Darius the Great Is Not Okay

Darius the Great Is Not Okay

Book - 2018
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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.
Publisher: New York, NY : Dial Books, 2018
ISBN: 9780525552963
0525552960
Branch Call Number: FICTION Kho
Description: 314 pages ; 22 cm

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bezoarbezoarbezoar
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.

a
alolmated
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.

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.

l
leslie_d_
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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bezoarbezoarbezoar
Jul 13, 2019

bezoarbezoarbezoar thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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blue_bee_2537
Jun 27, 2019

blue_bee_2537 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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leslie_d_
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

l
leslie_d_
Dec 12, 2018

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

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