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Posts Tagged ‘iran’

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

Moon at Nine is “beautiful and heartbreaking”—School Library Journal

Posted on May 1st, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C“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 keep morphs into a romantic relationship, for which both girls could face death. Set during the reign of Ayatollah Khomeini, Moon At Nine is based on real women who feing 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 friendshipll 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 homosexuality 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, 2003).”

“Its importance is hard to deny.”—Smithsonian BookDragon on Moon at Nine

Posted on April 21st, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C“In her ending “Author’s Note,” mega award-winning Canadian author Deborah Ellis…who has built a renowned international reputation for giving voice to children in the most challenging circumstances around the world—explains how her latest novel is true…Adding a succinct historical overview of Iran’s history, Ellis is careful to balance details of Ayatollah Khomeini’s destructive regime with the rich diversity—especially artistically —of the country’s past. But neither does she shy away from the shocking numbers of tragic victims as they relate to this novel…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.”

Visit the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center BookDragon blog to read the full review.

Moon at Nine is “sensitive and passionate”—Quick Brown Fox

Posted on April 18th, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C“…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 of a young woman in Iran, where execution is the accepted form of punishment for gays or lesbians.

This is a story of love, courage, perseverance and ultimate betrayal by family, friends and country. Beautifully told, Ellis’s work represents the struggles and efforts of young people everywhere to gain acceptance in a world where inclusivity is not just a dream, but a reality.”

Click here to read the full review.

Moon at Nine is “inarguably powerful”—Booklist

Posted on April 15th, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C“Fifteen-year-old Farrin lives with secrets. It is 1988, and Farrin’s wealthy parents are conspiring to install the Shah’s son to the throne. That is their secret; hers is even more dangerous. She is in love with Sadira, the new girl in school, who returns her feelings even though homosexuality is regarded as a crime punishable by death in Iran. When the Revolutionary Guard discovers them together, the girls are taken to prison and threatened with execution. How can they possibly survive?…it is inarguably powerful, and readers will identify with the two star-crossed girls who are victims of what seems to be an inhumane government. In an appended author’s note, Ellis chillingly reports that more than 4,000 lesbian and gay Iranians have been executed since 1979. A book study guide is included and will help encourage much needed discussion.”

Moon at Nine Book Trailer

Posted on March 27th, 2014 by pajamapress

Based on extensive interviews with a young woman forced to flee Iran because of her sexual orientation, Moon at Nine enters an important conversation about social justice and human rights at a critical time. Internationally acclaimed author and humanitarian Deborah Ellis (The Breadwinner) brings her usual grace and sensitivity to a challenging issue, telling a haunting true story that will leave no reader unmoved.

Starred Review for Moon at Nine from Ken Setterington for Quill & Quire

Posted on March 21st, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C_Oct5.indd

“With her multiple award-winning works of fiction and non-fiction, Deborah Ellis has introduced readers to the harsh realities of life for youth around the world. Her latest novel, based on a true story, is another powerful, realistic tale that will capture the attention of teen readers.

In Moon at Nine, Ellis expertly weaves the politics, religion, and culture of 1988 Iran into the story of Farrin, a 15-year-old girl who obediently tries not to draw attention to herself. Her family’s wealth and support for the Shah put her at odds with the other girls at her Tehran school. When a new girl named Sadira arrives at the school, Farrin finds it impossible to maintain her low profile.

Sadira is irreverent, studious, and challenging. Most of her family was killed in a bombing and she now lives with her father in a small apartment. This austere existence contrasts with the lavish lifestyle maintained by Farrin’s family. Still, the girls become fast friends, and find their feelings developing slowly and realistically into love.

Homosexuality is illegal in Iran, and Ellis carefully handles the cultural taboos and legal restrictions of lesbian relationships. When the nature of Farrin and Sadira’s involvement comes into question, the girls’ lives change drastically. Farrin’s grandmother suggests a hasty engagement and marriage. Classmates are charged with policing the girls’ conduct, and when a secret kiss is observed at school, all contact between them is prohibited. The title comes from a pact made by the girls before they are separated—and eventually imprisoned—to look at the moon every night at nine o’clock, knowing the other is doing the same.

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.”

—Ken Setterington, author of Stonewall Honor Book Branded by the Pink Triangle

CM Magazine highly recommends Moon at Nine

Posted on March 7th, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C_Oct5.inddBasing her book on a true story, Ellis has written a heartbreaking tale of prejudice and injustice. Ellis contrasts the sanctioned horrible treatment of human beings with an illegal love story...The characters are complex and carefully drawn…

While we recognize some progress in our country in terms of gay and lesbian rights, Moon at Nine is a sobering reminder that being gay or lesbian is still a criminal offence in many countries in the world, and for many, the penalty is death. Ellis has given us this reminder with yet another beautifully written story, the love story of Farrin and Sadira.

Highly Recommended.”

Click here to read the full review.

Moon at Nine is “haunting”—Kirkus Reviews

Posted on February 26th, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C_Oct5.indd“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…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…[T]he portrait painted of 1980s Iran’s political climate—and in particular the situation of gay and lesbian people and political prisoners—is haunting.”

CanLit for LittleCanadians reviews Deborah Ellis’ Moon at Nine

Posted on February 20th, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C_Oct5.indd“…Deborah Ellis is Canada’s most modest and accomplished author of social justice stories for young people, and Moon at Nine can be added to that auspicious collection.  Based on a true story, the girls’ relationship in Moon at Nine is personal and precious but never explicit, unlike the merciless response of others to it.  Prohibited love may be ill-fated, but in the 1980’s Iran of secrets, surveillance and suppression,  it was perilous.  Still, in Moon at Nine, Deborah Ellis thoughtfully embeds a sliver of chaste love into that dispiriting world and, without contriving an unrealistic happy ending, offers a glimmer of possibility.”

Click here to read the full review.