If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
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?
Farizan handles a smattering of tough topics eloquently and without hesitation. This tale of forbidden love serves to humanize many groups of people who shouldn’t need humanizing; gay, trans*, and even Middle Eastern people. Farizan expertly balances the feeling that Sahar is no different than a girl down the street with the dangers of her country - most importantly, to Sahar, the view of homosexuality as a crime.
As I read, my heart ached for Sahar, and for Nasrin. Their story raises a lot of important questions, and is one willing to slap you in the face if that’s what it takes to wake you up.
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