If You Could Be Mine
By: Sara Farizan
Publisher: Alqonquin Young Readers
Release Date: August 20, 2013
Thank you Algonquin and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The Short Summary:
Sahar and Nasrin are love each other. But they are in Iran and love of this kind is illegal. Is there any way they can be together?
The Summary (via Goodreads):
In this stunning debut, a young Iranian American writer pulls back the curtain on one of the most hidden corners of a much-talked-about culture.
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?
This is the kind of topic you see in shows like Taboo. This is the kind of book my mom would not be happy to find me reading. I don’t know about the laws of sex reassignment where I live but the issue of same-sex love is still kept under wraps. I’ve read my share of GLBT literature, but I’m still confused about this book.
The main theme would undoubtedly be being gay in a country where it is illegal to be gay. If anyone finds out about your sexual orientation, you’re dead. Seriously. As in you’d be hanging in the middle of town square with a thousand people looking at you and whispering to each other about the shame you have brought upon your family. This is not hard for me to imagine, things would probably take a similar turn in Pakistan (except for maybe the killing in town square part).
Kudos to Sara Farizan for coming up with such a brilliant plot. I would have given a higher rating if the execution had been just as good.
The weird thing is, I hated the two main characters of the story, Sahar and Nasrin. Sahar was an extremely negative character and it seemed as if she hated her partner most of the time. Nasrin, on the other hand, was selfish. Too spoiled to even think of losing the comforts life had provided her with.
I did like Sahar’s cousin Ali and her transsexual friend Parvin though. The characters in If You Could be Mine are very well fleshed out. Even the minor characters are very dimensional and not just flat fillers.
The ending was extremely realistic, thank God for that.
If You Could Be Mine is a book that had a lot of potential, and only a little of it was tapped. That said, it was interesting and wasn’t unrealistic at all. I sort of enjoyed it. Sort of.