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Darius the Great Deserves Better  By  cover art

Darius the Great Deserves Better

By: Adib Khorram
Narrated by: Michael Levi Harris
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Publisher's Summary

In this companion to the award-winning Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Darius suddenly has it all: a boyfriend, an internship, a spot on the soccer team. It's everything he's ever wanted - but what if he deserves better?

Darius Kellner is having a bit of a year. Since his trip to Iran, a lot has changed. He's getting along with his dad, and his best friend Sohrab is only a Skype call away. Between his first boyfriend, Landon, his varsity soccer practices, and an internship at his favorite tea shop, things are falling into place.

Then, of course, everything changes. Darius' grandmothers are in town for a long visit, and Darius can't tell whether they even like him. The internship is not going according to plan, Sohrab isn't answering Darius' calls, and Dad is far away on business. And Darius is sure he really likes Landon...but he's also been hanging out with Chip Cusumano, former bully and current soccer teammate - and well, maybe he's not so sure about anything after all.

Darius was just starting to feel okay, like he finally knew what it meant to be Darius Kellner. But maybe okay isn't good enough. Maybe Darius deserves better. 

©2020 Adib Khorram (P)2020 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"This coming-of-age masterpiece packs a multitude of truth and heart....A sequel that gets better and better the longer it steeps." (Kirkus, starred review)

"Khorram manages the impossible: A stunning follow-up to Darius the Great Is Not Okay that stands alone as a masterful exploration of love, grief, and desire. This isn't just a book I needed as a teenager; it's one I need right now." (Mark Oshiro, award-winning author of Anger Is a Gift

"Khorram explores the intersection of Iranian and queer identity with aching tenderness and realism. This book is like a cup of tea that is as comforting as it is bold. I love it." (Abdi Nazemian, Stonewall Honor-winning author of Like a Love Story

What listeners say about Darius the Great Deserves Better

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Beautiful

I loved every bit of this book. It’s hard to describe everything I felt. I felt connected, heard, seen. I wanted to hug Darius, his mom, his dad, his sister, his grandparents. I wanted everything to actually be okay for him. I didn’t want it to end. I hope there is a third book in the future. I’m not ready to let Darius go yet. I feel like we just became friends.

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Darius Deserves all the Stars

I loved this story, even more than Darius the Great is Not Okay, and I thought that was a really wonderful coming of age story. But Darius the Great Deserves Better was even better. Darius deserves all the stars. I laughed, I cried. I wish we could follow Darius through high school and college, through finding his one true love and getting his happily ever after. Adib Khorram has created such a special character in Darius.
This book was heavy at times, and very real. But it was also sweet and cute, and I just wanted to wrap Darius up in a hug.
It covered so many relevant topics for a high schooler, I really felt for Darius and all the different things he was dealing with and going through. He's just too precious and I'm sad to say good-bye.

Michael Levi Harris does such an awesome job narrating these books. He really brings Darius to life and makes it feel like you are right there with him, almost as if you're watching things play out instead of just listening. I enjoyed his narrations of the secondary characters as well, especially Mamou, Darius's grandmother. She was the sweetest and MLH was really able to show that side of her. I loved everything about his performance.

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I loved it...

...and it made me sympathy-cry.

A lovely story with good messages about a sweet boy told in the best possible way.

(Not saccharin or condescending)

I wish i was part of Darius’s family.

And the narration was great.

1 person found this helpful

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We Deserve Better

I loved the first book and was excited for the sequel. Sigh. I kept waiting for anything to happen. It was so repetitive. Make tea. Over & over & over again. Cry or feel like crying . Over & over & over again. I get he's got depression, but.,. And why have a cover that gives away a plot element that comes late in the book? I'm not sure what the title refers to. He's got Landon, his family, Chip, soccer, his bf (though far away) - it was hard to see what was so awful about his life. One person made snide remarks to him? I think this could have been so much more. Overall, it was OK. I couldn't hate it, but I was expecting to love it & unfortunately, I did not.

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Culture Queer love story

I did not know what to expect from this novel given the fact the first one was so fantastic. It ended up being a great sequel.

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A poignant read about self-identity, love & family

A poignant read about self-identity, love, family, and sexuality set against a backdrop of cultural coming-of-age. This story follows Darius Kellner—at a point of self-acceptance and exploring what that means—when everything starts to unravel once again. He is maneuvering relationships between his boyfriend, Landon, and his soccer teammate Chip Cusumano, his grandmothers, the connection with his Dad, a job, and a recent trip to Iran.

I started the book with high expectations, not realizing I picked up book 2 instead of book 1. I would have liked to come to this story with some of the foundations established in the prior book, since this one picks up right where the previous book ended. Overlooking that, this story still read seamlessly on its own.

The strengths of the book include an honesty in the writing, strong character development, and a real relatability in addressing teen issues like consent, sexuality, and the intersection of culture and society. It was a poignant and heartfelt read. I did find at times that I wasn’t sure where the story was headed, as there wasn’t a lot of plot driving it to an end result.

Overall, I thought this was a solid story with strong characters that readers will relate to, but I would have liked to have a bit more plot to carry the story forward.

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wonderful sequel

finding out that darius the great was having i sequel, i was thinking what else is there to tell. well, there was more then enough. this is even better then the first book with a rich cast of characters, and a wonderful story line, this book is a 5/5 for me. And Michael Levi Harris narrated the story beautifully!

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Definitely Better!

I was a fan of the first book, but I wasn't sure what to expect with this unanticipated sequel. It's quite enjoyable -- personally, I found it more enjoyable than the first. Darius, while sometimes a little off-putting (mainly due to his insecurities), is likable enough, and the plot, while predictable most of the time, was still fun enough to follow. I'm glad that Khorram decided to revisit his characters and add to the eye-opening story of the original.

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Such a wholesome story!

This was such a perfect sequel to Darius the Great is Not Okay. The book picked up right where the last one left off and didn’t feel like just a bunch of rambly stuff to fill a book. The depiction of anxiety and depression is so spot on. I absolutely love Darius as a character because of how emotional he can get and just his honesty is inspiring. Also, I really enjoy the relationships (romantic, mentorship, platonic, familial, etc) that were explored and developed within this novel. Khorram writes incredible characters. I hope his future books also explore similar topics !

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The Book I Wish I’d Had

Both Darius novels have been great. Being out at school wasn’t an option when I was his age, so I’m glad these books allow me to live vicariously and walk around in his shoes, if only for a little while. I hope Darius has more to say.

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  • M. Wolfgram
  • 08-02-21

Great coming-of-age sequel

Darius is back at his high school after his trip to Iran with his family and he seems to have a lot going for him - a place on the soccer team, a job selling his beloved teas and a new boyfriend. But things aren't always as good as they seem. Darius is worried about his depressed father, still gets bullied and can't seem to convince himself to take the next step in his relationship.

How great it is to be inside the head of Darius again, who is such an interesting character to spend time with. I missed his awkward "not really"s. A great coming-of-age sequel that deals with a lot of serious issues in a raw, real, but ultimately uplifting way.

And a shout-out to Michael Levi Harris, who does a fantastic job, narrating the audiobook version and really bringing Darius' story to life.