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Darius the Great Is Not Okay

(Darius the Great #1)

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  27,273 ratings  ·  5,574 reviews
Darius doesn't think he'll ever be enough, in America or in Iran.

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He's about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it's pretty overwhelming—especially when he's also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In I
Hardcover, 316 pages
Published August 28th 2018 by Dial Books
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Liam As a gay man who came of age in the early 90s, I felt like this book captured something really beautiful about what it is like to awaken to a male fri…moreAs a gay man who came of age in the early 90s, I felt like this book captured something really beautiful about what it is like to awaken to a male friendship that simultaneously might be on the knife's edge of something else--a sort of proto-queer experience. There's a really nicely handled idea in the book about the difference between a country where homosexuality is allowed but hostility toward homosocial behavior is still rampant (America) and a country where homosexuality is not allowed but homosocial behavior is very accepted (Iran). I can attest to the fact that I had a similar experience also on a trip outside of America when I was 14, where a boy was very friendly and physical with me in a way that I had never ever experienced in America. It definitely woke me up to some feelings, but I didn't realize what they meant until about 6 months later.(less)

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Average rating 4.28  · 
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Kai Spellmeier
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, owned, queer
"Suicide isn't the only way you can lose someone to depression."

Darius the Great Is Not Okay and neither am I.

I will rave about this book. A lot. I have so many good things to say about it that I need to gather my thoughts before I can write a coherent review. This book took my heart by storm. It made me sad and happy and also very hungry.
When I started this book, I knew that I would get emotional. With some books, you just know. The tension started building up and I could feel the tears prickin
may ➹
“It’s okay not to be okay.”

The first thing you should know about Darius the Great is Not Okay is that it actually made me cry (which doesn’t happen frequently). It was hilarious, and heartbreaking, and gorgeous. I saw so much of myself in Darius, and each time I put the book down I just wanted to pick it back up and read more.

This book is about a boy named Darius, who has never really been in touch with his Persian identity until visiting Iran—and his family—for the first time. It’s
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Re-read 8/11/20: I loved this book even more the second time around and am actually raising my rating from a 4 to a 5. This book is incredible and if you haven't read it yet YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO. I am so glad that I have an arc of Darius the Great Deserves Better so that I can dive in IMMEDIATELY!

Original read 8/28/18: WOW OKAY I liked this a heckin’ ton. This is the first book I’ve ever read with an Iranian main character and I learned so many things about the culture that I never knew be
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First book of the Reading Rush complete!
Reading_ Tamishly
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
***the sequel is calling me***

All those tears and all.

This book talks about so many things: the representation of mental health (depression, therapy, stigma and the discrimination towards it), multicultural representation, the Persian culture and tradition; food and tea love; family and friendship; the sibling dynamics; and yes, also handling bullying, body shaming; coming of age representation. It also shows how a family copes with a member suffering with brain cancer. It also deals with ident
Larry H
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars, rounded up.

What an enjoyable, sweet, and special book!

"What kind of name is Darius Grover Kellner? It was like I was destined to be a target."

Darius Kellner calls himself a "Fractional Persian"—his mother is Persian, and he refers to his blonde, Teutonic father as the Übermensch. But he feels like he doesn't quite fit into either world. He looks like his mother but never really learned to speak Farsi (although his younger sister did), and while he and his father share a love of Sta
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

A solid YA novel I would recommend to fans of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda . Darius the Great Is Not Okay did not blow me away, but I appreciated several parts of it, in particular its emphasis on Persian/Iranian culture, its careful portrayal of depression, and its focus on friendship. With the awful current political climate, Adib Khorram's rendering of Iran felt like a much needed respite from the racist and problematic images we receive from mainstream media. Khorram's depic
Oct 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: iranian-diaspora
As I've gotten older, I've developed a curiosity about/longing for connection to my Persian heritage that I didn't have as a younger person. I couldn't tell you where exactly this sudden interest came from, but I have lately found myself following the news about Iran, and asking my grandparents about the old country, and, of course, reading a lot of novels by Iranian-American authors.

What I'm trying to say, in short, is that I was primed to like this book. I'd heard about it months ago, when th
Katie B
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Darius Kellner is what he likes to call a Fractional Persian as his mother was born and raised in Iran but his dad is white. Although he has a nightly ritual of watching Star Trek reruns with his father, the rest of the time Darius feels like he is a big disappointment to his dad. The family makes a trip to Iran to visit relatives and there Darius meets Sohrab, the teenage neighbor of his grandparents. This is a YA story of feeling like you don't belong and learning to accept who you are.

I reall
Lauren Lanz
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Richly cultural and beautifully real, Darius The Great is Not Okay was a truly wonderful book.

“I was one tiny pulsar in a swirling, luminous galaxy of Iranians, held together by the gravity of thousands of years of culture and heritage.”

~★~ What is this book about? ~★~

Darius is a half Iranian teenager that hardly fits in at home in America. He knows more about hobbits and Star Trek than social cues, and the only thing he has in common with his father is their clinical depression. When Da
Em Lost In Books
I used to stay away from YA but this year it's a different story. I have read many YA books this year, so I can safely says that I am not averse this genre as I used to be 2-3 years ago. I saw this book making rounds on my GR home page repeatedly and one fine Saturday I caved in and started reading this. I have to confess, to me blurb without "Iran" is the avg blurb that I read for this genre.

This story revolves around Darius who is on his first visit to Iran to visit his ailing maternal grand
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Buddy read with
This book was heart warming at one moment and the next l was sobbing like a baby
So basically a roller coaster of emotions
My emotions while reading this book :

I could relate to Darius in so many ways
My parents belong to two different cultures
So there were many situations in the books that I was familiar with

Darius was trying his best to become a part of the Persian culture and I was so proud of him!!
I loved his character arc🥰
Though I would
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

There are no bells and whistles for this one. Some books don’t need them. Darius the Great Is Not Okay is the story of a young boy who takes a trip to Iran with his family when they discover his grandfather is terminally ill. It’s about finding a place in the world when you feel like you’re nothing but a social outcast. More importantly, it’s about clinical depression. And it is DONE. SO. WELL. You can tell the author struggles/has str
Kevin (Irish Reader)
Mar 16, 2022 rated it it was amazing
”suicide isn’t the only way you can lose someone to depression”

This was such a beautifully written book with such a lovable cast of characters. Darius’ mental health representation is something I could really resonate with and I thought it was handled really well. His relationship with his dad was also handled really well and seeing the journey both of them went on to get to where they are by the end of the novel, was really beautiful to read. It highlighted the struggles depression puts on rela
Lucy Tonks
Jun 06, 2021 rated it liked it
”Your place was empty before. But this is your family. You belong here.

I had pretty high hopes for this and I actually thought I would love it, but sadly that wasn't really the case. It isn't a bad book by any means it just didn't have that big of an impact on me as it seems to have had with other people. Maybe I just wasn't really the intended audience for this book, although from the sypnopsis it seemed like everything I would love.

TW: depression, ignorant views about mental health, bull
Zitong Ren
Oohoohoo, look at my emotions go on a rollercoaster. I mean, I don’t tear up very often reading books, maybe it’s because I haven’t gotten to the really depressing part of literature yet. Like, when I read this, I had some tears in my eyes, especially at this one scene near the end, but it wasn’t like full on sobbing, so I don’t know if I should be glad that a book has yet to destroy me like that, yet(I mean I know it’s coming eventually). What I’m getting at is, is that not a lot of books can m ...more
✨    jami   ✨
I liked this a lot, my rating is somewhere between a 3 and 4 star I'm still deciding.

The focus on friendship and anxieties around culture/diaspora was really interesting. I've never read a book set in Iran so that element had me so interested throughout. The depression rep is also GREAT. Just overall great rep here. (This is ownvoices Persian & depression rep I believe)

The only thing I didn't LOVE was that I thought the characters could have been more fleshed out, especially Sohrab and Laleh. B
Rachel (LoverofTBR)
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
BR with Diana, Mrin, Rue, Tani, and Mari! Ladies, I am going to consider this BR a success. For the most part, lol (looking at you, Brekker)!

4 ‘it’s okay not to be okay’ 🌟

Wow, look at me reading another book outside of my usual genres! I don’t read YA contemporary novels anymore, especially that deal with heavy issues including mental health, because I use books as my escapism tool and I don’t want to face reality while I am immersed in a novel. If that makes s
I don't think it's possible for me to actually be able to externalize how much this book meant to me. And how dear it has come to be to my heart.

I had some level 150 break downs while reading this book. And I loved every second of it.

I know what you're thinking and no, I am not a masochist. This books sure has its heartbreaking elements but they aren't "sad" sad. They are more touching than sad. It's just one of those books which make you have really wholesome break downs. And if you don't wha
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
“we have a saying in farsi. It translates to ‘your place was empty.’ we say it when we miss somebody."

"your place was empty before. but this is your family. you belong here.”

Gemma ♕ Bookish Gems
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Malanie said that this book reminds her of me, because it is “friendship, cleverness, and fluffy wholesomeness, which = Lily’s vibe”, so you bet I’m going to read it!!

And if I don’t love this, I might as well crawl into a dark hole somewhere far away from civilization, where no one can find me (which incidentally suits me just fine, because uni starts next week).

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Ryan Buckby
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Suicide isn't the only way you can lose someone to depression.

actual rating: 4.5/5 stars

Wow, i enjoyed that book a lot and for Adib's debut novel it was a real good one to start with!

Plot: This book centres around Darius Kellner who is a Persian American who has an American father and a Persian mother, who is just going through the motions of any teenager at his age. However Darius is living with depression and dealing with the day in and day out jokes from his classmates, he's just trying t
“You're okay,” he murmured.
“No. I'm not.”
“I know.” He rubbed my back up and down. “It's okay not to be okay.”

I was a bit scared going into this book, because what if I ended up being the only human being not liking it? But, fortunately for me, I ended up really liking this beautiful story.

It's a story that deals with so many important subjects: friendship, grief, clinical depression, the feeling of not belonging or being enough, and love between a father and son who don't really know how to talk
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
"It's okay not to be okay."

this book tackles with a lot of relevant issues in a very subtle way. the writing is great and funny inspite of the issues being very heavy. it talks about - race, identity, sexuality, mental health, trauma, family, relationships and body image. Darius who is a teenager is diagnosed with depression at an early age and without giving too much away, it shows his struggles how often they are comorbid to each other. i loved his relationship with his dad. we got to see all
Jun 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star
🥀 Plot
This story is about Dauris who can't seem to fit anywhere and is constantly teased at school for being fat and Zoroastrian.
Like his father he is diagnosed with clinical depression but instead of bringing the father and son closer it drives them apart. Everything changes when they decided to take a trip to Iran to see his ailing grandfather in person rather than on video call.

The real question here is how old is he in this book?

"A lot of people thought so, because she w
May 舞
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
3.5 stars

Thomas's review sums up my thoughts very well.

I will also add that Darius addressing his father as "Stephen Kellner" or the "Ubermensch" and not "Dad" most of the time did a great job at portraying the tension and distance in their relationship. Not making romance the center of the novel is another point I appreciated.

“I felt so helpless.
Sohrab was hurting and there was nothing I could do. Nothing except sit there and be his friend.
But maybe that was enough. Because Sohrab knew it was
luce (currently recovering from a hiatus)
| | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | |

2 ½ stars

Darius the Great Is Not Okay is an okay YA coming of age, one that focuses on Darius' relationship with himself (which isn't great given his poor self-esteem), with his father, and with his first real friend.
Readers expecting this novel to have LGBT+ themes or a romance subplot read may have to readjust their expectations as Darius' grandmothers (on his father side) are barely mentioned and there is no romance whatsoever. Which is itself kind of refreshin
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ADIB KHORRAM is the author of DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY, which earned the William C. Morris Debut Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature, and a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor, as well as a multitude of other honors and accolades. His followup, DARIUS THE GREAT DESERVES BETTER, received three starred reviews, was an Indie Bestseller, and received a Stonewall Honor. His ...more

Other books in the series

Darius the Great (2 books)
  • Darius the Great Deserves Better (Darius the Great, #2)

Articles featuring this book

  Ellen Oh is an award-winning author of middle grade and young adult novels, including The Dragon Egg Princess, A Thousand Beginnings and...
111 likes · 35 comments
“Everyone wants you here. We have a saying in Farsi. It translates ‘your place was empty.’ We say it when we miss somebody."
I sniffed.
"Your place was empty before. But this is your family. You belong here.”
“Suicide isn't the only way you can lose someone to depression.” 57 likes
More quotes…