Young Adult > Contemporary | Realistic Fiction
Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.
So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.
Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?
For some reason I liked the secondary characters more than the MC and her love interest. I could not see what Sahar saw in Nasrin (for this girl is vain, spoiled, and selfish). And Sahar was very adamant to anyone who wants to help her. The stubbornness was too much for my liking. Nevertheless, the setting of If You Could Be Mine is enough to intrigue me.
Tehran is a dangerous place for a homosexual like Sahar. And that is not even accurate, because she does not categorize herself as gay, she just loves her best friend Nasrin, who just happened to be a girl. Does that make her queer? And so it went on, Sahar in constant turmoil – whether she should go into operation to make her a man, and finally marry Nasrin legally, or just accept that she and Nasrin has no future together as a couple.
I found it brave – books such as this – to actually deal with taboo social issues. It made me glimpse on how hard life can be for people to hide who and what they are, for fear of persecution. even death.
If You Could Be Mine is interesting, though not moving enough for me to actually love it. But Sahar’s cousin Ali was dear to me, and her father as well. These supporting characters temper my anger when Sahar turns bratty, because she cannot have Nasrin. Not the way she wanted.
The ending was predictable, but the open note for Sahar’s is quite nice. Good for her, I thought.
Thank you Netgalley and Algonquin Books for granting my galley request.
IF YOU COULD BE MINE by Sara Farizan
Published August 20th 2013 by Algonquin Books