cover image Only This Beautiful Moment

Only This Beautiful Moment

Abdi Nazemian. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $19.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-303937-7

Nazemian (The Chandler Legacies) combines myriad interconnected narratives spanning three generations of an Iranian family in this ambitious read. In 2019, 17-year-old Mahmoud Jafarzadeh, who is queer, is visiting Tehran from Los Angeles for the first time to spend time with grandfather Baba, who is terminally ill. When Moud confides his complicated feelings about his family and culture to his white boyfriend Shane, he claims that Moud is “defending a regime that wants you dead.” In a 1978-set plotline occurring during the Iranian Revolution, 18-year-old student activist Saeed, Moud’s father, falls for Shirin, a fellow protestor. But Saeed’s parents, fearful for his life, send him to America to complete his education away from the tumult. And in 1939 Hollywood, Moud’s Baba, 17-year-old Bobby, yearns to tell his Mexican American best friend Vicente that he loves him. The day he plucks up the courage, Bobby’s overbearing stage mother sweeps him away for a once-in-a-lifetime film opportunity that drastically changes the course of his life. Via the trio’s intimately realized alternating perspectives, Nazemian paints a transcendent and complex portrait of generational grief and self-discovery, expertly interweaving the boys’ individual experiences with homophobia, racism, and U.S.-Iranian relations to deliver a touching family drama. Ages 13–up. (May)