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Literature / Tell Me How You Really Feel

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Left: Sana Right: Rachel
A 2019 lesbian YA romance novel by Aminah Mae Safi.

Sana Khan has had a crush on her classmate Rachel Recht for years. However, when she asked Rachel out, the latter thought it was a joke and rebuffed her, loathing Sana for it ever since. Sana still wants to get on Rachel's good side, and tries to help her on seeing Rachel struggling with film equipment. This ends with the pair colliding though and cracking a camera Rachel was carrying. Rachel's teacher orders Sana to help Rachel on her film project adapting The Iliad called Helen Of Troy, as a way to compenstate for this, infuriating Rachel. However, over time despite her misgivings the two become closer.



  • Boyish Short Hair: Rachel, a butch lesbian, has hair that's kept short with quite unruly curls.
  • Butch Lesbian: Rachel is a short-haired, tomboyish lesbian whose outfits always consist of t-shirts and jeans, with a blunt, abrasive personality (at first).
  • Disappeared Dad: Sana's father Massoud has not had much contact with her over the years, so she's cold toward him at the beginning when he comes back into her life. However, she slowly warms up to him somewhat after he makes an effort to be more there.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Rachel is annoyed by how attractive she finds Sana in her cheerleader outfit, finding it quite distracting.
  • Double Standard: Discussed by Sana and Rachel regarding men vs. women. They both hate this.
  • Informed Judaism: Rachel is Jewish, though beyond simply being told this no sign of that was given. This is justified as she mentions she's only a "High Holy Days" Jew and doesn't attend synagogue except for then.
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  • The Ingenue: Rachel describes Sana as one, and it fits her in a lot of ways. While probably not a virgin, she is caring, friendly and upbeat most of the time.
  • Jerk-to-Nice-Guy Plot: Rachel starts out pretty hostile and unkind to Sana, along with the people who work on her film project. Over time while getting closer to Sana she gets much nicer.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Sana is a very feminine lesbian, almost always wearing a skirt and blouse (if not in her cheerleader outfit), usually with her long hair groomed impeccably (which she puts into a ponytail), plus always making herself up.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Tomboy Rachel and Girly Girl Sana have a mutual attraction all throughout the book, until at last the pair act on their feelings, indicating they become a couple at the end.
  • Missing Mom: Rachel's mother abandoned her father and her many years before, claiming it was too much to handle for her being a parent. She's bitter about it.
  • Opposites Attract: Sana and Rachel are opposites in a lot of ways. The former is easygoing, friendly, has a very feminine style, comes from a wealthy family and the most religious Muslim of her relatives. Rachel is a terror to all the people working with her, keeps people at a distance, a tomboy, has a poorer lifestyle along with her father and only attends synagogue on the High Holy Days. Nonetheless, they fall for each other.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Sana generally dislikes swearing, and tells people not to. When she swears herself, it tips off her cheerleader squad mates she is very pissed off.
  • Queer Romance: The entire plot of the book involves Sana and Rachel falling for each other.
  • Their First Time: After going to a bar together, Sana and Rachel go into a back room where they have sex.
  • They Do: At the end, Rachel and Sana both admit their love for each other, finally starting a relationship.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Rachel is the tomboy, always wearing jeans and t-shirts with little care for her looks, while being devoted to her film work (a male-dominated profession, as they discuss). Sana on the other hand is the girly girl, a cheerleader who wants to be a doctor, and when not in her outfit always wears feminine clothing, while being very occupied with her looks.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Rachel never pays much attention to her looks; she's described as just wearing ordinary pants and shirts, with unruly hair. Nonetheless, she's also quite attractive to Sana, who finds her beautiful.
  • UST: For most of the story, Rachel and Sana have a clear mutual attraction which they don't act on.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: Rachel and her father live in a poor section of LA. She's embarrassed to bring Sana over because of their house being dirty inside, making a point of cleaning before she comes in.