cover image The Authentics

The Authentics

Abdi Nazemian. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-248646-2

What begins as an English class assignment transforms into a messy but fulfilling journey of self-discovery for a Beverly Hills teen in this first YA title from screenwriter and novelist Nazemian (The Walk-in Closet). The project is simple: the students must present the stories of how they got to where they are today, but 15-year-old Daria Esfandyar gets startling results from a genealogy test she takes with her friends, learning that she is half Mexican and not fully Iranian as she thought. Struggling with her sense of self after determining that she was adopted, Daria buries the hurt and betrayal she feels toward her parents and sets out to find her biological mother. She finds the woman’s stepson first and romantic sparks fly. Nazemian raises thought-provoking questions about what “authenticity” means; Daria and her friends, aka the Authentics, pride themselves on keeping it real. Daria’s struggles will resonate with readers who have felt like they don’t know where they belong or who they want to be, and certainly with the children of immigrants who feel caught between worlds. Ages 13–up. Agent: Mitchell Waters, Curtis Brown. (Aug.)