17-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?
"Refreshingly and believably diverse.... Each character and relationship is kindly and carefully drawn.... A moving and elegant story of first love and family." (
"A heartbreakingly beautiful story of first love.... The reader becomes part of Sahar and Nasrin's journey. We move through it with them with our heart in our hands." (Jacqueline Woodson, author of Beneath a Meth Moon)
"A book full to bursting with aching, haunting, beautiful questions." (Chris Lynch, author of Inexcusable)
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When love cannot be
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