Title: If You Could Be Mine
Author: Sara Farizan
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Release Date: 20th August 2013
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Review Copy: NetGalley
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 had before, 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?
*I received an advance reader's copy from publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Okaaayy... First, I'll be admitting something to you all. I honestly did not think that I would - eventually - read this one. Yes, I did request it at NetGalley. I do admit that it is more like a whim. I didn't read the book blurb for this story. I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what it was before I click that REQUEST button. And I was shocked to find out that it is a LESBIAN book.
You have to know, I do not have any thing against gays or lesbians. I like them as is. I am actually a fan of gay guys. By that, I meant the gays who doesn't have the need to dress up like a girl. More like they just unfortunately in love with a member of same sex. I love my gays to be dressed up still as a man. I read YAOI mangas (boys love comics) and I absolutely love them.
As much as I love my boys love comics, I do not read novels about them. AND I do not ever read Girls' love, lesbian for most, YURI for manga lovers. I did read one time a yuri novel but that's it. I am not against but I don't know... Anyway, that was why I thought I would just mark this book as "DID NOT FINISH"...
Enough of the prologue. :P One thing I liked about this book was that the girls, Sahar and Nasrin, didn't see the need to dress up as a man. I mean, I know it is Iran, Middle East countries are SO STRICT with their laws. So it is really not possible to dress up as a man. What I meant was that they still enjoy things women enjoyed. They are just girls who simply fell in love with each other. I, for one, is not against it. It happens. I saw it happen in my own two eyes with some of my friends. I accept them as they are.
But of course, Iran, being strict and all, didn't see it that way. They are against same gender love. They execute them as a punishment. It's illegal. Showing your skin in public (if you are a girl) is so illegal in Middle East. Touching a girl that is not your relative (if you are a boy) will result to punishment. Even watching movies with girls exposing their body parts are bad. There are a lot of rules that should be followed or it will lead to something terrible.
So Sahar and Nasrin are always hiding what they are and do. They can't let people see them kissing, loving one another... I believe that Sahar is more in love than Nasrin. She is willing to do anything, ANYTHING to be with Nasrin. Even going through a surgery to be a man. Nasrin is the bitchy, spoiled princess. Yeah, she love Sahar in her own wicked ways but I think that she mostly took Sahar for granted. She always thought that they'll be together forever even if she marry someone. That they could continue doing whatever it is they are doing together.
But for Sahar, she wanted to run away with Nasrin. She wanted to marry the girl, hence, she's willing to undergo a surgery. :/ And I actually don't want her to do it. I think that it is not worth it. She love Nasrin but for me it is not worth it. I am so glad for Ali, Sahar's gay cousin, for being there for her all the time. He is my favorite character in here even if he doesn't get that much of exposure. He is honest with what he is. He might flaunt it excessively even in public (and remember that it is AGAINST THEIR LAW) but I like him just the way he is.
Overall, I think the ending is just right for both Sahar and Nasrin. It is better for them that way. But somehow I sometimes wish that Sahar just choose the other alternative offered by her cousin, Ali. Still, the ending is quite right for all of them. Surprisingly, it's a good read. Although some parts are a bit annoying but I did got some knowledge of how Iran is and how hard it is for some of their people (especially for gays and lesbians) to express themselves.