If You Could be Mine
Author: Sara Farizan
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Author: Sara Farizan
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
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?~Goodreads
If You Could Be Mine was unlike anything I’ve ever read. Not only was it culturally different from what I’m used to reading it was also thematically different. I was hooked from the start and couldn’t put it down until I finished.
The realism of all the feelings and struggles portrayed throughout the story were just so spot on to me.
I really liked the main character Sahar, for me, she was easy to relate to. The intensity, the worry and the insecurity that comes from loving someone so incredibly much but feeling as though you’re not worthy or good enough for them to love you the same, pulses out from every page. At times I wanted to reach through the page, shake her, and tell her that she IS worthy and the people she cares for are not. One of the things I liked most about Sahar was that even though she feels less than exceptional as times, she never comes across as self-deprecating. She is smart and selfless and kind and giving and brave. And I enjoyed that she used humor during her turmoil, because honestly, I tend to be the same way :P
(I still can’t get over the fact that she was willing to give up her entire identity in order to be with the girl she loves, that just blows my mind. The only slightly negative thing I could say about Sahar is that she reads as desperate at times, but it's easy to understand why.)
As for the love of Sahar’s life, Nasrin, she tends to come off as selfish, spoiled and bratty. There were times where I just…couldn't even. She started out fine, but the more I read the more I started to disliked her. Unfortunately, for her, she has to deal with the consequences of her actions. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
Some of the secondary characters were really great as well, like Sahar’s cousin Ali and his friend Parveen. Both were wonderful support to Sahar and unique and amazing in their own rights. I would totally read a book about each of them.
I think Sara Farizan laid out the LGBT world respectfully and compellingly. The detail of the changes in which transsexuals have to go though and the struggles they face added such a huge realism factor to this book. I applaud her so much for the way she described and approached it. Then again, I’ve never read a book that touches on the topic of transexuality before (feel free to recommend some in the comments!) so I could be way off base, but I personally think she did a good job.
To me this book read as really fast paced, which I enjoyed but some may see it as rushing through the storyline. Some of the dialect was hard for me to understand so I had to make an educated guess as to what it meant or look it up but I think it added another needed element to the story.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I literally did not stop reading until I finished. If You Could Be Mine was captivating and heart-rendering and I would definitely recommend it.
After finishing the book, I really wanted to get to know Nasrin some more. Even though she wasn't my favorite, maybe I was missing something and she was kind a enough to answer a few questions for us!
Hi Nasrin! Thank you so much for stopping by!
So, Sahar and you have been best friends for a long time, what is one of your favorite memories of the two of you together?
Nasrin: We have so many wonderful memories. You're going to make me cry thinking about some of them! She probably wouldn't want me to share our moments to the public. Honestly, I think some of our best times together when we were little kids, playing together on the playground or in my house, when things weren't so complicated.
What do you admire most about Sahar?
Nasrin: How much time do we have? :) One thing that I really adore about her is how smart she is and she never makes me feel like I'm not as smart as she is. Most people think I'm not so bright, and maybe they're not wrong considering some of the choices I make, but Sahar always treats me like her equal.
What would you say is your biggest fear or insecurity?
Nasrin: I'm worried about what happens to me when my looks fade. I also worry about being lonely sometimes. I am usually surrounded by lots of people, but still feel a kind of loneliness I can't describe. It's like something is always missing.
Early Bird or Night Owl?
Nasrin: Night Owl!
Nasrin: I love anything sweet.
Nasrin: I think Daniel Davari is so cute. He's the goaltender for the Iranian soccer team, but he grew up in Germany. I can't understand a word he says, but who cares
with a face like that!
Who cares, indeed ;)
If you want to learn more about Nasrin, enter below for a chance to win a copy of the book!