Title: If You Could Be Mine (2013)
Author: Sara Farizan
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Cultural
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?
Read the first lines…
Nasrin pulled my hair when I told her I didn’t want to play with her dolls. I wanted to play football with the neighborhood boys. Even though sometimes they wouldn’t let me because I was a girl, they couldn’t deny my speed or the fact that I scored a goal on the biggest kid in the yard. Nasrin pulled my hair and said, “Sahar, you will play with me because you belong to me. Only me.” That was when I fell in love with her.
We were six. We didn’t wear head scarves then. We were little girls, not “whores of Babylon,” to be met by the scrutinizing eye of any asshole with a beard. Nasrin has the longest, darkest hair but it never gets tangled or neglected under her roosari like mine does. I always think there’s no point in making my hair look decent if I have to cover it in school, but Nasrin is always taming her locks—blow drying, using mousse, a flat iron sometimes. No matter what she does to her hair, she will always be the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.
It’s difficult, hiding my feelings for her. Tehran isn’t exactly safe for two girls in love with each other…