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Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi feat. Justina Chen

57 Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi feat. Justina Chen

This week we chat with author Justina Chen about Gilmore Girls, Firefly, and of course our featured title, Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi. (Transcript)

57 Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi feat. Justina Chen


In today’s episode…

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

Rachel Recht is the next great filmmaker. At least, she will be as soon as she can get her movie finished. She works hard not to rely on anyone—especially not Sana, the beautiful cheerleader who asked her out freshman year as what had to be some kind of cruel joke. Sana is the picture of the perfect daughter. She may not know what she wants to do next year—does she want to go to Princeton like her family believes, or fly halfway across the world for an internship in India?—but she knows she never quite got over her crush on Rachel. When Sana is the only one who can save Rachel’s movie from mediocrity, it’s sure sparks will fly—but whether it’s hatred or love, neither of them know yet.


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Episode highlights…


*0:47 We chat with Justina about her career, including her novel Lovely, Dark, and Deep which we featured in episode 24 of the podcast…

*4:56 …and about things that influence her work, like Firefly

*7:58 This book is dedicated to Amy Sherman-Palladino (creator of Gilmore Girls), so we talk about how our knowledge of GG impacted how we thought about these characters


Things We Like a Latte

Danielle – Reign, on the CW

Justina Firefly

Amanda Good Omens, on HBO





*18:54 Helen of Troy! We loved this thread throughout the novel

*21:32 Sana’s beauty, and femme erasure

*24:24 Terrible(?) teachers – we disagree about Rachel’s mentor, Douga



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More ideas and resources for teachers and librarians…

Something we mention in the episode is that people often make assumptions about Rachel because of her physical appearance. Because she is a seen as a ‘pretty’ and ‘popular’ girl, her queerness goes unnoticed. Even though she’s done nothing to hide it. This phenomenon is sometimes called ‘femme erasure’. If you aren’t familiar with the term, this article from Pride Pocket is a great place to start. From there should check out 4 Ways to Support Queer Femmes from Everyday Feminism. It’s a set of comics aimed at educating people on what femme erasure is and making them aware of behaviors that contribute to it.

If this episode inspires you to read more from Aminah Mae Safi, check out her first novel, Not the Girls You’re Looking For, or her short story in the incredible collection Fresh Ink which we featured in episode 26 of the podcast.

57 Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi feat. Justina Chen

Get in touch with us on Instagram and Twitter at @yacafepodcast or email us at We look forward to hearing from you!




Hosts: Danielle Hall (who blogs at

          & Amanda Thrasher (a booklover extraordinaire)


Guests: Justina Chen, author. Find her at

Producer: Leila Hobbs

Music: Matt McCammon


Thank you to Fiewel & Friends for providing us with the ARC!

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