Book Review: Darius The Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

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 Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.

Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi 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. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.

Book Review by Joel Andrada Jr.:

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram is a young adult contemporary published last August 2018 under Dial Books. It follows our main character in his coming of age story, exploring new horizons and looking back at the same time the road he and his loved ones taken. The story revolves around Darius as he tries to maneuver his way on building relationships, achieving dreams, caring for what matters and securing one’s future without destroying his already lost and fragile identity.

The book gave readers a bunch of characters that will surely earn a place in one’s heart. It is full of flawed characters that are full of personalities. The relationship of these characters to each other was woven complexly but readers will not find it complicated as these relationships were very realistic.

The author surely made a good job of establishing the main character Darius. Darius was made as if he does really exist. Thanks to how the author gave him such adorable characteristics, weird hobbies, and realistic flaws. The author also did a great job establishing the motivations of Darius in the story, such as finding himself in his world torn between fantasy and reality, making good roads out of the struggles from his family and relatives and accepting what life can give at the moment and making the most out of it.

The one thing I did admire the most from the book was the writing style. As a debut novel, I think Adib Khorram did such a fantastic job. I was amazed by how he ended the story and I have never read a book for a while that gave me a very satisfying ending. I will surely read his future works.

“How could I be a tourist in my own past?” 

I recommend this book for those who are looking for a heartwarming read with a good set of memorable characters. This book is for those who are seeking comfort from reading, seeking happiness, inspiration and a read that will leave their hearts smiling days to come.

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Adib Khorram is an author, a graphic designer, and a tea enthusiast. If he’s not writing (or at his day job), you can probably find him trying to get his 100 yard Freestyle under a minute, or learning to do a Lutz Jump. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where people don’t usually talk about themselves in the third person. You can find him on Twitter (@adibkhorram), Instagram (@adibkhorram), or on the web at

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