If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan.
Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: August 2013
List Price: $16.95
Review: In Asia lies a culture that is foreign to the rest of the world. Although Iran is a country that is seen throughout the news, Sara Farizan takes readers into the more obscure parts of Iranian culture in her debut novel, If You Could Be Mine. Sahar, a seventeen-year-old intelligent student with a bright future ahead of her, is plagued by her love for her best friend. Sahar has been in love with Nasrin nearly her entire life. They've grown up together, loving one-another, making promises of a romantic future. But, in Iranian culture, homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment or even death.
Sahar is madly in love with Nasrin who is more or less the selfish, rich girl. But Nasrin returns Sahar's love. Sahar is the only person who truly understands her. However, when Nasrin's parents announce Nasrin's impending marriage, Sahar's life is turned upside down. No longer can she stand being the hidden figure of Nasrin's lust. She wants more. Tormented by Reza's obvious love for Nasrin and Nasrin's acceptance of their marriage, Sahar turns to more dramatic ways to solve her dilemma. Because Sahar cannot live a life of homosexuality in Iran, she turns to the only alternative. It is not a crime to be a man trapped in a woman's body. Sex change is legal because these feelings are accepted as "nature's mistake". Once Sahar is a man, Nasrin and she will be able to be together legally. But will she be too late? Will Nasrin already be married? Will she turn away from Reza for her? Is Nasrin worth giving up her true self?
If you Could Be Mine is a thought-provoking novel. Not only does it open the reader's eyes to the culture if Iran, but it also shows what it means to truly love someone - anyone, and it shares with readers the pain and suffering homosexual and transgender people face in Iran. As the understanding for an alternative life style is more and more accepted in the rest of the world, it is disheartening to see how it is perceived in other corners of the world. In a fresh, respectful manner, Farizan shares the pain that is faced by people who want to act on their true desires but who can't because of the risk of death. Young adult girls in particular will be drawn into the love felt between Sahar and Nasrin, and they will feel the pain as Sahar is faced with the most challenging decisions of her life.
Review written by Margo Nauert (6th grade teacher).
We would like to thank Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy of If You Could Be Mine for this review.
Have you read If You Could Be Mine? How would you rate it?