Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Review of If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

If You Could Be Mine 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?

(Summary from GoodReads)

If You Could Be Mine is a book that immediately intrigued me: two women! Forbidden love!  Set in another country! In retrospect, I should have anticipated that it wouldn’t quite work for my reading tastes, since shorter books aren’t always my thing.  While it’s great that Farizan’s debut focuses on women, especially women that aren't from the U.S., this story is not well done. 

The writing here is subpar. There is a lot of telling instead of showing. Tenses are mixed up at some point. I'm a little surprised that this wasn't edited more before being sent off to publishers.

Characterization was also not my favorite part of this book. The characters all seem to feel their emotions very, very strongly and without any develop. Giving a few more background stories as Sahar and Nasrin as children, or even just their times alone together, would have made me much more willing to believe in the strength of their romance. I should note, however, that the poor characterization applied to many other characters in this story, especially Nasrin's mother.

I really, really disliked the way this one ended as well. I felt like nothing really happened. It read like Farizan was trying so hard to write a realistic ending that she sucked all of the meaning out of it.

Farizan’s debut was a disappointing read on the whole. I recommend this one if you're trying to read more diverse books or more QUILTBAG books, and it will be good for teens who want a sad romance.  If you tend to like longer romances with more build up, this may not be the choice for you.

Disclosure: I received an electronic galley of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. It tragically expired before I could read it so I wound up reading a library copy of this book.

1 comment:

  1. You need to read this book! I don't care if you hate romance novels this is not like any other romance novel. This is a journey. This will have you on the brink of tears and just wishing that things could just work out for a change. Please, please, please read this book.




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