Book Review: How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi

Amazon.com: How It All Blew Up (9780593202876): Ahmadi, Arvin: Books

Title: How It All Blew Up

Author: Arvin Ahmadi

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Number of Pages: 304

Rating: B-

Recommended?: Yes


Fearing his parents’ reaction after bullies threaten to out him, Iranian-American teen Amir runs away to Italy and falls in with a tight-knit group of homosexual men. How It All Blew Up starts off when Amir and his family are detained by U.S. Customs after an argument about Amir’s sexuality on a plane and Amir is explaining the situation in the interrogation room. It was an entertaining, fast-paced read but I still had a lot of problems with it.

I found it just a little bit unbelievable that Amir is only in Italy for like five minutes before he’s taken under the wing of some very supportive, very good-looking gay men. Everything in Italy is very easy for an inexperienced 18-year-old American who barely knows the language. It was hard to tell the gay guys who befriend Amir apart and there was nothing particularly interesting about their characters.

Their roles and relationships to each other were extremely confusing and they were stereotypically dramatic and promiscuous (and yes, I am aware that the author is gay himself. I wasn’t offended by the portrayal or anything but it felt tiresome.) I understood that Amir was in a tough position but he still seemed really selfish to me. There wasn’t anything particularly distinctive about his character, either. The writing style of this book was appealing but at the same time, the subject matter let me down.

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