Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji
The back (of the copy I have):
An unforgettable novel of young love and coming of age in a nation headed toward revolution.In a middle-class neighborhood in Iran's sprawling capital city, seventeen-year-old Pasha Shahed spends his summer of 1973 on his rooftop with his best friend, Ahmed, joking around and talking about the future. Even as Pasha asks burning questions about life, he also wrestles with a crushing secret. He has fallen in love with his beautiful neighbor Zari, who has been betrothed since birth to another man. And despite Pasha's guilt-ridden feelings for her, over the long, hot days his tentative friendship with Zari deepens into a rich emotional bond.But the bliss of those perfect stolen months is shattered in a single night, when Pasha unwittingly acts as a beacon for the Shah's secret police. The violent consequences awaken Pasha and his friends to the reality of living under the rule of a powerful despot, and lead Zari to make a shocking choice from which Pasha may never fully recover.In a poignant, funny, eye-opening, and emotionally vivid debut novel, Mahbod Seraji lays bare the beauty and brutality infused in the centuries-old Persian culture, while reaffirming the human experiences we all share: laughter, tears, love, fear, and above all, hope.
This book is currently a stand-alone book.
Age: 14 years and up (there is quite a bit of swearing in this book)
Review: 5 stars
The blurb pretty much sums this whole book up. We have Pasha Shahed, who is a normal teenager like most people have been. He spends his summer on the rooftop and he's enjoying life. But one thing will change his life forever: love. Not only does Pasha's love with Zari have an impact on him, it has an impact on everyone around him. Pasha grows up and matures throughout the book—he's no longer blind to the things going around him. He loves deeply and truly, and he also cares a lot for the people around him. He has moments where he doubts the things he's been taught, his religion, and many things like that. That's what made this book so realistic. This book is truly a coming-of-age novel—and a really good one at that.
Zari, in my eyes, is brave as she is reckless. Her decision was an act that in order to commit it, one had to be brave. But she also had to pay for her actions, which affected other people besides her. I'm not sure if she thought that part through, but then she, in a way, opened other people's eyes to the things she say. I hold a lot of respect for Zari.
This book is powerful. Just as Zari's choice opened Pasha's eyes, it opened my eyes to a lot of the problems people around the world face and though some of them aren't in the USA, we should still know about them. Rooftops of Tehran brought out dozens of emotions. While reading this book, I cried. When I finished this book, I cried. The ending left me wanting for more—so much so that I emailed Mahbod Seraji (in December of 2010). I praised his book and asked him if there was to be a sequel. This is what he wrote:
"Since the book came out last year, I've had over 3,000 emails requesting a sequel. So I'll probably do one sometime in the near future. I'm kind of interested myself to see what happens to Pasha!"
I truly hope there is a sequel, but if there's not I'm content with how the book ended. It ended perfectly for a stand-alone book, but also for the book that has a sequel. Either way, this book is a great book that teaches great life lessons and is a heartwarming as well as heartbreaking story.