1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $35.00

Buy for $35.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda goes to Italy in Arvin Ahmadi's newest incisive look at identity and what it means to find yourself by running 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, bullies, and blackmail, running away to Rome is his only option. Right? 

Soon, late nights with new friends and dates in the Sistine Chapel start to feel like second nature...until his old life comes knocking on his door. Now, Amir has to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth to a US Customs officer, or risk losing his hard-won freedom. 

At turns uplifting and devastating, How It All Blew Up is Arvin Ahmadi's most powerful novel yet, a celebration of how life's most painful moments can live alongside the riotous, life-changing joys of discovering who you are.

©2020 Arvin Ahmadi (P)2020 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"Arvin Ahmadi has written a novel that is authentic, hilarious, and heart-wrenching all at once. A unique point of view combined with riveting storytelling, How It All Blew Up will grab you from the first page and won't let go." (Angie Thomas, number one New York Times best-selling author of The Hate U Give and On the Come Up)

"Ahmadi’s writing is gripping, taking readers through the myriad emotions a gay Muslim teen experiences growing up in a country whose government is looking for an excuse to demonize Muslims." (Kirkus Reviews)

"A fully realized, deeply sympathetic character.... The result is compelling. (Booklist)  

What listeners say about How It All Blew Up

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    48
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    51
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    40
  • 4 Stars
    19
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best Book I’ve Read in a While

I never write reviews for books. But this one calls for it. Everyone should read this heart-warming, funny, and authentic story. This story is as much about sexuality and religion as it is about connection, love, adventure and stepping into your full self. No matter how dark or scary life gets...no matter the curveballs, this story reminded me that it’s equally as beautiful. That everyone should face their fears eventually, embrace uncertainty, love themselves fully.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A very good story served up poorly

This book was about a Persian American boy who fled to Rome rather than telling them he was gay. During his summer in Rome, he meets interesting people and grows up a bit to accept himself. However there were some major problems with the book. The first was how the author set up the story. Instead of Amir telling his story in full, the book set up everything from the point of an interrogation room where each family member added bits to the story. This made the flow of the book quite jumpy. Second, most of the characters other than Amir were never fleshed out enough to feel like I knew one guy from another. Amir's parents had more form and life than the rest of other characters, so it wasn't hopeless. Third, no one in an interrogation room would tell such a detailed story to strangers, especially officers who wouldn't care. I was often so incredulous of Amir's story to the officer, that I was pulled out of the story. Finally, most of the voice acting was quite good. However, the person reading Amir tended to drift in his accents, which led to confusion.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

There better be sequels

In a panic over being blackmailed and on the verge of being outed to his conservative American-Iranian family, the main character, Amir, makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to flee ... to Rome.

There's no MM romance here, just a gay coming-of-age story, a real adventure that's as much fun as the romp Oliver and Elio had in Rome in "Call Me By Your Name."

It was enough to make me want to jump on a plane and spend a month in the city. But listening to this book is probably more fun than an actual trip to Rome. The characters in this book are that intoxicating.

The novel is also fun in that it opens with a bang and unfolds in an inventive format, a series of flashbacks told by Amir and his family as they are being interrogated in different rooms at a U.S. airport after having an in-flight family spat.

So good.

Oh, and the narrators were excellent!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The only way to hear this story is to listen...

It’s hard to be different sometimes, and it’s scary, and you want to run. You want to run from people you think might reject you. You want to run so you don’t have to explain the you that you haven’t figured out yet yourself. Some people will not understand you. That will be hard, but you never know unless you give them a chance.

Listen via audio, the full cast performance makes this story, and the nature of it... trust me when I say it’s worth a listen.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I needed this book!

There are so many ways I relate to Amir’s story: growing up gay in a culture and religion that aren’t accepting, escaping to Europe and finding a chosen family there, experiencing true romance in a city filled with cafes, plazas and nights out with new friends that blurred into mornings, returning home to the US because of the importance of family, and reconciling an authentic life with a hidden one. The format in which the story is written weaves in and out between a narrative and narration by Amir and his family in a situation at the airport that is all too familiar for people who share similar names and backgrounds. Through this book, we the readers are gifted the Iranian cultural expression of storytelling and the skill of its author to present such a treasure to us. I look forward to listening to this one more times to come!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it :D

This was honestly really good, the first page got me hooked and the book was really funny.

**spoilers**:

The part that got me the most emotional was when Amir was telling Jahan he lied about his family kicking him out.
The Sistine chapel part was also really well written and I felt transported, even though I've only seen photos.

.