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Darius the Great Is Not Okay

Darius the Great Is Not Okay

Book - 2018
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"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 Farsi version of his name -- and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he's Darioush to Sohrab. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Adib Khorram's brilliant debut is for anyone who's ever felt not good enough -- then met a friend who makes them feel so much better than okay"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, [2018]
ISBN: 9780525552963
Branch Call Number: YF KHORR-A
Characteristics: 314 pages ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Darius the Great is not ok


From Library Staff

"Clinically-depressed Darius Kellner, a high school sophomore, travels to Iran to meet his grandparents, but it is their next-door neighbor, Sohrab, who changes his life."--Provided by Novelist

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SAPL_Teens Mar 10, 2021

Darius is a self-proclaimed nerd. He likes Star Trek and Lord of the Rings and gets bullied because of it. No one wants to be his friend and he struggled with depression. When his family travels to Iran to see their grandfather, Darius finally makes a friendship that changes his life. This book was very unexpected to me, I did not know very much about Persian culture or language or food and I think that I learned a lot by reading this book. I thought that there might be more romance in it, but overall it is an amazing book about friendship and family and finding yourself in a new place. It really made me want to travel and I felt like I was transported to a new land by reading this story. It is a good book to recommend to people who don't like romance in their stories. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. 4/5 stars - SAPL Read It & Review Contributor

Apr 02, 2020

Darius the Great Is Not Okay is a book about finding family and where you belong, but it's also a book about dealing with depression. Darius is a wonderful, sweet character that grows in his journey in Iran with his new best friend. You will fall in love with the beauty of Iran and Darius's family in the book, and you won't want to leave them.

Jun 26, 2019

So this book is great. And for the most part, I really loved it. But there were pieces missing that I felt could have pushed this over the top and made it even better. There are some serious hints at Darius being gay but it is never explicitly stated. I understand that the author was wanting to write about the effects of depression and not about sexuality, but I feel that a book about a queer, mixed-race teenager with mental health issues would have been much better than several ambiguous hints about whether or not Darius is into guys.

The parental/family relationship stuff feels very genuine, and I think the author did an excellent job of portraying how relationships can be strained because of depression. I found myself chafing at the constant insertions of "quirky" descriptions for events/people/etc. To me it felt more like the author was trying to sound like a teenager than actually writing like one.

It is easy to draw lines between this book and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and perhaps the biggest thing they have in common is that OH MAN do the narrators annoy me. There is no particular reason for this. I have had depression my whole life, I take medication for it, but yeesh something about Darius kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

Apr 09, 2019

This is a heartfelt book about friendship. Darius feels overweight, estranged from his father, and looked down on by his classmates. A trip to Iran to visit his dying grandfather, has a profound affect on him. A new friend helps him see his life in different light, though he has to go through some pain and humiliation to get there. This book gave me deep respect for the Iranian people and their ancient culture.

PimaLib_JessicaP Feb 20, 2019

This quiet, darling book is told from the point of view of Darius, who was named after a great Persian ruler (Darius the Great). The biracial son of a white American and a Persian immigrant, Darius is not comfortable in his life. He just wants to make tea and hang out with his friends, but his weight and his clinical depression are two of many things that get in the way. When the family learns that Darius's grandfather in Iran is ill, they decide to make a family trip to Iran. It's there that Darius learns more about himself, makes his first friend, and gains a better understanding of life and relationships, whether friends or family. I basically cried throughout the whole thing, which I read in a single sitting. It's no surprise this book won the Morris Award!

IndyPL_ShellieR Feb 13, 2019

You know how, in fairy stories, humans are warned never to eat fairy food when they visit the fairy realm? If they do, they won't ever be able to make themselves eat human food again and they will wither away and die. This book may have had that effect on me. I may be unable to read any other YA fiction ever again. P.S. Highly recommended for fans of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe.

JCLChrisK Feb 12, 2019

Sometimes a friendship can make all the difference. Darius doubts everything about himself, doesn't fit in, is constantly picked on, doesn't really connect with anyone. Anyone. Then he finds his first true friend, and that connection allows him to see himself in a new light--through they eyes of someone who really appreciates him--which creates ripples through everything.

Of course, it's not nearly as easy as that description; there is much sadness and struggle getting to that point. It involves a journey to Iran to get to know a grandfather he has never met who is on the verge of death. A journey into his heritage, somewhere entirely new he doesn't fit in. For Darius sits at the strange intersection of American, Iranian, Star Trek, and Tolkien cultures. This gives him an unusual perspective and a great narrative voice for telling this poignant, moving tale of growth and self-discovery.

Dec 12, 2018

I love the depth of Darius' feelings and how they do not only elicit an empathetic response of pain, but also shared self-deprecation and humor. Darius is too endearing to laugh at and irrepressible enough keep us from despairing—this has everything to do with how he’s written.

Khorram maintains that difficult tension of levity and the deadly serious. That charm isn’t effortless. One cannot afford to undermine the other; which I think this novel is so rare in teen fiction. Darius is neither pathetic, nor to be pitied; which I think is what happens when you try to write a human being, not an idea or trope or lesson plan.

Khorram does a lot of educational and emotional work in Darius the Great, but the reading is effortless. Darius is engaging as a first person point of view, utterly distinct and compelling. Darius the Great is Not Okay is an entertaining and moving read and easily one of my favorite YA novels this year.

If I were still working at the bookstore, this is the one for that reluctant male reader, and an option for that frustrated shopper in the teen section looking for humor. Darius the Great should also lure the sci-fi fantasy reader into fiction.

Recommended for all the libraries; for lovers of contemporary fiction; for those who like to read beyond their borders; for those with depression and/or straddling two worlds to feel less alone; there are sports; and no romance. For readers of John Green, Patrick Ness, Benjamin Alire Saenz, and Francisco X. Stork; For adult readers of Nick Hornby to consider.


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Apr 02, 2020

frenchhornistba thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jul 13, 2019

bezoarbezoarbezoar thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jun 27, 2019

blue_bee_2537 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Dec 12, 2018

The quantum singularity in my chest churned, drawing more interstellar dust into its event horizon, sucking up all the light that drew too close. --Darius

Dec 12, 2018

Deep inside my chest, a main sequence star collapsed under its own gravity. --Darius


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