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If You Could Be Mine is the story of two girls in Tehran who have been best friends since childhood. The protagonist, Sahar, is a very smart young woman on track for the top university in Iran. Nasrin is a spoiled rich girl whose parents are intend for her to marry as soon as she leaves high school. Neither of these situations is painted as unusual in Iranian society within the context of the book. Farizan clearly establishes the country's culture without it seeming intimidating or anti-Islam.
Negin Farsad's narration makes the story more emotionally resonant than I think it would be otherwise. Sahar spends a lot of time being angry about her situation (understandable), and defensive of her decision to pursue a sex change so she might marry Nasrin instead of her fiance. Farsad easily finds the essential nuances within that anger, creating strong, unwavering characters.
As the story is in first person singular, we don't see any of Nasrin's real feelings on the subject of her impending marriage beyond her outside behavior, and what she says to Sahar. I would have liked to know the complicated feelings going on in Nasrin's head as well; it surely could not have been easy to choose duty and a life of ease, or the love of your life.
Overall, I found If You Could Be Mine thoughtful and well-written, with fully developed characters and socially relevant storylines. I liked the insight into underground queer culture in Iran. I would have rather seen a sweet ending, or a bitter ending, rather than a bittersweet one, but I'm glad Sahar was able to make the choices she did.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
If You Could Be Mine is about two young women who’ve been in love since childhood. But they live in Iran, where being a woman who loves another woman is punishable by death. Sex reassignment surgery is perfectly legal, though. Could this be the answer to their predicament? This story has all the ingredients of a great YA book: angst, secret smooching, forbidden love, heartache. But it’s also unexpectedly hilarious! Sara Farizan has the BEST deadpan humor in person, and Negin Farsad brings this out in spades in her narration of the book. Farsad is an Iranian-American comedian, and she just gets Farizan in a way that allows her to wring every last drop of humor from an otherwise heartbreaking story. One of my fave listens of the year! <3
1 of 1 people found this review helpful