Friday, August 9, 2013

Review: If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

If You Could Be Mine
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
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?

”add

Publishes in US: August 20th 2013 by Alqonquin Young Readers
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Netgalley
Series? No.

Buy it:  IndieBound
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
 
    I liked the culture and the message of this one. Sahar is a teen trying to be who she is under heavy government oppression. Sahar loves Nasrin and this is not allowed, so they are best friends and keep their love under wraps until a husband is chosen for Nasrin, and Sahar realizes that she doesn't want to be separated from her. She is close with her cousin Ali, who is gay and throws wild parties, and at one she meets Parveen who had sex reassignment surgery because this is allowed. This gets Sahar thinking that this could be her ticket to being with the girl she loves, Nasrin once and for all. 
     Sahar is smart, protective, hard working, and caring. She takes care of her dad, and she thinks and sees the best in others. She lost her mom, and her dad goes into deep depression and I totally felt and respected how Sahar loved and wanted to care for him. It came off really sincere as well how much she loved her mom and would say she could sense her presence or what she would have thought about something. This helped to add some additional emotional depth to the story!
    While I liked Nasrin because I saw her through Sahar's eyes, I still didn't completely feel their love. I think that is because it was an established relationship and maybe the spark was assumed. While I appreciate greatly that it wasn't a case of insta-love especially since it is in a culture where this isn't allowed, and Sahar is considering such life altering measure in order to make it work. I like that they had the easy camaraderie, and even though there obviously was some chemistry, I just wish I could have experiences some flashbacks, or something in order to really experience that spark and make me more emotional invested. I feel like Sahar was too hard on Nasrin to love her as much as she did. 
    Oh, and I know this is probably just an ARC (advanced reader copy) issue, but there was some distracting formatting issues such as double ff's being omitted, and the first sentence of every chapter had pieces missing. 
    It is really neat to be immersed in a culture that is not mine, and yet not making myself feel dumb because I don't get the cultural differences. They are presented by showing me the norm, and even though I know it wouldn't be part of normal thought to explain what the Iranian words are, Ms. Farizan (the author) makes it natural. 
     The ending... I liked it but I didn't. It was very realistic, but I wanted it to somehow be more fantasy and more of an HEA than I got. But it took guts to write it like that, and I think that it gives hope for the future. 

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you know much about Iran culture?
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16 comments:

  1. Sometimes I find it hard to root for a couple that the romance is already there, it is always nice to watch it develop. Glad you did enjoy it though.

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  2. It is nice not to have insta-love but I do like watching sparks happen as well. This sounds like a very interesting and difficult story. To be in love but not allowed and to be willing to make so many sacrifices to be together. To change your body because you can not be with the one you want in it. Very sad. I know what you mean in wanting a happy ending but if it is realistic then that was probably a meaningful ending and at least it showed a bit of hope in the future.

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  3. I know nothing about Iran culture. I think that ending would annoy me! Hope you have a good weekend ☺

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  4. I had to read and re-read the synopsis to get my head wrapped around the gist of the book. It looks interesting though and very original. I have just read a book with a not-so-happy ending and while I'm a fan of HEA, I think I can forgive a novel without one if it's realistic enough.

    Lovely review, Brandi.

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  5. Having read few books based in this part of the world I'm eager to read more and this definitely sounds like a contender.

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  6. This seems like a very powerful and thoughtful story. I'm glad you liked it, and sorry the formatting kinks bugged you. It irks me too.
    Great review!

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  7. Great review! I felt about the same with this one (though my ARC didn't have those formatting issues or maybe I didn't notice). I didn't completely feel their romance either it felt like it was a lot once sided mostly bc Nasrin didn't seem like she cared all that much. It was still a unique book though so I liked it overall.

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  8. I actually like to hear the ending is realistic. It might not be what I (or other readers) want, but it ruins books when things seem too easy or whatnot.

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  9. Sounds good, and it's always good with something new

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  10. So was Sahar just changing so she could be with Nasrin? I would hate that! I hope that didn't happen.

    I don't know about Iran's culture, but I dated a boy from Pakistan for a long time. A lot was kept from me, but I learned enough to know that there was too big of a difference between our cultures for he and I to ever work out. I'm not saying that's true for everyone, just for us.

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  11. I've seen a few reviews that make me think I wouldn't enjoy this one as much. I don't know a lot about the culture, but I bet it would be interesting to learn about!

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  12. Typos and formatting errors can dampen a reading experience. Although there's a disclaimer that it's uncorrected sometimes too many errors can get in the way of a good story.

    I never thought about it but now you got me thinking. The best part about romance is the courtship part and when that's absent, it feels a little blah.

    Braine

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  13. Oh, the ending sounds really bad, I love my HEA, but I do like when an author writes a more realistic ending. Glad that you enjoyed it besides the lack of chemistry. Great review, Brandi :)

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  14. I'm really excited about this book because I don't really know much about Irani culture-I'm excited to learn more!

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  15. I've been wanting to read this because it sounds so different from any other stories I normally read. I don't know much about Iranian culture, so I think this would be eye-opening for me. It sucks that the ARC had formatting issues, that always does distract me from the story too. Wonderful honest review!

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  16. I love that its centred on a different culture. We don't get that with many YA books, but I am glad this one does and it does so without being confusing. I like the sound of the characters, and I want to see how their relationship develops, but I am wary of the romance, even if its not insta-love. Sorry about the editing issues and the ending. I don't know how I feel about a non-HEA but overall I do find this book intriguing. I'm glad you enjoyed some aspects of it though, Brandi! Fabulous review! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

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