If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

Challenge 36 ~ “An identity book – a book from a different culture, religion or sexual orientation.”

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★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

When browsing through my TBR to find a book for this challenge, I didn’t expect to find one that encompassed all three, and yet here we are! I’d started reading this book a couple of months earlier, but I was so bogged down with other things that I found it difficult to get my teeth in before it was due back at the library – yes, this is not one of those books that will immediately sweep you off your feet, and you do have to make some effort at times. For instance, in the beginning it took me some time to become acquainted to the customs and different way of life dictated in the setting (with a contrasting society and religion to my own).

Nevertheless, once I found my feet, If You Could Be Mine was an enjoyable read, and one that was enlightening through its considered and informative investigation of teenage life in Iran for a Muslim lesbian. In light of the cultural complexity for the average Western reader, Farizan kept the novel simplistic in its approach, not introducing an overwhelming volume of characters whilst keeping it realistic. Even as the novel took avenues that were unexpected, it was clear the background was well-researched, yet at the same time it felt as if there was little other weight to the story than THE LESBIAN MUSLIM.

If You Could Be Mine was certainly an educational read in its context, and strongly written. Whilst a glossary would have been ideal for assisting the reader to transition into the unfamiliar setting, Farizan made the reader comfortable in Iranian culture and kept the story both realistic and relatable. Not a quick read that will instantly hook your attention, but a valuable and enjoyable one nonetheless.

Recommended for fans of:

  • What I Was by Meg Rosoff
  • Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter
  • Playing A Part by Daria Wilke
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