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Aminah Mae Safi Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Not the Girls You're Looking For (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Tell Me How You Really Feel (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
This Is All Your Fault (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Aminah Mae Safi is a Muslim American young adult author who explores film, art, feminism, and fiction. Safi loves Bollywood endings, Sofia Coppola films and has watched every movie in the “Fast and Furious” franchise. She graduated with an art history degree from the University of Southern California and got her masters in Islamic Art History from the University of Chicago. Her thesis was on Identity Crisis which perhaps explains why she loves to write novels centered on the theme of identity. Aminah currently lives in Los Angeles California with her partner and two cats. She published her first novel “Not The Girls You’re Looking For” in 2018. She has also written essays and articles that have appeared in “Salon” and “Pub Crawl.” Her short story “Be Cool, For Once” was published in the anthology “Fresh Ink.”

Mae Safi grew up in a home that was a mix of different cultures since she had a mother that was German and Mexican. As such, she is more ethnically mixed as compared to Lulu, the lead in her debut novel. Growing up during the Bush years, all she heard was you are either Muslim or American. It was a difficult time for the mixed-race girl that was also Muslim. She did not want to assimilate as white or become Arab as a Muslim, since she embraced all the aspects that made her what she is. It was very difficult since her reality, which was in between, was rarely portrayed in any of the movies, books or TV programs. As such, she set out to tell stories that honored the multicultural nature of the American experience, particularly focusing on the people who are in between cultures or religions. Aminah believes that it is critical to see the world from multiple perspectives and since she is one of the in-between, she is best placed to tell the story. Her debut novel “Not The Girls You’re Looking For” is the celebration of Americans who are in between.

Aminah Mae Safi writes about girls who have a chance to make mistakes and grow up from those experiences. She believes that the world is often wrong in telling teenagers that there is very little room for error. Therefore, she writes stories about making mistakes and asserts that life does not end, even with a monumental mistake. Her novels are all about figuring out how to live with oneself after they have hurt someone they love, damaged or destroyed friendships or made bad career choices. Aminah writes of characters who find their determination and grit after doing their worst. They are often backed into a corner and this is when they show true character in getting down with the program and working to improve their situation shows. She destroys the stereotypes about girls, especially ethnic or religious pigeonholes as her characters make the first move, engage in risky behavior, and love one another in a way that is rarely portrayed in pop culture. This is because Aminah Mae often tells her story from a perspective of friendship that involves several character story arcs. She believes that women have for so long been seen as objects and have been dictated to in how to look, how to experience sex, sense of self their bodies and many other things. In her feminist centered work, Safi has been influenced by Jane Austen, the March Sisters from “Little Women” and the Bennet sisters from “Pride and Prejudice.” On aspects of family, love, friendship, growing up and making mistakes she cites the influence of “Saving Francesca” by Melina Marchetta.

Amina Safi’s “Not the Girls You’re Looking For” is the story of a biracial American-Iraqi teenager with a Muslim Iraqi father and a white Christian mother. Lulu has three friends and she believes that she does not need the advice of anyone to make a success of her life. She sets out to conquer the world and for half a minute she thinks she had drowned the handsome guy at the party and causing a scene during Ramadan. But everything is under control as it turns out that he had been faking. However, she may have committed a colossal mistake and if she cannot find a way to get out of the situation, she may have to do more than mend family alliances, friendships, and wet clothing. Her relatives see her as not Muslim enough, while her classmates see her as the Muslim kid. She has to go on a quest for her own identity as she feels split between her two cultures. At its core, the novel is a coming to age tale though it also tackles important issues of multiculturism, racism, violence against women, and safe sex from a sex-positive and feminist perspective.

Aminah’s “Tell Me How You Really Feel” tells the story of two girls with big dreams. Sana Khan is a straight-A student and cheerleader while Rachel Recht is a scholarship student who has always wanted to become a successful film director. Rachel is on a tight deadline and needs to find a lead for her film project. Her auditions show that Sana is the best candidate for the lead role in her film. But there is one problem, Rachel has never got along with Sana and in fact, she positively hates her guts. As freshmen, Sana had asked Rachel out and she thought it was a cruel joke and they had been at loggerheads since. The two girls now need to work together to perfect Rachel’s final project. Right from the start, it is pretty certain that there is a delicious tension that often leads to love and romance between two people. The novel is a Sapphic romantic comedy that combines a coming out story and the beauty of love as two women of color go from enemies and prejudice to romantic lovers.

Amina Mae Safi’s “This Is All Your Fault” is a voice-driven and smart young adult novel that follows the quest by three young women to save their business. Daniella, Imogen, and Rinn run an Indie bookstore together though the friends could not be any different in their outlooks and temperament. Daniella is a self-confessed cynic and closet poet. Rinn is a book blogger that loves to posts reviews of the books she likes on Instagram while trying to find a way to tell her crush of her feelings. Imogen is feeling angry and numb and does not know how to emote. The three are isolated each in their own bubble as they focus on their goals though as the story progresses there is a feeling that they have a lot in common. When Imogen, Daniella, and Rinn clock go to work on the first day of the summer they learn that they may have to close their bookstore. They cannot afford to let the only thing that binds them together and is a focal point of their life be taken away from the. They will do whatever it takes to save the Wild Nights Bookstore.

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