The year is 1988 and the place is Iran. For many years now, Iran has been at war with Iraq and the Iranian government keeps strict control over their people. Fifteen year old Farrin has lived a relatively privileged life compared to her peers. She is the daughter of a wealthy builder and her mother is a r has decided to remain loyal to the over-thrown (and dead,) Shah. Farrin is able to access many banned things through the black market and knows that she must keep a low profile at school, lest her family's secrets be discovered by the revolutionary guard. But Farrin's life changes unexpectedly when she is befriended by a new girl at school. Soon, their friendship blossoms in to something much more deeper and unexpected ... but in Iran homosexuality is illegal and the punishment is death.
Although this one is pitched at a younger audience (early teens,) I found myself drawn to it almost immediately and both intrigued and saddened by a story where two beautiful and intelligent young women have their lives ruined by a misplaced sense of right and wrong. Canadian author Deborah Ellis paints a vivid portrait of Iran--a country with such a deep and rich history and culture, but where the residents day-to-day lives are governed by strict rules and regulations. Diversity is not welcomed and obedience is important. The ending was utterly heartbreaking--two lives are ruined, two intelligent and hard working young women who could have gone on to do great things--through the lawmakers fear of anything or anyone who is different. Ellis is an engaging storyteller, who was apparently inspired to write the book after she was approached by a woman who had spent her early years in Iran.
A beautiful and engaging read. Highly recommended.
This book was read as part of the Eclectic Reader Challenge 2015
Category: Featuring Diversity