- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers (August 20, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1616202513
- ISBN-13: 978-1616202514
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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If You Could Be Mine: A Novel Hardcover – August 20, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-In this terrific debut novel, readers meet Sahar, a 17-year-old student who lives in Tehran. She is smart and ambitious, and she has a secret that could get her arrested or even killed; she is a lesbian and is in love with her best friend. When Nasrin's parents arrange for her to marry a young male doctor, Sahar knows that she and Nasrin will no longer be able to be with each other. When desperate Sahar meets transsexual Parveen at a party given by her gay cousin, she thinks she sees a way to be with Nasrin. In Iran, it is not illegal to be transsexual, as it is to be gay or lesbian, and the state will even pay for sex reassignment surgery because it is seen as a necessary medical procedure. Sahar pursues sex reassignment, dreaming of marrying Nasrin even though she knows in her heart that she doesn't really want to become a man. As Nasrin's wedding approaches, Sahar realizes its inevitability and must decide what she is going to do. Farizan's portrayal of Sahar and her predicament is sensitive and heartbreaking. Even less-sympathetic characters, such as Nasrin and her parents, are portrayed in a nuanced manner; in the culture Farizan depicts, the girls' fears that their romantic relationship will become known are realistic and understandable. Rich with details of life in contemporary Iran, this is a GLBTQ story that we haven't seen before in YA fiction. Highly recommended.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Teens Sahar and Nasrin have loved each other since they were young girls, but homosexuality is a crime in Iran, and the two girls could be severely punished, even executed, for their romantic love for one another. When an arranged marriage for Nasrin threatens the girls’ secret relationship, Sahar vows to take action, but what can she do? Desperate, she decides to have sex-reassignment surgery to become a man so that she can marry her friend. Surprisingly, such surgery is legal in Iran and even paid for, at least in part, by the government, and Sahar also has the caring support of a transsexual friend. Still, will she be able to follow through, and, if not, what will the future hold for the two devoted friends? Farizan’s first novel is an accomplished and compassionate look at a heartbreaking situation and the possibility of an unlikely but plausible solution. Throughout, the author presents a groundbreaking, powerful depiction of gay and transsexual life in Iran and its similarities to and differences from that of the West. An intimate look at life in modern-day Iran and its surprising Westernization, even though much of this culture is clandestine. Grades 10-12. --Michael Cart
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Top Customer Reviews
In the book we get to see different things, from her wealthy friend Nasrin's home and family, to her cousin Ali and his underground crew of gays, lesbians, transgenders, etc. There was variety and I appreciated that. I found that I was actually surprised at some things. One thing was that Western culture has permeated the country even though so much of it is illegal. People smuggle pretty much anything and everything into the country from illegal movies to alcohol. They have illegal satellites to watch television they aren't suppose to watch. It kind of surprised me at how much it was the 'norm' to do this. I also loved just learning a little about the culture. This wasn't something that was delved into very much, but from the meals she cooked, to the clothing they wore, it was all fascinating to me. I think it's important for stories like this to reach our teens.
I really enjoyed Sahar a lot. She had a great voice and was so easy to 'get'. I understood her personality really well. She was blunt and honest, but held her tongue (just barely) when she really needed to. I felt like she was a bit blinded by her love for Nasrin though and this was sort of her downfall. She decides she needs to have a sex change so she can marry Nasrin, but Nasrin is already engaged to a guy and they are to be married very soon. When people try to talk sense into Sahar she refuses to listen. She feels this is her only option. While I 'get' this, it was slightly frustrating to read. But this is her journey, she has to find it inside herself to do the right thing. I do like that it was talked about, the difference in just being gay/lesbian and actually feeling like you are trapped in the wrong body and should be the opposite sex. Because being gay doesn't mean that you are trapped as the wrong sex, and some people may not really understand that.
Nasrin was a character I had mixed feelings about. She's been spoiled her whole life and maybe doesn't appreciate Sahar as much as she should, but it's clear she does love her. I understand her personality and who she is and it's not really a negative to the story, but I didn't love her. Ali is Sahar's cousin and he's gay and actually flaunts it somewhat. He is a very fun character and I would love to read a book all about him. It would be SO fun! But I also want to see his HEA. I also loved Sahar's father. There's a bit of trouble between them since he's been in mourning for so long and has forgotten to live and love and so Sahar and he have a few things to work through. I enjoyed this aspect of the book and am so happy she has a kind and gentle father in a country where men can do so much harm to women if they choose.
This is a short book that I cruised through in only a couple hours. It was hard to put down just because I was enjoying it so much. This book does have some bad language and talks about mature themes like sex and some descriptions regarding having a sex change. I'm not sure I would say it's for mature readers only, but be cautioned that there are some mature themes.
I'm very glad I read this book and I really hope that more consider reading it. I think it should be in every library.
Also - If you liked this book, you should check out "Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel" by Sara Farizan (same author).