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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Reading about depression is never easy, and each story is so individual that it’s always a difficult journey to take with a character. Darius’s story was beautiful on so many levels: his travels to Iran, his friendship with Sohrab, his relationship with his family, and his relationship with himself. This is a contemporary novel that is character driven, and ultimately reminds us that we need to support and accept each other.
Khorram did a wonderful job creating such realistic characters and their relationships with each other. As an older sibling, I completely understood Darius’s love for his sister but also his annoyance when she interrupts his one-on-one time with his dad. Or Simon’s difficultly in fitting in with his wife’s family on their visit to Iran, but still trying to find ways to connect with her parents and brothers. The two prominent relationships in this book are between Darius and Sohrab and Darius and his dad (not that the other relationships are less valued; these two are simply at the forefront of this story).
In the relationship between Sohrab and Darius, we see Darius finally find a friend that values and accepts him. For someone who calls himself a Fractional Persian and has yet to find a best friend at home, finally finding Sohrab is a massive moment in Darius life. Their relationship teaches Darius to appreciate his life, his family, and himself and leads to a self-acceptance that Darius had not been able to reach on his own. I was so excited for Darius and thrilled that he had found someone to finally connect with.
That said, I do wish that their relationship had gone a little further below the surface area. Most of the conversations between them are very basic, and while Darius is clearly excited to have someone to sit comfortably in silence with, I would have loved to get a bit more development of their relationship. Surface is fine, but this book seemed to call for more than that.
If Darius’s relationship with Sohrab was about self-acceptance, then his relationship with his father is very much about the important of having a strong foundation of love and support. Their relationship was difficult to read about because of how much hurt Darius was carrying with him while not understanding how his father felt about him. When they finally talk about their mental health, and their feelings towards each other, it’s incredibly cathartic because we know it’s the beginning of a new world of understanding for Darius, both of himself and of his father. I thought Khorramshahr did a brilliant job telling this father-son story and honestly explaining how depression can control someone’s life.
Lastly, I once again found myself reading the author’s last words (in this case it is the Afterword) and would highly encourage everyone to do the same. Khorram explains his own diagnoses of depression as a teenager and the ongoing struggles, and successes, that he has faced in his life so far. This moment was a reminder that Darius’s story is not just a singular story; it’s the story of a teenager trying to understand who he is, while also learning to find pride in himself. It’s clear that Khorram wrote this from some of his own experiences, and the beauty of the story comes across because of it.
I would recommend this book to everyone, especially those who like Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda or who simply want more insight into the many facets of teenage life. This will be a book that I will be suggesting to many of my students. Let me know what you think of it!
FINAL RATING: 4/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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