buy into Amir running away to Rome and the sequence of events that follows.

Thank you to Arvin Ahmadi, Viking (Penguin Random House) and BookishFirst for my copy.