If You Could Be Mine
by Sara Farizan
Summary: In this stunning debut, a young Iranian American writer pulls back the curtain on one of the most hidden corners of a much-talked-about culture.
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?
Source: I received a digital copy from NetGalley
If You Could Be Mine had a very interesting premise. It was a book about a girl who was struggling with being gay in a society that did not allow that kind of behavior whatsoever. I loved the plot and it was interesting to see a setting and culture I’m not all that familiar with.
It was shocking to me that the government allowed sex change operations and funded them so freely without much shame and yet were so completely against homosexuality. It led to people getting sex change operations in order to be with the gender of their preference, despite not actually feeling like the opposite gender, which is something the main character was considering in the book.
I enjoyed the plot, but the book wasn’t nearly as hard hitting as I expected, due largely to the writing. It seemed simplified and the characters lacked a lot of depth. I liked Sahar, but I felt as if she dabbled in crazy decisions without really thinking about the consequences because of her blind love for her best friend. I just wished it would have explored it more.
I think If You Could Be Mine had incredible potential, but fell a bit short in a few ways. It could have been longer and more in depth and I think it would have been a lot more enjoyable had it not felt like such a short skim across the surface of some major issues and complex characters.