Cover Image: This Is All Your Fault

This Is All Your Fault

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On paper, this book sounded like something I would like. There girls, one day, save the independent book store. For fans of Empire Records? Check, Check, Check. I LOVE Empire Records. I watch it every year on Rex Manning day. 

The problem is it doesn't feel like it's for fans of Empire Records. It seems like it IS Empire Records. With some minor changes. 

I'm not 100% sure how a book that has so many blatant similarities isn't being pegged for plagiarism. So, massive spoilers ahead, but....

From the very beginning of the story, my spidey senses were tingling. We have a manager Jo (who is a lady, unlike Joe the male manager from the movie). Jo has taken in Eli (who is basically Lucas without the turtleneck sweater). Eli is left to close the store and he discovers that the owner of the property/store is selling the building and property so he uses the store's $9000 to buy some Air Jordans to try and flip to help raise enough money to save the store. (Sound familiar, Empire Records fans? It should, because Lucas steals $9000 and loses it in Atlantic City.)

There is also an artsy kid named AJ who has hair that flops into his eyes, perfectly worn clothing, and deep dark eyes. (I'll give you time to Google "AJ Empire Records"....got it? See an issue? There's also Imogen a scooter riding lesbian (who we only know is a lesbian because she dumps her girlfriend randomly at one point--much like Deb dumps her boyfriend in the movie) who shaves her head in the staff bathroom....We have Rina (who is basically Corey) a bookstagramer, and Danielle (who is sort of Gina and also a Rupi Kaur-type poet with stage fright ). (There's no Mark, which is a bummer because Mark and his band "Marc Sucks" is one of my favorite parts in the movie.) Also an appearance by a super minor character named Warren (but he doesn't try to rob the store.)

There is even an appearance by a sleazy male author who shows up to do a book signing, but is ousted as a creep. His assistant quits and she and Jo kind of flirt with each other. Rina and Imogen become friends in the bathroom after Rina freaks out. Then the band of misfit teens band together to throw an event to raise money to save the book store complete with someone saying "Damn the Man! Save Wild Nights". 

The story doesn't end up quite exactly like Empire Records (even though there is an employee dance party on the roof), but the majority of the book made me feel a little (at first) like I was reading Empire Records Fan-Fic...then it just became "I think I'm reading Empire Records...with minor changes. WTF is even happening right now?"

TBH, I'm not sure how this isn't plagiarism.
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“[…] she always felt most like herself when she was talking about a book. This was her natural state, really. Books, she could do. Books, she loved.”

Aminah Mae Safi is finally back with an exciting new hit after her phenomenal novel, Tell Me How You Really Feel. This Is All Your Fault is set to be released on October 13th and, in broad terms, it could be considered the bookworm version of the 1995 movie, Empire Records. How could we ask for more?

Following the staff of Wild Nights Bookstore and Emporium over the course of a day, This Is All Your Fault is a refreshing exploration of the world of literature outside of the pages of a book. Through the portrayal of the many different types of reading experiences —from the world of booktube and learning to love reading from your parents, to being the one to produce pieces of writing— Aminah Mae Safi is able to show how literature is not limited to the mere act of reading; it is a way of living.

Small, independent bookstores are a place of community, where booklovers are bound together, even if their differences are abysmal. Such is the case of our three main characters. This Is All Your Fault is also an ode to the reading community, to novels and poetry, to people with nothing in common joining forces for the greater good. And it is magical. Despite the premise of the of the book being a bittersweet one —as the plot is driven by the bookstore closing— the story doesn’t read as such. Above all, This Is All Your Fault is a celebration of literature and books and the importance of keeping bookstores alive.

While the bookstore staff is made up of five employees and Jo, their manager, we mostly get to see what is happening through the alternating perspectives of three of them: Rinn, Daniella, and Imogen. Eli and AJ, the two other employees, barely have any presence in the story, but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. In fact, it would have been lovely to know a little bit more about them, as they are barely there for the most part of the narration. Our three protagonists, however, take the spotlight by storm, with their charming, rich and complex personalities.

In line with the literary theme, the moral of This is All Your Fault is also to not judge a book by its cover. Rinn, Daniella, and Imogen could not be more different…or so they think. Imogen always keeps her walls up and has a nickname at the ready for each person she meets. Rinn, Little Miss Perfect, is all sunshine and smiles, while Daniella, The Self-Appointed Coolest Girl in the World, is snarky and standoffish. But, in the matter of the single day they have to join forces and save Wild Nights, they begin to realise no one truly resembles the mask they wear in front of others. One should never make assumptions of people they know little about. The happiest person can be the one who struggles the most, the most solitary person can be the best at caring for others, and the most popular person can be the loneliest.

We all know and love the enemies-to-lovers trope, but here Aminah Mae Safi gifts us with its rarest and probably most heartwarming version: enemies-to-friends. It is beautiful to follow how close the three girls become and how much they grow in a matter of a few hours. Despite coming from diverse cultural backgrounds and having gone through different life experiences, the three girls don’t hesitate for a second to leave their differences aside to work together to fulfil their common goal. You will have to pick up this breathtaking novel to know whether they get to save the bookstore or not, but rest assured that their lasting friendship is a guarantee.

Aminah Mae Safi also takes a brilliant opportunity to thoughtfully tackle some relevant topics that more often than not also influence the reading community, such as white privilege, the importance of celebrating diversity in literature, raising awareness on mental health issues, or denouncing sexism and abuse of power. All of these result in the addition of a supplementary layer of meaningfulness to a novel that is already full of meaning because This Is All Your Fault teaches a valuable lesson: things don’t always have to go as planned to be okay.

Last, but not least, like Wild Nights, This Is All Your Fault is a bookstore in itself. Get ready and keep your Goodreads app open at all times, because after finishing this novel, you will have an entire TBR list to enjoy. Not only is each chapter named after famous poetic lines, but the characters themselves offer book recommendations not only to their clients, but also to the reader throughout the novel. From classic authors like Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, or Sylvia Plath, to contemporary authors like Madeline Miller, Rabih Alameddine, or Ira Mukhoty, Aminah Mae Safi lends her voice to a great variety of present and past authors.

This Is All Your Fault is a compulsory read for every single person that considers themselves a bookworm to become entangled with the literary world Aminah Mae Safi has to offer and rejoice in the world of literature in its broadest scope while enjoying this delightful narration. Celebrate with Rinn, Daniella, and Imogen the beauty of unexpected friendships and the community of readers that bookstores and social media have built, and become a part of Wild Nights Bookstore and Emporium.
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dnf @ 60%. was expecting a queer story with some really great female friendship and am just NOT getting that.
- the decision one of the characters make to "save" the bookstore is... so ridiculous & unbelievable
- I found all of the characters so unlikeable. going off of me expecting some good female friendships in here, NONE of the characters even like each other so it's really hard for me to like them, feel connected, root for them, etc. also, all of the characters keep saying how the bookstore is their home & their coworkers are their family and like... where? when? y'all hate each other?
- so far there has been a very short scene where a character breaks up with her girlfriend and based on other reviews, that seems to be the only LGBT aspect of this when I was expecting a lot more
- super slow moving

just really not jiving with me, don't think this author is for me!
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Another excellent entry from Safi. A wonderful exploration of what it means to be a young woman navigating the world. All three female protagonists are engaging and three dimensional, each displaying a diverse perspective that feels realistic and grounded. The boys felt less dimensional, however. Evenly paced, engaging, and a delightful read. Overall a wonderful retelling and much-needed update to Empire Records.
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I enjoyed getting to know the employees of this bookstore and the lengths they would go to to save the place they love. I will say I don’t think the one-day format really worked for me; it made the book feel really slow and draggy at times. I did enjoy the characters and the way that hard issues were handled. Will be reading more from this author!
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The focus on the struggles each point of view was facing was well written and explored. I thought the plot and setting were unique and contributed to the characters personalities well. I’m not quite sure why everybody is excited about this being an lgbtq novel because only one of the characters is in the community and it didn’t feel like it provided any importance to the storyline or her character development. It felt like it was a trivial fact of Imogen’s life and could have been better explained and a part of Imogen’s storyline if it was as valuable to the author as other reviewers were thinking. The first half of the book was very slow and difficult to get through. I had no clue where the plot was going aside from saving the bookstore and had little interest in any of the characters. The second half rectified the whole book for me. Multiple plot points popped up and the characters gained my interest. The pace picked up and paired well with the budding plot points. I loved how these teenage girls took matters into their own hands to come up with a unique solution to a devastating problem. They were constantly active in attempting to save the store and didn’t give up! Lastly, I appreciate that all three main character came together and were able to discuss their internal troubles and provide support for one another.
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As a librarian, living in a world of books, I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of this book and how hard the characters fight to save this bookshop. 
I really liked how Safi touches on mental health and how okay it is to be the way you are. 
I also liked the diversity of the characters in this book. 
I think teens and adults alike will like this one! 

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!
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Some highlights for me after finishing This is All Your Fault are the pacing, the variety of relatable characters, and the overall appeal. This is the kind of book that teenagers crave. It has a little bit of everything, including an unexpected problem that only the teens can creatively try to solve. I like that Safi gives the reader honesty and hope on all sorts of levels. There are multiple characters with whom teen readers and some adults may see parts or all of themselves. There are some serious topics, including an assault on one female character, that are addressed as naturally and fluidly as I expect many teens might deal with them. Readers should know that there is a decent amount of swearing, and an implied level of normalcy and acceptance for the teen characters who sneak into the office of their boss to use and share her vape pen(s). There are a few errors in the book that will likely be cleared up by the time the book goes to print.
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I am so excited. I read This Is All Your Fault by Aminah Mae Safi and I have MULTIPLE books by Safi to read and look forward to. You see, I loved This Is All Your Fault. It’s got a few elements I truly love and they combine in such a winning way. Plus, this book really just spoke to me. 

This Is All Your Fault is mostly set in a twenty four hour timeframe. It follows main characters Daniella, Rinn, and Imogene as they try to save the Wild Nights Bookstore that they work at. The girls are each very different. Daniella is a white blonde girl who is angry and writes poetry. Rinn is half Mexican and a book influencer. Imogen is Middle Eastern and experiencing bouts of depression – she shaves her head. The girls are not all best friends and barely get along. However, a lot can happen over twenty four hours.

I loved that this book is positive about therapy. No mental health shaming here. I loved that there is SOME romance, but it is not the whole story. The diversity feels real and not shoehorned in. The characters are all so well written and multidimensional. They’re interesting people and by the end I truly came to care for them. I also loved that this book ends with friendships and I just thought that was beautiful. There’s so many elements that make This Is All Your Fault worth your time – it’s a fast read, the characters are flawed but treated with dignity by the author. This is just a great book, friends. I am pumped to read more from Safi.
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As a fan of Empire Records, I had huge expectations for this book.

The story follows Rinn, Daniella, and Imogen as they work together and try to save their bookstore in one day. The three characters are so different from each other, yet they're all strong and determined female characters that I really enjoyed reading. Sometimes with multiple POV's, I tend to like certain characters more than others, but all 3 of them were written nicely.

Things I loved:
-Diversity! Wooo!
-The portrayal of mental health.
-The setting! Set in bookstore, does it get much better than that?
-The fast-paced writing style.
-Realistic dialogue from the teenagers POV.

Overall, This Is All Your Fault was an entertaining read, and I recommend it.
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I will freely admit that my teenage love of the movie Empire Records probably makes me biased, but I absolutely adored this book. Safi is an immensely talented writer, and with every book she seems to get even better. All three main characters (and Eli!) had distinct personalities and narration styles and I wanted to spend more narrative time with ALL of them, rather than preferring one over another. The nods to the movie were artfully integrated. It was a hilarious romp, while also artfully dealing with characters’ depression, anxiety, sexual assault, and very real trauma. I think will be a great pick for fans of YA contemporary, bookish readers, and fans of Empire Records, odd workplace stories, and stories in a limited time frame/location.
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This was a really fun and sweet story. I love stories with a short setting, and this book was set over the course of one workday. The cast of characters was really fleshed out and diverse. 

A boy finds out his beloved workplace, an indie bookstore, is due to close, and in trying to fix it, he makes it worse really fast. So begins a day filled with spilled secrets and frantic plans between the two boys that work there, but especially between the three girls. This book is beautifully girl-centered. Angry girls, hurting girls, perfect-but-not-perfect girls. Each of the three girls go through character development from different starting points so I think there will be many readers who relate to at least one of them. 

There were just a time or two where the social awareness felt a little forced, but for the most part this book’s lessons are taught naturally and flowed well with the plot. 

This book had that movie-like feel where almost every scene was outlandish and things went way left instead of going right. But it was fun to follow and had lots of humor and heart. 

Content warnings for depression and suicidal thoughts and on-page sexual harassment.
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This book has a premise that sounds very simple, but the story it tells is so beautiful and profound.
The 3 POV characters are all very different from each other and don’t even like each other very much, but they’re more similar to each other than they know (to the point where one of them reads another one’s poetry on the internet and doesn’t know it’s her).
The characters are also so well-rounded, especially for people whose lives we don’t see outside of the bookstore they work at. We only follow these characters for 24 hours but we know them so well by the end. And of course 2 of the main characters are the very sassy unapologetic sort that Aminah Mae Safi writes so well.
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As a former bookseller at an indie bookstore in Chicago, I can't tell you how Amazing this book is! I loved all the characters, but especially Danielle, Imogen and Rhinn It was just really nice to read about the Love of a bookstore (And books, obviously) bringing people together. I though that the author did a great job nailing down the wonderfulness (And not so wonderfulness) of working at a bookstore. This is a great, heartwarming read and I definitely recommend this book!
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This story brought me so much joy! The main POV characters are very relatable and you’ll root for them all. The story takes place within 24 hours, making it a binge-able page-turner. They all have to process that the bookstore they all work at and love is closing. This novel perfectly encapsulates a love of books and the magic of bookstores. One obstacle leads into another as they all race against time to do what they can to save their safe haven. It’s here, it’s queer and it’s filled with existential fear, in the best possible way. When I was younger I rarely felt seen in young adult fiction, I am glad that the generation below me will have books like this one.  I look forward to reading Safi's previously published works. I often have issues with how YA books I've read can portray mental health, but Safi really does it justice here. A small detail that makes this book different from others is that even the side characters feel real, fleshed out and authentic. This book has come out at the perfect time, it's light, but also hard-hitting, and it reminds us why we must come together and how we can. This book is out June 9th. Underneath all the obstacles is a joyous and hopeful message. Go pick it up, you’ll want to give it a big hug when you reach the last page.
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I could definitely tell Safi enjoyed Empire Records. Like, a lot. The book at times toed the line between homage and ripoff, but in the end, it told enough of its own story, and allowed its characters to shine through and evolve over the course of the novel enough to assume its own place as a work of thoughtful fiction.
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