Okay, kids. Take note of this gorgeous book coming out August 28th from Penguin Teen. Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram has quickly become one of my favorite reads this year.
It’s a gorgeously written contemporary coming-of-age story, which follows the titular Darius as he struggles to figure out who he is. This search for identity is tied up in his personality quirks (which makes him the target of bullies at school), his mixed heritage (dad is as white as they come, and mom is Persian), a strained relationship with his family, and his mental illness. All of this comes to a head when Darius travels to his mom’s native Iran for the very first time — but an unexpected friend could be the key to helping Darius find himself.
There’s also tea. Lots and lots of tea. (It’s a Persian thing, and also Darius is an enthusiast.)
I loved immersing myself in Darius’s world and Darius’s voice; Khorram writes with such heart and honesty. The result were many FEELS. Even, I confess, a few tears. (I am not moved to tears easily, people!)
This book is just a gorgeous thing — a beautiful story, beautifully told. It’s about family and heritage and learning about where you come from, so you can figure out who you want to be. It’s about friendship and empathy and learning to embrace those around you, flaws and all. It’s about privilege and tradition and history. And it’s a little about tea, too.
Here’s more about the book from the official synopsis:
Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.
Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understand that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.
Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.
Adib Khorram is an author, a graphic designer, and a tea enthusiast. If he’s not writing (or at his day job), you can probably find him trying to get his 100 yard Freestyle (SCY) under a minute, or learning to do a Lutz Jump. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri. This is his first novel.
- August 20 – Novel Novice – Creative Instagram Picture
- August 21 – AEB Book Reviews – Review
- August 22 – VelarisReads – Book Aesthetics
- August 23 – Happy Book Lovers – Creative Instagram Picture
- August 24 – Forever and Everly – Review
- August 27 – Vicky Who Reads – Listicle: Random Things Darius Would Approve Of
- August 28 – Snarky yet Satisfying – Creative Instagram Picture
- August 29 – The Hermit Librarian – Author Guest Post: “Tea, properly made, is a core interest to Darius, despite his manager at Tea Haven. Are there greater themes or parallels between his interest in properly brewed teas and his story/journey that readers should take note of?”
- August 30 – Keep Holding on to Books – Book Aesthetic
- August 31 – Malanie Loves Fiction – Review
- September 3 – Afire Pages – Review + Author Guest Post: Recommendations of Persian food and places-to-see for tourists.
- September 4 – Dotters Daughters Picks – Moodboard
- September 5 – The Fandom – Review + Different Persian dishes in the book
- September 6 – The Royal Polar Bear Reads – Author Interview
- September 7 – Reading (AS)(I)AN (AM) ERICAN – Review