Subscribe to The Horn Book

Review of If You Could Be Mine

If You Could Be Mine
by Sara Farizan
High School    Algonquin    247 pp.
8/13    978-1-61620-251-4    $16.95    g

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend Nasrin for years, but the girls live in Iran, where their love is illegal. That hasn’t kept them from being together, but now Nasrin has accepted a marriage proposal, and both girls must face the untenable future of their relationship. Sahar, a serious student and rule-follower, starts spending time with her cousin Ali and his underground community of criminals and misfits. Her plan, inspired by her new friends — to pretend to be transgendered (sexual reassignment, while stigmatized, is legal) in order to stay with Nasrin — is not so much the center of the story as the catalyst for the complicated social drama that unfolds. Farizan imbues characters and relationships with depth and complexity, especially when it comes to the cracks in Nasrin and Sahar’s romance that have nothing to do with restrictive laws and everything to do with Nasrin’s self-absorption. First love is the heart of the matter here; even as readers learn about an unfamiliar culture, they will recognize the universal dynamics of a struggling relationship. Meanwhile, secondary characters, especially Ali and his compatriots, provide intriguing and sometimes disturbing cameos that illuminate a variety of circumstances and individuals at the margins of society. A unique and thoughtful debut.

From the November/December 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Claire Gross About Claire Gross

Claire Gross is the youth librarian at the Egleston branch of the Boston Public Library and a former associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind