Based on interviews with a young woman forced to flee Iran because of her sexual orientation, Moon at Nine is a tense and riveting novel that shines a light on an issue of social injustice that continues to this day.
Fifteen-year-old Farrin has grown up with secrets: ten years after the overthrow of the Shah, her aristocratic mother is still working against Iran's conservative revolutionary government. But when Farrin befriends Sadira, the intriguing and outgoing new student at her school for gifted girls, her own new secret is even more dangerous. Because the girls discover their relationship is more than just a friendshipand in Iran, being gay is punishable by death.
About the Author
Known around the world for her Breadwinner series, author and humanitarian Deborah Ellis has written nearly thirty books for children and young people, most of which explore themes of courage and social justice. Deborah's many awards include the Governor General's Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the Vicky Metcalf Award, the American Library Association's Notable List, and the Jane Addams Children's Book Award. Deborah lives in Simcoe, Ontario.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Nothing I say will do justice to Moon at Nine. This emotionally powerful story will stay with you long after you finish. The fact that it is based off a true story is utterly heart wrenching. The fact that in some countries this still happens unbearable. Farrin comes from a wealthy family, a fact that keeps her ostracized from her fellow classmates, that desire to bring the Shah back into power. She is instructed by her mother to keep her nose down and not draw attention to herself. For the most part she does a good job, until Sadria shows up anyway. Farrin and Sadria become instant friends; a friendship which quickly blooms into something more. While their relationship is no more than your typical relationship between young people, given the time and country they are putting their lives in danger. If caught, the girls would be facing a death sentence, regardless of the fact that they are so young. The plot progresses rather quickly and while I don't get as fully invested into their relationship as I could have, I am invested into the characters as individuals. I especially sympathize with Farrin as the story is told from her perspective and we are in her head. I regret is that I finished this book at work and not in the privacy of my own home. I needed to sit in silence with my thoughts and reflect on everything I just read. I needed to remember Farrin and Sadira's story without my coworkers jabbering on and phones ringing. I urge you that even if LGBT novels to not appeal you, to pick up this book. Lock yourself away in your room until you finish it. It's only 244 pages, it won't take you long time. Once you finish this, I want you to have the reflection experience I didn't. Think about the story of these two young girls who grew up in a country and a time where they had to hide their true selves or be murdered. Also, ensure your friends are reading it too - you will want to discuss it! Or, come back to me and we'll talk. This is the type of novel that needs to be discussed with friends, in a classroom, over the internet, what have you. Deborah beautifully tells the story that will touch your heart and your soul. Farrin and Sadria's story needs to be told, it needs to reach those who are unaware that the LGBT community is suffering in these countries where being gay or lesbian is a criminal act, punishable by fines, hard labor, prison, or even death. And while their story is one among thousands, maybe millions, it gives a voice to those who have been silenced and forgotten.
Entertaining & Educational I would like to thank The Cover Contessa, author Deborah Ellis, NetGalley, and Pajama Press for the opportunity to read this e-book. While I received my copy of the e-book for free, that in no way influences the content of my review. <blockquote>Fifteen-year-old Farrin has many secrets. Although she goes to a school for gifted girls in Tehran, as the daughter of an aristocratic mother and wealthy father, Farrin must keep a low profile. It is 1988; ever since the Shah was overthrown, the deeply conservative and religious government controls every facet of life in Iran. If the Revolutionary Guard finds out about her mother’s Bring Back the Shah activities, her family could be thrown in jail, or worse. The day she meets Sadira, Farrin’s life changes forever. Sadira is funny, wise, and outgoing; the two girls become inseparable. But as their friendship deepens into romance, the relationship takes a dangerous turn. It is against the law to be gay in Iran; the punishment is death. Despite their efforts to keep their love secret, the girls are discovered and arrested. Separated from Sadira, Farrin can only pray as she awaits execution. Will her family find a way to save them both? Based on real-life events, multi-award winning author Deborah Ellis’s new book is a tense and riveting story about a world where homosexuality is considered so abhorrent that it is punishable by death.</blockquote> A startling look into a culture that is difficult to understand for most Westerners, this book shines a bright light on just one of many atrocities still occurring in our world today. Although this story is set Iran during the late 80's, very little has changed regarding their attitude toward homosexuality. This book tells the tale of a sweet romance, with no gratuitous sexual scenes to detract from the message of the story. It is a sad tale of innocence trapped in the midst of rigid cultural mores. Farrin is at once a likable character with her outward appearances and inner world. But it is a lonely existence, one forced upon her by her parents, who are stuck reliving their 'glory days' when the Shaw was still in power - power that was conferred to them by association. She must do well in school, but not well enough to call attention to herself; a fine balancing act for a teenager walking a tightrope between warring ways of life, both of which she must blend into, without making a ripple in either. All of this means Farrin is an outcast in her girls school. Until Sadira's sudden arrival Farrin never knew how lonely she truly was. Sadira exposes Farrin up to a new way of viewing the world. Though the two come from radically different backgrounds, they share similar inner lives. Those similarities lead them to slowly bond, for Farrin has never really had a friend and is afraid of doing the wrong thing. It is at once heartbreaking and humorous to witness the depth of Farrin's inexperience in relating to a peer. Once the friendship has begun, it rapidly blossoms into something beautiful. Unfortunately for them, even something as simple as holding hands can draw the wrong attention. And with the bitter Pargol just waiting for either of them to make a misstep, they are facing steep risk of discovery. In fact they are caught by an elder family member of Farrin's, and right away talk of arranged marriages begins. The two girls are terrified but determined not to give up on their love - even when they are caught and taken to prison to be executed for their crime of deviant behavior. All Farrin can do is alternate between her prayers that her parents will relent and find some way to get both girls out to safety. The book is sweet and tender even while dealing with topics of mass murder, and corrupt politics (much of it thanks to the a United States). That this is based upon a true story is at once horrifying and uplifting, for it shows what love and determination can accomplish. I would easily recommend this book to those in grade seven and up. It gracefully handles a number of delicate topics, issues which we should be far more aware of from a young age, so that we may help find solutions to the problems - some of which we've (the USA) helped create.