18.6.18

#BlogTour: NOT THE GIRLS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR by Aminah Mae Safi // #GuestPost + #Giveaway

Hello and welcome to my blog tour post for 

NOT THE GIRLS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR by Aminah Mae Safi!

This tour is hosted by Aimee, Always, who is a fabulous blogger and friend of mine! I have an ah-mazing guest post for you today from the author on redemption arcs so be sure to read that. But first, let's learn more about the book!


NOT THE GIRLS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR

Author: Aminah Mae Safi
Series: N/A
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: June 19, 2018

Summary:
Lulu Saad doesn't need your advice, thank you very much. She's got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It's all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can't find her way out of this mess soon, she'll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She'll have to go looking for herself.
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Your (or Your Character's) Favourite Redemption Arcs

One of the books that I referenced as I wrote Not the Girls You're Looking For was Melina Marchetta's Saving Francesca. It's about a girl who goes to a recently gender de-segreated school called St. Sebastian's. Francesca's mother is suffering from a depression that Francesca doesn't understand. Her three best friends are girls she doesn't like at all and who, for various reasons, are not all that cool. 

My favorite thing about Francesca is that she's a mess. She got a feminist mother but can't quite get behind feminism herself. She's got friends who are ready to have her back, but her own lack of confidence makes her an unsure friend. She develops feelings for a boy she's got a combative relationship with, only to discover the he's got a girlfriend.

Francesca starts the book as her worst self. As a reader, I love that she got to start in this place. This place where she was whinging about her mother, who was clearly going through a mental health criss. A place where she hated her old friends but was afraid to make new ones with less social caché. A place where the reader was set up to dislike her from the start.

I love that Francesca got to be her worst self on the page, because it meant I got to read as she grew into a better self. As she learned to forgive others and forgive herself. As she learned to have her own moments where she broke down, her own moments where she sought to find redemption for her bad behavior.

As a writer, I wanted to find a way to bring that thread into the story of Not The Girls You're Looking For. I wanted to write about girls who got to be as messy and imperfect as Francesca. Who screwed up with the people they loved— and the people that loved them— the most. I wanted to write about girls who got the opportunity to be messes because the best part about making big mistakes is learning that they don't define you, learning that you can move beyond them.

Francesca didn't have to be her worst self forever. Neither did Lulu or her friends. They got to grow; they got to learn.

I think stories of redemption appeal to us on a human level, because we're all hoping that we will be forgiven, that we can be forgiven, for the bad deeds the we have done. But what I loved about reading Francesca in Saving Francesca and what I loved about writing Lulu in Not The Girls You're Looking For is that it takes courage to face you worst self and decide not to stay there. Courage and conviction will see you through to the other side of forgiveness. And that's always worth celebrating.
Aminah Mae Safi is a Muslim-American writer who explores
art, fiction, feminism, and film. She loves Sofia Coppola movies, Bollywood endings, and the Fast and Furious franchise. She’s the winner of the We Need Diverse Books short story contest. Originally raised in Texas, she now lives in Los Angeles, California, with her partner, a cat bent on world domination, and another cat who’s just here for the snacks.


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