Pajama Press

Horn Book reviews Moon at Nine

Posted on June 12th, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C_Oct5.indd“In 1988 Iran, wealthy fifteen-year-old Farrin avoids anything that could draw attention to her family; she knows her mother’s anti-Ayatollah political gatherings could bring trouble. However, Farrin’s burgeoning friendship and then romance with new girl Sadira leads her to become more inquisitive and involved in the world around her, and eventually leads to the couple’s discovery and persecution. 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…the social struggle element is more hard-hitting [than those in Farizan’s recent If You Could Be Mine (rev. 11/13)] with a harrowing climax and a realistically bleak ending (both of which may also be a function of this title’s earlier setting). 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. Set in the final days of the Iran-Iraq war and based on a true story, this novel sheds light on an important chapter in history and the people who experienced it firsthand.”

– Claire E. Gross