Darius the Great Is Not Okay

Adib Khorram. Dial, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-525-55296-3
First-time author Khorram’s coming-of-age novel brings to life the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of a culture steeped in tradition. After learning that her Iranian father is ailing, high school sophomore Darius’s mother decides to take the family to visit her father and relatives in Iran. Suffering from chronic depression and bullied at school in America, Darius isn’t sure how he’ll fare in a country he’s never seen. It doesn’t take him long to adjust as people welcome him with open arms, however, especially after he meets Sohrab, his grandparents’ teenaged neighbor, who invites him to play soccer and quickly becomes Darius’s first real friend ever. While the book doesn’t sugarcoat problems in the country (unjust imprisonment and an outdated view of mental illness are mentioned), it mainly stays focused on the positive—Iran’s impressive landscape and mouthwatering food, the warmth of its people—as it shows how a boy who feels like an outcast at home finds himself and true friendship overseas. Ages 12–up. Agent: Molly O’Neill, Waxman Leavell. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/04/2018
Release date: 08/28/2018
Ebook - 978-0-525-55298-7
Other - 978-0-525-48759-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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