Published by Alqonquin Young Readers on 20 August 2013
Genres: YA Romance, YA LGBTQ
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 week has been equal part relaxing and equal part stressful. I’m back home with my family as my brother’s getting married this weekend!
Speaking of love & marriage (why yes, I loved watching that show & of course I love me some Frank Sinatra!), the book I have for you today focuses on forbidden love. I was very excited to finally read this one. Read on below for my thoughts 🙂
Ownership: Borrowed from library
Genre: YA Contemporary / LGBTQA+
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Price: $16.95 (hardcover) | $9.95 (paperback)
Place: Amazon, B & N, Book Depository, GoodReads, IndieBound
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan was on my TBR list for #DiverseAThon. However, I didn’t get a chance to read it until after the read-a-thon was already over. One of the reasons I chose this novel was because I’ve never read a novel with a lesbian MC. I’ve read a few books with gay MCs, but for some reason I’ve never picked up a lesbian MC book. I’m so glad that I chose this one thought! Not only do we get to see a narrative told from a lesbian POV, but we also get an insight into life in Iran and the struggles of the LGBTQA+ community.
Farizan takes readers right into the thick of things. I instantly felt for Sahar and her situation. Being in love with your best friends for years and not being able to acknowledge that love publicly is horrible. I quickly connected with Sahar and held on tight for the ride of emotions I knew this book would take me on.
While Sahar seemed to manage her secret love of/relationship with her BFF Nasrin, she quickly came to realize that time was running out–that marriage or college was on the horizon for both of them. It was heartbreaking having to see Sahar go through what she had to in this story. What I really loved the most about Sahar was her capacity to love and then fight for that love.
Sahar is introduced to a way that might be able to save her relationship with Nasrin. In Iran, having a sex reassignment surgery is legal. Sahar could have the surgery and then finally be allowed to openly love Nasrin. But at what cost?
I loved that Farizan made Sahar such a strong character. Even though Sahar still had to grow as a character, I think she started off already being a strong one. She took care of herself when her dad went into a deep depression and she tried her best to find a way to make her relationship with Nasrin a real possibility. Farizan did a great job developing Sahar as a character. She was easy to connect to and I felt like I was there with her every step of the emotional journey in this novel.
I also really loved getting an insight into Iran and Iranian culture. I really felt that I was able to take something away from this novel after reading it.
I also enjoyed the secondary characters that Sahar interacts with throughout the novel. You get to see a lot of different people struggling with things in different ways. I loved how Farizan showed that people all have their secrets and their struggles and their ways to escape it, but even more specifically with the citizens of Iran.
The one thing I really didn’t like about the novel was Nasrin. I really didn’t like her as a character. I’m thinking that was intentional. Even so, I couldn’t stand her as a character and I just wanted to shake Sahar out of loving her, but alas you can’t help who you fall in love with. Farizan did show glimpses into the reasons why Nasrin was acting the way she was, but still I wish she was a little less selfish.
Anyway, I really enjoyed the ending to this novel and the novel’s story arc overall. This novel really was character centered, but the plot had a lot of strong parts as well. If you’re looking for a story with a strong female MC, then I’d definitely recommend this one to you!
Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you’ve read If You Could Be Mine and your thoughts on Sahar and Nasrin? What did you think about Sahar’s cousin? How well did you think Farizan captured the Iranian culture?
As always, Happy Reading!
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