|Darius the Great is not okay|
Author: Khorram, Adib
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.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 198253
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 17.0 Quiz: 75087
School Library Journal (00/08/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/09/18)
The Hornbook (00/09/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 08/01/2018 Darius Kellner has more than his share of teen troubles to manage: racist bullies, clinical depression, complications with his father, and feeling like a misfit. So he does not expect much when his family travels to Iran to visit his maternal grandparents. Darius is a keen observer of life and very much aware of his emotional mechanisms. He is loving, sensitive, and a connoisseur of tea: steeping, drinking, sharing with family. He views the world through analogies to Star Trek and the Lord of the Rings trilogy in ways that are sometimes endearing and other times cumbersome. The trip to Iran opens new places of tenderness as Darius connects with people, places, and history that feel simultaneously familiar and new. But most significant is his friendship with Sohrab, which is tinged with an intimacy that suggests it is something more than platonic. This is a refreshing bildungsroman and an admirable debut novel that will leave readers wanting more. Hand to readers of Sara Farizan’s Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel? (2014) and soul-searching teens. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2018 Gr 8 Up—Darius is a bullied American teenager dealing with numerous stigmas. His mom is Persian and his "Übermensch" dad is white. He is overweight. He takes medication for depression. He is a devotee of artisanal tea, Star Trek (all seasons), and Tolkien. And there is an unspoken awareness that Darius is gay. He is certain that he is a constant disappointment to his father who also takes antidepressants, which they both consider a weakness. When his family travels to Iran to see his mother's parents because his grandfather (Babou) is dying, Darius experiences shifting perceptions about the country, his extended family, and himself. Debut author Khorram presents meticulous descriptions and explanations of food, geography, religion, architecture, and English translations of Farsi for readers unfamiliar with Persian culture through characters' dialogue and Darius's observations. References to Tolkien, Star Trek, and astronomy minutiae, on the other hand, may be unclear for uninitiated readers. Despite the sometimes overly didactic message about the importance of chronic depression treatment, Darius is a well-crafted, awkward but endearing character, and his cross-cultural story will inspire reflection about identity and belonging. VERDICT A strong choice for YA shelves. Give this to fans for Adam Silvera and John Corey Whaley.—Elaine Fultz, Madison Jr. Sr. High School, Middletown, OH - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.