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Publisher's Summary

Darius doesn't think he'll ever be enough, in America or in Iran. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this unforgettable debut introduces a brilliant new voice in contemporary YA.

Winner of the William C. Morris Debut Award.

“Heartfelt, tender, and so utterly real. I’d live in this book forever if I could.” (Becky Albertalli, award-winning author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda)

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 Persian version of his name - and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab.

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.

©2018 Adib Khorram (P)2018 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

William C. Morris Debut AwardAsian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature; Publishers Weekly Flying Start; TIME's 10 Best Young Adult and Children's Books of 2018; Boston Globe Best Books of 2018; Wall Street Journal Best Books of 2018; BuzzFeed Best YA Books of 2018; Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2018; Kirkus Best Books of 2018; New York Public Library's Best Books of 2018; Book Expo Young Adult Buzz Panel Selection; Indies Introduce Selection for Fall 2018; Indie Next Top Ten Pick for Fall 2018

“Layered with complexities of identity, body image and mental illness that are so rarely articulated in the voice of a teenage boy of color. Khorram writes tenderly and humorously about his protagonist’s journey of self-acceptance, making it hard not to want to reach through the pages, squeeze his hand and reassure Darius that he is, in fact, going to be O.K.” (The New York Times)

“Reminiscent of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (better known in movie form as Love, Simon) and Angie Thomas’ phenomenal The Hate U Give, the novel chronicles a politically aware teendom where microaggressions are as much an everyday obstacle as untamed acne and humdrum mall jobs… Darius the Great Is Not Okay will have you craving a freshly steeped tea, an episode of Star Trek, and a glass of faloodeh - all courtesy of one delightful package.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“This is the hilarious and heartbreaking story of Darius: a clinically-depressed, half-Persian lonely American teenage Trekkie who heads to Iran for the first time to meet his mom’s family.” (Cosmopolitan)

What listeners say about Darius the Great Is Not Okay

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The part when the mother says good bye made me cry

Okay don't hate me... but the way the author picked to write the main character annoyed me just a little bit...

A lot...

Reading this was like reading "What if it's Us" but instead of an incessant and obsessive mention of Harry Potter on every single page, we have a incessant mention of Star Trek and Lord of The Rings...

Like we get it! He is a "nerd"... or a geek or he just simply enjoys a lot those things, which is fine!, but the necessity to mention this every single time annoyed me so much! Like this character can be so much and so strong without the need to relay on LOTR... for everything...

Now, he is terrible at math but he talks like if he was an expert in astrophysics? (but I guess that is just his nerdyness) 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️ but still what kind of teenager talks about "the bathroom losing molecular cohesion"??? Either I am too simple, which could be, or this character was taken out from The Big Bang Theory 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️

I love the cultural element, the talk of food, of their holidays and family events, of their cultural traditions and the places they went to visit! Which I googled and find amazing. I even try the 10 mins to make tea 👀👀 I think there are pros and cons of listening to this audiobook instead of reading it...

If I listen to it... I can hear the accent of the characters which is so rich and strong!

If I listen to it... I can't pick up a lot of the words, spelling and dishes... which is sad because there were a LOT!

I hated Darius' dad because he was such an ass... but it ended up that he had his own issues and even Darius depression made him see things with a darker light.. which makes a lot of sense.

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Amazing story, amazing book!

Thought the narrator was perfect! Truly a great book and I felt that the narrator captured emotions and characters fantastically. Its just such a deeper view into how depression affects people and it did an amazing job!

2 people found this helpful

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Great coming of age

Really enjoyed the novel and personal growth and struggles of the main character. It's one of the best coming of age stories and culturally sensitive audio-books. The performance was fantastic the and the flow of the writing as great. Definitely worth listening more than once.

1 person found this helpful

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Darius

Thought it was a great story for the young adult reader. I did also appreciate the afterward about mental illness. I especially enjoyed the narrators use of the different accents for different characters. He obviously did his research.

3 people found this helpful

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This is definitely a must read

When I picked this book for my future reading I thought the cover was cool. That’s it really and I heard about the sequel. I wasn’t expecting to feel like parts of my life were woven into the little scenes here and there. It touched me in so many different ways. I recently lost my grandmother and I was crying by the end of the book because I wished I had one last chance like Darius to have wished her or my grandparents a final goodbye. One that I knew was forever. It’s a great read and may hit a little harder than expected so be careful.

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Terrific coming of age story.

Darius the Great is Not Okay was more than okay! It was poignant and heartfelt and educational and insightful.
I loved "being" in Iran with Darius and learning about the culture and history of the area.
His relationship with his grandmother was so precious. This book was heavy on relationships, and not all were good. Although by the end of the book there was hope for some.
I really enjoyed this story, a lot more than I expected. I'm looking forward to listening to the follow-up, Darius the Great Deserves Better. I think Darius is such a compelling character, he stole my heart a little.

I thought the narration was terrific, I'm very glad I listened to the audiobook. Michael Levi Harris did a wonderful job with all the different voices, and there were a lot of them!

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glimpse into a different world and culture

Loved peering into the Persian culture and the world of depression. This is a beautiful story of growth, friendship, and family. The narration is well done, especially the different voices and second-language vocabulary. This story was such a delicious treat each night before bed, I missed the characters after the book ended.

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Friendship can change everything

I had to read this book for my class in grad school. It was fantastic an audible because I got to hear the accents and dramatic pauses that moved the story along. Darius is a complicated teen that processes his every move. He eventually finds that all he needs to do is be his authentic self.

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Solid teen book

Darius the Great is Not OK is a good coming of age story. It addresses father-son dynamics, living in a bi-cultural and multilingual family and dealing with regular teenage emotions alongside the ups and downs of depression. As a teacher I could see some of the chapters leading to great discussions about social and family dynamics that kids deal with in real life. The most awkward scene is when the topic of penises come up when kids are showering after a soccer game because the other kids notice Darius in uncircumcised and looks different.

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An incredibly powerful story.

How do you summarize a book like this? I don’t even know how to process all of the emotions I have swirling around right now.

This was so moving. Darius was such a great person. He is flawed, has self doubt, cares so much... He is human. A boy dealing with depression. Dealing with feelings of inadequacy, both in his father’s eyes and among his peers. He doesn’t have any REAL friends and is constantly dealing with ridicule from others because he looks different. His mother is from Iran, but he was born in America, with an American father. He doesn’t really feel a connection with either side of his heritage, though.

When his family learns that his mother’s father has a brain tumor, they all decide to take a trip to Iran to see her family, a family that Darius has only ever known from Skype conversations. There in Iran, he learns so much about his Persian heritage, but he still feels like he isn’t enough, feelings that are exacerbated by his depression. But, there he meets Sohrab, wit whom he makes an immediate connection with. His first true friend helps him navigate through his trip and accepts him for who he is. He lets Darius feel all the emotions that others don’t approve of. He accepts him with such a wonderful kindness.

This was such an amazing read. I knew little to nothing about Iranian cultures. And this audiobook and the incredible narration by Michael Levi Harris helped totally set the pace. There were so many things that I wouldn’t have understood, that with his smooth pronunciations, tone and dialect, made this feel like a fully immersive story.

The last thing I want to touch on is the feeling of community I got when listening (and reading, as I followed along through the ENTIRE story in the physical book as well) to this story. You are brought into this world of Darius the Great through so many levels. Him and his father dealing with their sometimes tumultuous relationship. The fact that they both suffer from depression. That was rough to read about, but so necessary. I respect so much that Khorram was writing from experience. And also, the sweet tender nature of Darius. He was such a great character who pulled such strong and tangible emotions from he throughout this story. I cannot wait to see what is in store for Darius in the next book.

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  • Daniel Salleh
  • 03-25-20

mehhhh

The content was decent; i was waiting for something more to happen but it wasn't there lol. The narration was not bad at all.

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  • Gayle
  • 04-11-21

Captivating

I was captivated by Darius' journey from beginning to end. Adib Khorram masterfully interwove depression, cultural identity and self-realisation through engaging and heartwarming storytelling. Michael Levi Harris also gave one of the best vocal performances I have heard. I'm looking forward to the next book and hope to read and hear a lot more from both of them.