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Everything Sad Is Untrue

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  3,975 ratings  ·  1,016 reviews
At the front of a middle school classroom in Oklahoma, a boy named Khosrou (whom everyone calls "Daniel") stands, trying to tell a story. His story. But no one believes a word he says. To them he is a dark-skinned, hairy-armed boy with a big butt whose lunch smells funny; who makes things up and talks about poop too much.

But Khosrou's stories, stretching back years, and de
...more
Hardcover, 356 pages
Published August 25th 2020 by Levine Querido
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Kim From the author's note: "This was my life, as I experienced it, and it is both fiction and nonfiction at the same time." This is what I would call cre…moreFrom the author's note: "This was my life, as I experienced it, and it is both fiction and nonfiction at the same time." This is what I would call creative nonfiction, where the bones are true, but the details aren't necessarily so precise as to be factual. It reminds me of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, and like that book, my library has classified this as fiction. But for all the fictional parts, I would say this is nonetheless a true expression of Nayeri's childhood.(less)

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Average rating 4.36  · 
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Mehrsa
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I sometimes listen to audiobooks when I am exercising or running . So if you recently saw me with my hands covering my face as I was working out, it wasn't to wipe the sweat from my eyes. It's because I was weeping while listening to this book and needed to get it together before going back to my run.

This is the best book I've read in a long time. It may be because I have never read a book that so accurately described my own life. It may also be because Nayeri is a phenomenal writer or because
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Maggie
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to pick up four Levine Querido arcs at ALA in January. FOUR. Truth: I was only supposed to take one, but I kept chatting with the rep there, and we'd talk about this book and that one, and he could tell I was so sincerely excited that he'd say, "Okay, here, take this one too ..." and so I did. This is the second one I've read, and while it's an unrealistic commitment for a school librarian who's got to stay on top of every genre and every reading level to say that I'm goin ...more
Ken
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished-in-2020, ya
"Mrs. Miller says I have 'lost the plot,' and am now just making lists of things that happened to fill space. But I replied that she is beholden to a Western mode of storytelling that I do not accept and that the 1,001 Nights are basically Scheherazade stalling for time, so I don't see the difference.

"She laughed when I said this.

"It was one of those genuine laughs you get and for a second you see the person they are when they're not a teacher. Like the same laugh she might have at a movie or so
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Erin Kelly
Mar 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is—without a doubt—one of the best books I have ever read.
Tatiana
I have now finished attempting to read last year's Printz winner and honorees, and I have to say, not one of them strongly appealed to me, even though almost all of them seem to have been written for adults, with no attempt to interest teen audience. The most readable of this bunch, and the only one that has a chance of capturing teen audience, IMO, is Dragon Hoops. The rest were books that portrayed various marginalized experiences in diverse historical and cultural contexts, but ultimately wer ...more
Irene
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
sometimes I think about the Booklist review for this book, "Nayeri challenges outright what young readers can handle, in form and content, but who can deny him when it’s his own experience on display? He demands much of readers, but in return he gives them everything." and then I shed a tear ! ...more
Skip
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Daniel Nayeri (Khosrou) is a middle school student in Oklahoma, who was born in Iran, before fleeing with his mother. I found this book very frustrating to read as Daniel/Khosrou jumps back and forth between (1) his new life in Oklahoma, where he is poor, where his mother is overworked and underemployed, and his stepfather, who is a martial arts guy, beats on his mother; (2) his early life in Iran where his family was wealthy, and he got along with his sister; and (3) his transition between the ...more
Katie
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the book I will be gifting to everyone I know in the coming months. This is not a typical memoir. The way Nayeri weaves his own story among his family's and Persian mythology is beautiful and poignant, and hearing it all come from his younger self is such a fascinating choice. Nayeri's musings on what makes a myth and, perhaps even more importantly, what makes a storyteller, are not to be skimmed over. This is a book to revisit and cherish. ...more
Destinee Sutton
I could not get through this. It felt like I was reading someone's rambling diary, not a novel.

My favorite part of the book was when I skipped forward to a random page to see where all this meandering was leading and my eyes fell on these lines:

"Are you still there, reader?
No?
Maybe you've gone and the only eyes are the ones who flipped to this page accidentally. Or you've skipped ahead from someplace in the beginning and missed all the parts that explain me to you--from there to here.
Maybe I
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Elizabeth☮
Dec 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommended to Elizabeth☮ by: https://apps.npr.org/best-books/?utm_...
I like that this is a memoir about Nayeri's journey to America from Iran following a life and death situation (we don't know the real reason until pretty far into the book, so I won't reveal it here). This book feels like it wants to do several things at one time and I'm not sure it gets to the meat of any of those things.

It wants to give a rich history of the oral tradition of storytelling and poetry in Iran. But, there isn't enough time spent in exploring these writers and poets. It feels as
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La Crosse County Library
Everything Sad is Untrue is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. A phenomenal middle grade/young adult novel that would easily appeal to adults as well. The book has an unusual, but lyrical, structure of counting memories as Daniel Nayeri shares stories in the manner of Scheherazade (1,001 Nights) in order that you, the reader, may understand and believe him when he talks about life.

Full of stunningly spot on metaphors and parables, Daniel blends east and west in an #ownvoices autob
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Nadia
Feb 02, 2021 added it
I have a soft spot for immigrant stories, for tales of reinvention and survival. Every family has its mythical figures. In a series of well told stories, Daniel introduces us to his. But more than that, he makes a powerful case for reading stories like his, for listening with the intention of hearing.
Laura
Mar 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
SECOND READ:
This time I read the print version and I have to say: The audio version is so fantastic. It really is fitting to hear Khosrou/Daniel tell his story, especially since it is framed as an oral storytelling. The book, however, allowed me to see the poetry in the text and to linger over the profound moments. The first 1/3 could be disorienting, as he gathers threads of his own family history, switching frequently between characters in his own family, but the momentum builds. Please keep r
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Jillian Adams
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
"But what you believe about the future will change how you live in the present"

Such a world of learning in the book.
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Mid-Continent Public Library
This was my life, as I experienced it, and it is both fiction and nonfiction at the same time. Your memories are too, if you'll admit it. But you're not a liar. You're just Persian in your own way, with a flaw.--Daniel Nayeri (Author's Note)

This book is a gift. A gem. It may be shelved in your Juvenile or Young Adult section of the library, but it is for everyone. Khosrou Nayeri is a descendant of Iranian royalty. He is a boy named Daniel who now lives in Oklahoma. His family has gone from abund
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Clay
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is my 2020 Newbery and I can't understand how the National Book Award committee left it off its longlist. Daniel (Khosrou) Nayeri's fictionalized memoir is loosely structured as an Iranian immigrant's middle school responses to his teacher's prompts, but it has an age-defying, transporting, epic quality worthy of and modeled on Scheherazade. Deft language. Imaginative structure. Diversity. Iran to Italy to Oklahoma, his-Christian-covert-mother-under-a-fatwa-for-converting immigration story ...more
Lisa
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal! I loved everything about this book. My ten-year-old and I were both impressed. I was a little distracted in a couple of sections because we were listening/reading with a four-year-old in the room as well. I want to read it again at some point so that I can savor every word. (I wish I could flag that here on Goodreads!)

This was a really touching refugee story that made me laugh and pulled on my heartstrings. It was the perfect book to read with my son because we had a good time laugh
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Susie Finkbeiner
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When I first heard of this book by Daniel Nayeri I knew it would be good. What I didn't know was how powerfully it would hit. I desperately needed the hope that Daniel's writing offers. Turns out, I also needed to remember that there's a cost for joy, and that it's always worth it.

I couldn't wait to get to my local bookstore to buy the book (which I'm still going to do #shoplocal), so I borrowed the audiobook (which the author reads). It's worth a listen. I can't wait to read it with my eyeball
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Renata
LOVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD THIS

It took me awhile to read because there are just so many striking sentences that I needed to pause and savor.

I think it will be a little tricky for this book to find its audience--it's published as middle grade since it's dealing with his life as a middle schooler (and before) but it's very sophisticated and would need a lot of scaffolding for the average middle schooler to really dig into. But a lot of teens might balk at reading about a 7th grader. B
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Dan
Daniel Nayeri's Everything Sad Is Untrue just quickly became my favorite story of the year. That's not quite true because I couldn't stop myself from slowing down and returning to favorite lines and stories. In a lot of ways, Everything Sad Is Untrue was an Epic Love Letter to family, living, and storytelling.

It was quite unlike any story/memior I have ever read. With its brilliant imagery and whip smart humor and heart throughout, I think it's one of the most distinguished books of the year. An
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Susy  *MotherLambReads*
Jul 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-books
What a memoir/ coming to age story/ refugee story.

Satirical and casual yet deep and moving. Hilarious and heartbreaking. Love how we are in his conscious.

Love learning about his story and the story of their escaping from their country. Hate how he felt like he had to hide his family when he came to America or eat his stinky sandwich in the bathroom.

This book is a story. Stories are so important. I feel like it’s more for adults or older kids.

“Reading is the act of listening and speaking at the
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Ms. Yingling
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus



This autobiographical novel gives the readers the impressions of the world that Khosrou, who goes by Daniel in the US, has about his experiences leaving Iran as a small child and eventually settling in Oklahoma. It's not an easy transition for a lot of reasons, and there are stories of living in Iran, family history, and Iranian legends, intermingled with Daniel's modern day problems in middle school. It was fascinating to see every day life in Iran-- visits to gr
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Jackie
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is unlike anything I’ve read recently (or ever?). Nayeri’s narrative voice is so beautiful and sincere, and the way he weaved stories from his childhood in Oklahoma to the family lore and folklore he heard growing up in Iran and as a refugee was masterfully done. There was a little too much discussion of blood and poop for my taste, but otherwise I really liked it. I can tell that this is a book that’s going to stick with me.
Jane
I think that this is the most amazing book I've read this year. I know...I've loved many books, given them five stars, but this book continues to un-do me every few pages. It is the perfect balm for listening to my husband's election updates, playing three rooms away, on November 5th 2020. "I need a beer," he said. He never has his single beer until 6pm. This is too hard for any of us..

The book is about a young Iranian boy whose mother brings him to Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma...does it matter? T
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Sam Bloom
I’ve never read anything quite like this book, and I mean that in the best possible way.
Eti
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In a word: Distinguished. Put this on your mock Newbery list immediately.
Joy
Jul 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't say enough good about this book. I absolutely LOVED it. The writing is superb and engaging and the story is incredible.
I went from spitting out my coffee laughing to crying in the same paragraph.
Definitely my favorite read of 2021 and in my top 10 (maybe 5) of books ever.
READ IT!
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Summer
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Winner of the 2021 Michael L. Printz Award.

“But like you, I was made carefully, by a God who loved what he saw. Like you, I want a friend.”

This book is excellent. I believe I will add it to the books that I would like my boys to read when they are teens. It was heart-wrenching and beautiful. Daniel has come to the USA as a Christian refugee to Oklahoma from Iran, with his mother and his sister.

This is a-true-as-he-can-remember story of a lonely boy in a completely foreign land. It is told poet
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Jenny
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book blew me away...hands down, my favorite 2020 book I've read so far this year. My reader's heart lives for that excited feeling you get when you discover a new author whose voice is so fresh, so exuberant, so brazen in its willingness to take you for a ride on his own terms, whether you're ready for it or not. What Daniel Nayeri delivers in his refugee story is just that -- his voice and storytelling style are uniquely his own, and when he jumps from his scarce precious memories of his g ...more
Michele
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-library
This is a stunning and beautifully-written novel that belongs on every middle-school student's must-read list. It is equal parts poetic, soulful and heart-breaking. I particularly enjoyed the weaving of Persian folklore with the narrative of Daniel's family history and his own story as a refugee. ...more
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Daniel Nayeri is a writer and editor in New York City. He wrote and produced “The Cult of Sincerity,” the first feature film to be world premiered by YouTube. He has had all kinds of jobs around books, including book repairman, literary agent, used bookstore clerk, children’s librarian, Official Story-Time Reader Leader, editor, copy-editor, and even carpenter (making bookshelves). He’s also a pro ...more

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