STARRED REVIEW
September 2018

Dazed and confused in Iran

By Adib Khorram

With his brilliant debut, Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Adib Khorram has given us one of the most compelling and humorous teen narrators in recent memory.

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With his brilliant debut, Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Adib Khorram has given us one of the most compelling and humorous teen narrators in recent memory.

Darius Kellner is half Persian, half white and constantly out of his depth. With no friends, a penchant for “dietary indiscretions” and a titanic sense of insufficiency, Darius is not OK.

When his Iranian grandfather gets sick, the family jumps aboard a plane to Iran, and Darius finds a whole new world waiting for him—along with all his same old problems. With more knowledge of Klingon than Farsi, Darius once again finds himself on the outside looking in. But after a lifetime of playing the odd man out, Darius finds his first true friend—and perhaps his first true love—and begins to accept that not being OK might be OK after all.

With a host of perfectly imperfect characters and more “Star Trek” and J.R.R. Tolkien references than you’ll likely find outside of a Comic-Con, Khorram takes on a host of weighty topics with uncanny lightness and care. Whether depicting Darius’ depression, his budding romance or his struggle to unravel his cultural, familial and sexual identities, Khorram approaches his narrative with a rare mix of humor, respect and deep sympathy.

Equally entertaining and endearing, Darius the Great Is Not Okay is a must-read if you’ve ever felt out of place or insufficient.

 

This article was originally published in the September 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Darius the Great Is Not Okay

Darius the Great Is Not Okay

By Adib Khorram
Dial
ISBN 9780525552963

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