10 Reasons why you should read “Darius The Great is Not Okay”


Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s a Fractional Persian—half, his mom’s side—and his first-ever trip to Iran is about to change his life.

Darius has never really fit in at home, and he’s sure things are going to be the same in Iran. His clinical depression doesn’t exactly help matters, and trying to explain his medication to his grandparents only makes things harder. Then Darius meets Sohrab, the boy next door, and everything changes. Soon, they’re spending their days together, playing soccer, eating faludeh, and talking for hours on a secret rooftop overlooking the city’s 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.

Reasons why you should read this book :

True teen voice: Told in Darius’s self-deprecatingly funny and fresh voice, this novel has the lightness and real-kid sensibility of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and the depth and honesty of I’ll Give You the Sun.

Discovering cultural identity as a mixed kid: Because his dad is white, Darius has always thought of himself as “just” a fractional Persian, and he wishes he could find the cultural ease of True Persians like his mom. Being in Iran lets Darius find a way toward his own complicated but wonderful true-and-fractional Persianness.

Family far away and near by: Darius has always had a difficult relationship with his dad, and almost no relationship with his grandparents, whom he loves but doesn’t really know. Spring break in Yazd changes everything for this family.

Living with depression: Darius has known about his clinical depression for a long time, but he’s still learning how it affects him, especially as he begins to experience friendship and—maybe—romantic feelings for the first time.

Pre-coming out story: Like the characters in Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Darius and Sohrab become super close super fast, and their relationship feels a little ambiguous. Darius hints at having romantic feelings for Sohrab, but he’s not ready to say it out loud yet—and that’s okay.

Unique setting: This is one of the only contemporary, non-political YA novels in the Middle East. The Iranian setting is beautifully realized by an author whose own extended family lives there.

Debut author: This is Adib Khorram’s first novel, and readers are going to fall in love with his incredibly authentic voice.

You need more reasons?




Praise for Darius the Great is Not Okay

“Heartfelt, tender, and so utterly real. I’d live in this book forever if I could.”—Becky Albertalli, award-winning author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

“I love this story, and the way it combines the bitter of adolescence with the sweet of friendship and family. Brewed together they make a beautiful, memorable book.”—Laurie Halse Anderson, award-winning author of Speak

“Darius the Great is not just okay—he’s wonderful. A story about learning who you are, who you want to be in the world, and how family will always be there, no matter how great the physical or emotional distance.”—Sara Farizan, author of If You Could Be Mine

“I’ve never read a book that so powerfully demonstrates how connecting with where you come from can illuminate who you are and help you figure out where you’re going. From its deadpan Star Trek humor to its brilliant examination of mental health, Darius the Great is Not Okay is a supernova of heart and hope that’s sure to become a classic.”—Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin

“A love letter to anyone who has felt uncomfortable in their own skin and wondered where exactly they belonged. A big-hearted and marvelous debut.”—Jasmine Warga, author of My Heart and Other Black Holes

Darius the Great is Not Okay is a total knockout. This story of identity and friendship—and how one can inform and reveal the other—will stay with me for a long time. And challenge me too, as a person and artist, which all great books should do. For its exploration of male friendship and cultural expectations alone, Adib Khorram’s lovely debut should be required reading.”—John Corey Whaley, award-winning author of Highly Illogical Behavior

And now, you can read our Interview with Adib here :

Interview with Adib Khorram, author of Darius The Great is Not Okay



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