With the situation the world is facing at the moment (I won’t mention the name xD) we have all had to take a step back from our usual holidaying plans abroad and probably had to completely cancel or maybe swap for a stay-cation instead. I know myself, I’ve been dreaming about a beach holiday for a while now, but that won’t be happening for a long time. So instead, I decided to read some books set abroad to try and help me get over the holiday blues (or it could possibly make me worse, who knows!!).
In order to find himself, Amir Azadi had to run away.
Eighteen year old Amir Azadi always knew coming out to his Muslim family would be messy – he just didn’t think it would end in an airport interrogation room. But when faced with a failed relationship and blackmail, running away to Rome is his only option. Right?
Soon, late nights with new friends and dates in the Sistine Chapel star to feel like second nature… until his old life come knocking on his door. Now Amir has to tell the truth to a US customs officer and his family, or risk losing who he truly is.
How it All Blew Up is predominantly set in Rome, a place I’ve never visited but would LOVE to go. Amir ran away to Rome to escape his problems at home, which I think we would all love to be able to do once in a while, especially somewhere like Rome. I loved exploring the city through Amir’s eyes, and the amount of pizza he eats – well, I’d definitely do the same! Who wants to see a colosseum when you can eat pizza right? Amir settles in pretty quick with a group of young, gay friends who want to help him. He soon realises though that things don’t always work out as good as they seem. There are some unexpected twists throughout with the group. Amir, for me, was so likeable; I was drawn to his character straight away, and his friends have all different personalities, so it is interesting to see the interaction between them all.
The narrative is split between two different stories. These both take place in the present – set inside a US Customs Office interrogation room and the other basically explaining how Amir and his family got into that situation. It is easy to follow and I love how the interrogation chapters include not only Amir but also his family, it is like they are reading you the story.
I did wish I could have had a bit more of a story once Amir had tried to sort everything out, maybe an extra chapter or two at the end resolving some of the issues. I would love to have seen the reaction to some of the things that he got up to in Rome, when the people in question had found out about what he had done, and why. But it does end in a cute way, I would have loved just that little bit more.
Overall it is a cute coming out story with a religious backdrop, seeing how a young boy of 18 can cope in a world he isn’t used to, on his own in a completely new city, running away from his problems, and possibly causing some more in the process.
If you enjoy reading books by authors like Simon James Green, then I would recommend.
Bye for now!
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