"If You Could Be Mine: A Novel"

Sep 11, 2013

We speak today by phone with author Sara Farizan, who is the daughter of Iranian immigrants, lives near Boston, and has just published her first novel. It's a YA novel that's been getting great reviews, and it's called "If You Could Be Mine." This book tells the story of two girls, Sahar and Nasrin, lifelong friends who live in the great Iranian city known as Tehran, and who also happen to be in love with one another. It is, as a critic for School Library Journal has written, a "terrific debut novel.... Rich with details of life in contemporary Iran, this is a GLBTQ story that we haven't seen before in YA fiction. Highly recommended." Futher, Booklist, which recommends this book for grades 10 though 12, offers the following summary (in a 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."