Darius the Great Is Not Okay

by Adib Khorram

Darius is a self-described “fractional” Iranian; his mom from Iran, his... read more

Darius is a self-described “fractional” Iranian; his mom from Iran, his dad a white “ubermensch.” Darius loves tea and Star Trek with equal passion. Watching episodes of “The Next Generation” is one of the few ways he and his dad connect. Otherwise, he feels judged—for his lack of friends, for being overweight, for being so sensitive, for not standing up to bullies in high school. Although both he and his dad take medication for depression, they don’t talk about it. When Darius’s family travels to Iran to spend time with his grandparents, Darius makes his first good, true friend in Sohrab. Sohrab “doesn’t have walls around his heart”—he is easy to talk to and openly affectionate. Because of Sohrab, Darius starts to see himself differently. And because of Sohrab, and his grandparents and extended family, and the places they visit in Iran, Darius also begins to understand the history and culture of the place and people that live in his mother’s—and now his—heart. And because of his grief—over his grandfather’s illness, over unexpected hurt—his dad bridges the distance between them, revealing love that’s always been there. Darius is a funny and tender first-person narrator in a debut novel with terrifically drawn characters, richly depicted relationships, and full of warmth and hope. Darius is just beginning to consider his love for Sohrab may be more than friendship by story’s end. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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