Darius the Great Is Not Okay

By: Adib Khorram

Afterword with resources. Darius, who’s half Persian, has never fit in at home in Oregon. He’s sure things will be the same in Iran; but then he meets Sohrab and everything changes.

ISBN: 9780525552963

JLG Release: Nov 2018


Sensitive Areas: Discrimination, Mild language, Mild sexual themes
Topics: Friendship , Grandparents , Family life , Clinical depression , Iranian Americans , Persian Americans , Racially mixed people , Iran

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Awards & Honors

2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Honor, Fiction and Poetry
2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, Young Adult
2019 William C. Morris Award Winner
Rainbow List Choice - 2019
2019 Indies Choice Award Finalist, Book of the Year - Young Adult
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens - 2019
CCBC Choices 2019 Choice: Fiction for Young Adults
Publishers Weekly Best Books - 2018
Kirkus Best Books, Young Adult - 2018
NYPL Best Books for Teens - 2018

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Kirkus Reviews*, School Library Journal*, The Horn Book Magazine, Publishers Weekly*, Kirkus Reviews*, School Library Journal*, Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine

School Library Journal

Darius is a bullied American teenager dealing with numerous stigmas. His mom is Persian and his “Übermensch” dad is white. He is overweight. He takes medication for depression. He is a devotee of artisanal tea, Star Trek (all seasons), and Tolkien. And there is an unspoken awareness that Darius is gay. He is certain that he is a constant disap Darius is a bullied American teenager dealing with numerous stigmas. His mom is Persian and his “Übermensch” dad is white. He is overweight. He takes medication for depression. He is a devotee of artisanal tea, Star Trek (all seasons), and Tolkien. And there is an unspoken awareness that Darius is gay. He is certain that he is a constant disappointment to his father who also takes antidepressants, which they both consider a weakness. When his family travels to Iran to see his mother’s parents because his grandfather (Babou) is dying, Darius experiences shifting perceptions about the country, his extended family, and himself. Debut author Khorram presents meticulous descriptions and explanations of food, geography, religion, architecture, and English translations of Farsi for readers unfamiliar with Persian culture through characters’ dialogue and Darius’s observations. References to Tolkien, Star Trek, and astronomy minutiae, on the other hand, may be unclear for uninitiated readers. Despite the sometimes overly didactic message about the importance of chronic depression treatment, Darius is a well-crafted, awkward but endearing character, and his cross-cultural story will inspire reflection about identity and belonging. VERDICT A strong choice for YA shelves. Give this to fans for Adam Silvera and John Corey Whaley.–Elaine Fultz, Madison Jr. Sr. High School, Middletown, OH

Horn Book

Sophomore Darius Kellner doesn’t fit in at his Oregon high school, where he’s bullied by Trent Bolger and his “Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy.” But Darius also doesn’t fit comfortably in his own life due to clinical depression, confusion about his half-Persian heritage, and constant awareness of his white “Übermensch” father’s disap Sophomore Darius Kellner doesn’t fit in at his Oregon high school, where he’s bullied by Trent Bolger and his “Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy.” But Darius also doesn’t fit comfortably in his own life due to clinical depression, confusion about his half-Persian heritage, and constant awareness of his white “Übermensch” father’s disappointment in him. Darius has only met his mother’s family over Skype, but when the news comes that his grandfather is dying, the family embarks on an extended trip to Iran. Here the book ripens into an exploration of understanding one’s identity—both personally and culturally. When Darius meets his grandparents’ neighbor Sohrab, a Bahá’í young man, in Yazd, a tender and natural friendship begins. Unlike the “Level Seven Awkward Silences” he shares with his stern father, the teen feels comfortable and safe with this stranger: “I could be silent with Sohrab. That’s how I knew we were going to be friends.” Khorram’s debut novel is an affectionate portrait of Iran: the food and aromas, the rich traditions and eclectic culture. The somewhat choppy first-person narrative also explains Farsi phrases and their complex etymology. As Darius’s palpable discomfort begins to give way, readers will understand that home can be more than the physical place you live, and that people who make you feel at home can come into your life unexpectedly. katrina hedeen

Book Details

ISBN

9780525552963

First Release

November 2018

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Page Count

320

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.7; Points: 10;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 5.4; Points: 17;

Lexile

Level HL710L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Dial

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Discrimination, Mild language, Mild sexual themes

Topics

Friendship, Grandparents, Family life, Clinical depression, Iranian Americans, Persian Americans, Racially mixed people, Iran,

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Cover Art

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