REVIEW: RELATABILITY SHINES IN ‘DARIUS THE GREAT’

KAYLA MARTHALER, TRUMPET SENIOR NEWS WRITER

“Darius the Great Is Not Okay” by Adib Khorram, is an eye-opening read for people from all backgrounds and is definitely worth trucking through and perhaps reliving the awkwardness and possible discomfort of our teen years.

The book is a heart-warming story about a half-Persian teen whose world changes when he travels to Iran to meet his grandparents for the first time. Darius suffers from depression, lack of confidence and insufficient social skills.

With an extreme love and expertise of tea, these characteristics seem to make him very relatable to a lot of readers. Darius experiences the many challenges of a classic coming-of-age tale, while also adding the challenges of fitting in with his family in both America and Iran.

Darius also was on medication for depression that made him gain weight, an issue for many teens and young adults. Readers are really able to identify with his struggle to gain a healthier self-image, while also trying to blend in with the world around him.

Khorram is very open when writing about mental health and is also open to explaining what being the child of an immigrant is really like for both those who have experienced it and those who have not. Darius faced bullying in school both in America and Iran.

In his school in America, Darius was ridiculed for looking differently and being interested in somewhat strange things, professionally steeping tea, for example. He thought that at least one of those problems would dissipate when he went to Iran, however, he faced the same discrimination.

“Darius the Great Is Not Okay” is the first book written by Khorram. Khorram won YALSA’s William C. Morris Award for Best Debut Author Writing for Teens and the Asian/Pacific American Literature Association’s Young Adult Award for this book.

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