Rating: Significant Shortcomings
Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Deborah Ellis
Publisher: Pajama Press
Farrin wants to write stories. In stories, you can write your secrets. In stories, you can escape. Farrin is a wealthy, privileged, and smart Iranian girl, but her life is profoundly dissatisfying. Her parents still support the Shah, who was just overthrown, and if the Revolutionary Guard found out, they would all be punished. Her mother is so busy with her political meetings that she has little time to spend on Farrin, so Farrin spends her time writing and trying to keep a low profile. But then, a new student named Sadira comes to her school. Sadira is not afraid to be seen, and she and Farrin immediately become friends. But, as they spend more time together, their friendship develops into something more meaningful and more dangerous. Sadira and Farrin fall in love. When other people find out about their budding romance, they caution the girls to keep it hidden. But Farrin can’t stop thinking about Sadira. Even though they make each other happy, there are high prices to pay for breaking the status quo.
It is important to have young adult novels like Moon at Nine. This book chronicles the teenage search for identity, but it also goes beyond that. Farrin and Sadira are living in a delicate political time in Iran, when secrets are dangerous and rule-following is everything. Beyond that, Farrin and Sadira are in love, which is still controversial in American society today, but was nothing short of treacherous in 1980s Iran. This is an important read so that people can realize that stories like Farrin and Sadira’s exist, even if they aren’t openly talked about. However, is it very difficult to connect with the story as a reader. The book reads like a series of disjointed, albeit shocking, events that are not very fluid or connected. The ending is extreme and abrupt, leaving the reader confused, rather than sobered or touched, as the intention seemed to be. Perhaps the author aims to illustrate the impersonal reality of life in Tehran at this time, but the shock value detracted from the emotion of the story.
*Contains mild violence and mild sexual content.