Sunday, 6 May 2018

I Was Born For This // finding something to believe in

I Was Born For This is another Alice Oseman book that I totally adored. Like Radio Silence, it took me a little while to get into the writing and the story, but once I did I completely fell in love with these characters and their chaotic lives.



Fereshteh 'Angel' Rahimi is obsessed with the teen rock band The Ark. It is what gives her purpose, and she doesn't know how to love anything else. Jimmy Kaga-Ricci is The Ark's frontman. He is living his dream, but his life is changing faster than he can catch up with. Over the course of the novel, the lives of these two characters collide, as they discover more about themselves and what they believe in.

When I first heard that Alice Oseman was writing about a British-Iranian main character I kind of freaked out. Because that's me. I've never actually read a book with an Iranian protagonist before. There are hardly any, and I think I always felt a little scared of seeking them out. But Oseman's books feel safe and relatable to me, and she didn't let me down with Angel. Even though her culture wasn't central to the story, just reading that her real name and seeing the terms of endearment her parents would use for her felt huge to me. Plus having her be a nerd girl was a big deal - because that was me too. I only wish I had this when I was younger, because maybe then I would have realised sooner that my life didn't have to be split into two halves.

I also adored Jimmy. I think that out of the two narrators, he was the one I related to more. I've always been the nerdy fangirl, but never quite to Angel's level (I never got attached to real people, only stories and fictional characters). Although I don't share any of Jimmy's life experiences, his anxiety was very vivid and real. The constant dread of terrible things happening can be felt by anyone, but I never considered it from the perspective of someone so high profile. He's unsociable and has serious issues with trust and self-worth. The ways in which he and Angel parallel each other whilst being so different is brilliant, and I loved discovering the unexpected connections between them.

Oseman manages to capture the intensity of teenage existential dread in every book she writes. These kids are ordinary despite the extraordinary. They drink Capri-Suns and watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine and play Cards Against Humanity and pretend to be drunker than they actually are, and it's these ordinary, messy lives that make me connect to the characters so deeply.

Like with all of Oseman's books, this is a story about friendship and finding your path. It's about figuring out your identity when life seems to be falling apart. But most of all, I Was Born For This is all about having faith and something to believe in, even if that something is yourself.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

★★★★★

YA Contemporary

 Standalone

 Angel is Iranian and Muslim. Jimmy is Indian-Italian, trans, gay, and Christian.

stalking, transphobia, alcoholism, blood, panic attacks

4 comments:

  1. So this is the first review I've read for this book and now I am very keen! I absolutely adored Radio Silence - it is one of the few books where I feel like I really saw myself in a character (the other being Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell). I wasn't sure about the premise of this one, but I know I will give it a go anyway!

    I'm so glad that you were able to see yourself in this book, Helia! It's such a special thing to read a book with a character like you, and I'm glad you weren't let down by the rep in I Was Born for This.

    Thank you for the lovely review! I can't wait to read it ^.^

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    1. I'm glad I helped sell this one for you, Chiara! Radio Silence means the world to me so I was a little bit nervous for I Was Born For This, but I really shouldn't have been. The premise wasn't something I could totally relate to but the characters were beautiful and I want to wrap them all up in a blanket.

      I'm so happy to have found some rep for myself in IWBFT, so thank you! I've read books that represented me in other ways before but never found anything that represented my background, and I'm really grateful for it.

      I hope you enjoy reading this one <3

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  2. I think sometimes having the cultural not central to the story but just something that characters have revolving around them or in the background can be so effective! Because it's the reality. Our culture influences our lives but isn't actually our lives, so there is some difference and it seems well portrayed here. You're right as well - we need more Iranian main characters! I like the sound of this one and I love rock bands included in my books for some reason :D I might have to read this one!

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    1. I agree 100%. I'm glad I Was Born For This acknowledged that people aren't defined by their culture, and that it embraced so much diversity without it ever being questioned. I definitely needed that as a kid, but I'm so happy I could find it in this book. If you like rock bands in books I'd really recommend I Was Born For This. But I think I would recommend any of Alice Oseman's books anyway regardless, because I love them a lot! Happy reading :D

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