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Moon at Nine
     

Moon at Nine

4.0 2
by Deborah Ellis
 

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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

Overview

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 friendship—and in Iran, being gay is punishable by death.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
02/17/2014
“Her whole life was about living with lies,” writes Ellis (the Breadwinner series) of 15-year-old Farrin Kazemi’s situation in 1988 Tehran. At home, Farrin’s mother is secretly working to remove the Ayatollah Khomeini from power, while her father takes advantage of Afghan refugees in his construction business. At school, Farrin’s every act is scrutinized by an unforgiving principal and the vindictive class monitor. Farrin writes fantasy stories to escape her highly controlled life, and she finds another ray of hope in the friendship of musician and kindred spirit Sadira, who’s new at school. The girls become romantically involved, a crime punishable by death. Inspired by the life of an Iranian woman Ellis met (“This story is essentially hers,” she notes), the novel powerfully depicts lives pulled apart by outside forces and the warmth of falling in love. A firm grounding in Iranian history, along with the insight and empathy Ellis brings to the pain of those whose love is decreed to be immoral and unnatural, make this a smart, heartbreaking pairing with Sara Farizan’s recent If You Could Be Mine. Ages 14–up. (Apr.)
CM Magazine
Basing her book on a true story, Ellis has written a heartbreaking tale of prejudice and injustice. **Highly Recommended**
Wendy Mason
"Captivating, informative, relevant and exquisite...What a stellar story, so beautifully written. I can hardly wait to feature it in my Indigo/Yorkdale department and recommend it to my teacher/parent/student clients."
Helen Kubiw
“Deborah Ellis is [an] accomplished author of social justice stories for young people, and Moon at Nine can be added to that auspicious collection…Ellis thoughtfully embeds a sliver of chaste love into [a] dispiriting world and, without contriving an unrealistic happy ending, offers a glimmer of possibility.”
Quill & Quire
Moon at Nine is a riveting tale of young girls being true to themselves and their love, set against a political and cultural backdrop few readers will have first-hand knowledge of. Ellis once again proves she is a master storyteller. Readers will remember Farrin and Sadira long after the final page has been read. Review by Ken Setteringon, author of the Stonewall Honor Book Branded by the Pink Triangle.
Booklist
"Inarguably powerful... A book study guide is included and will help encourage much needed discussion.”
Youth Services Book Review
Heart-stirring, believable, and ultimately heartbreaking, this is a must-read.
ALA Booklist
. . . inarguably powerful . . . .A book study guide is included and will help encourage much needed discussion.
Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center BookDragon
As more and more states strike down anti-gay marriage laws, Moon at Nine is a chilling reminder of the suffering of too many others . . . its importance is hard to deny.
Quick Brown Fox
Multi award-winning author Deborah Ellis excels in creating stories of determination in the face of adversity and social injustice. Here, she presents us with a sensitive and passionate tale based on the true life experiences . . . Beautifully told . . .
The Horn Book Magazine
Ellis skillfully introduces readers to the social and political backdrop, showing in troubling detail how fear, suspicion, and historical animosities fragment Farrin’s world and limit her freedom....Secondary characters provide fascinating windows into other perspectives and call attention to Iran’s heterogeneity, creating a multidimensional portrait of corruption and cruelty, resistance and compassion.
International Reading Association
This is a thought-provoking story inviting readers to ponder the interplay of cultural, moral, and sexual issues in different countries around the globe.
Canadian Children’s Book News
True to form, Deborah Ellis has crafted a stark, riveting and uncompromising account of life in a country and era that is markedly different from our own… Its heartbreaking and unflinching honestly will both engage readers and create heightened awareness.
49th Shelf
A story that illuminates, astounds and perhaps will grow empathy for other cultures and sexualities.
Reading Today Online
“A thought-provoking story inviting readers to ponder the interplay of cultural, moral, and sexual issues in different countries around the globe.”
Small Press Bookwatch
a deftly crafted work of fiction...An extraordinary and original novel
Skipping Stones Magazine
This novel for teens at their formative age exposes the persecution gay lovers face worldwide today.
Resource Links
an accessible text which can be enjoyed by a variety of readers due to its simple writing style. The author’s note describing the history of Iran is especially useful to those unfamiliar with this history and the subject matter of the novel is one that not only encourages individual research, but also fills a large gap in cultural LGBTQ literature.
The Ottawa Review of Books
more than simply an LGTBQ novel or historical fiction...a multi-faceted hybrid that can be enjoyed by both teens and adults...It is powerfully grounded in the setting of Tehran, and depicts the beauty of falling in love and the cruelty and coldness of power in the hands of outside forces.
Plenitude Magazine
Moon at Nine is the romantic adventure tale longed for by queer teenagers prowling the school library for stories that more closely resemble their own.
Dragon Lode International Books
In this riveting love story based on true events, Deborah Ellis transports readers to Iran in 1988 just nine years after the Islamic Revolution... Readers will find this powerful book both compelling and chilling.
Midwest Book Review
a deftly crafted work of fiction...An extraordinary and original novel
School Library Journal
05/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—The daughter of wealthy Iranian parents, 15-year-old Farrin earns top scores at a prestigious school in 1988 Tehran. Her parents remain loyal to the ousted Shah, so Farrin knows the importance of keeping a low profile. One day, Farrin meets a new classmate, Sadira, who plays forbidden music on a prohibited instrument in a closet at school. Farrin and Sadira become fast friends who enjoy subversive literature and music despite the tough restrictions imposed by the Iranian government. Before long, Farrin and Sadira's friendship morphs into a romantic relationship, for which both girls could face death. Set during the reign of Ayatollah Khomeini, this title is based on real women who fell in love in a country where homosexuality is still against the law. Sparse and eloquently written, this short historical novel is both beautiful and heartbreaking. The subject matter and writing style will appeal most to older teens and adults who likely have a better understanding of the political history of Iran. Sadira and Farrin's relationship is believable, as is the girls' undying determination to stay together at all costs. While sexuality is important to the plot, the book is relatively tame, containing no profanity and nothing beyond hand-holding and a few kisses. A four-page Author's Note provides necessary historical background and insight into worldwide persecution of homosexuals today. Give this to fans of Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns (Riverhead, 2007) or Latifa's My Forbidden Face (Miramax, 2002).—Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-26
In a novel based on a true story, two teen girls fall in love and face harsh political fallout in post-revolution Iran. Readers learn the basics of 1980s Iran's political situation from context and light exposition. Farrin's family is wealthy, and her mother hosts Bring Back the Shah teas and parties with illicit alcohol. Farrin's mother discourages her from making friends, out of both fear that Farrin will reveal her secrets and an almost cartoonishly exaggerated disdain for "low-class rabble." When Farrin meets Sadira, however, the two become fast friends, and their bond soon grows. Then, just after the war with Iraq has ended and the new regime is cracking down at home, an officious class monitor catches the two girls kissing and reports them. The consequences are both chilling and tragic. The author's hands-off approach means readers hear relatively few of Farrin's thoughts or feelings about having fallen in love with another girl. Nor are they given more than the bare minimum of tools to interpret the complex power dynamics of Farrin's relationship with Ahmad, the Afghan refugee who serves as her driver. However spare, though, the portrait painted of 1980s Iran's political climate—and in particular the situation of gay and lesbian people and political prisoners—is haunting. A harsh introduction to a disturbing moment in Iran's recent history. (Historical fiction. 14-18)
Canadian Children's Book News
True to form, Deborah Ellis has crafted a stark, riveting and uncompromising account of life in a country and era that is markedly different from our own... Its heartbreaking and unflinching honestly will both engage readers and create heightened awareness.
Canadian Children’s Book News
True to form, Deborah Ellis has crafted a stark, riveting and uncompromising account of life in a country and era that is markedly different from our own… Its heartbreaking and unflinching honestly will both engage readers and create heightened awareness.
Children's Literature - Denise Hartzler
Farrin is a young, intelligent, woman going to a private school for gifted girls in Tehran in 1988. She is the daughter of an aristocratic mother and wealthy father. Farrin does her best to keep a low profile; but when her class monitor reports her for her story writing, she has to answer for her actions and her answers must be in line with the extreme views of the deeply conservative and religious government. Since the Shah was overthrown, her world has become full of secrets. When Sadira begins attending her school, Farrin’s life changes forever. Sadira is funny, wise, and outgoing. She is also bold and fearless which Farrin admires. As their friendship deepens into romance, the relationship takes a dangerous turn. Both sets of parents quickly separate the girls and rush to find them husbands. Being gay in Iran is punishable by death. This is the risk the girls are willing to take for their love. Deborah Ellis’s Moon at Nine is based on a true story set in a time period after the Shah and revolution, but before Desert Storm. Girls were permitted to go to school but music and movies were forbidden. Taking on the topic of same-sex relationships for teenagers in an oppressive world was bold of Ellis. The plot progresses quickly since the story is told only from Farrin’s point-of-view. It is a moving story that forces the reader to reflect and have an open discussion on topics such as rights, freedom and oppression. Reviewer: Denise Hartzler; Ages 13 up.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781927485576
Publisher:
Pajama Press
Publication date:
04/01/2014
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
HL700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet 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.

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Moon at Nine 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Andrea17 More than 1 year ago
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.
ToManyBooksNotEnoughTime More than 1 year ago
Entertaining &amp; 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&rsquo;s Bring Back the Shah activities, her family could be thrown in jail, or worse. The day she meets Sadira, Farrin&rsquo;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&rsquo;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.