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.
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.
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?
This was an interesting read that opened my eyes to another culture (the culture of Iran). It was interesting to see how different many things were there. In Iran, someone can get arrested for being gay, or for showing their elbows. In that country, homosexuality is a crime that is punishable by death, which really seems like an absurd punishment that does not fit the crime.
This story starts with the relationship between Sahar and Nasrin. Sahar has always dreamed of marrying Nasrin, and the relationship between them is mutual, but also highly forbidden. Sahar is devastated when she finds out that Nasrin's parents have arranged for Nasrin to be married. While I was originally rooting for them as a couple, I also knew that the situation was dangerous for them, and I ended up thinking that Nasrin was pretty selfish. She basically strung Sahar along for the ride, expecting her to still be with her when she had a husband. Sahar cared about Nasrin, but what she needed was a real commitment from her.
Something that I found interesting about the laws in Iran is that while homosexuality is illegal, being transgender is not, and the government even pays for the surgeries for people who are transgender. Sahar wrestles with the idea of whether or not being with Nasrin is worth becoming a person that she is not (a man). It is a really interesting struggle to read about, and you can see how she was torn, though at the same time, I thought Nasrin wasn't really worth all of that. I'm not going to say whether or not she goes through with changing her gender.
If you like YA books about another culture, read this book.