It's been a long time since I read such a moving and beautiful novel - I knew from the first few chapters that this book would become a new favourite of mine.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another blog tour, Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram. Thanks so much to Penguin Random House for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review, as always, all opinions are my own. Make sure to check out the other stops on the tour for Q&A's and other thoughts on the book!

This story follows Darius, a self-proclaimed Fractional Persian living in America. When his grandfather, whom he has never met, takes a turn for the worse after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, his parents decide it is time for the family to travel to Iran and for Darius and his little sister to meet their maternal grandparents. Darius is all too happy to get away from the kids at school who make fun of him and see if he will fit in better with a Persian identity. While in Iran, Darius meets Sohrab, a boy his age who just seems to get him - even if he doesn't necessarily understand everything about Darius, like his depression. Soon Darius has a friend like he never has before, but he begins to wonder what will happen when the trip comes to an end.

First of all, I LOVED the way Khorram tells this story. There is just something about his writing style that makes you want to keep reading. It was one of those books where you could completely envision every little detail but the plot itself never seemed bogged down by descriptors. I'm not sure if it is because of the similar Middle Eastern setting or just the boyhood friendship but this book reminded me a lot of Khaled Hosseini's work, which I absolutely adore.

This book looks at a lot of issues, Darius's (and his father's) depression, pressures of parents, bullying and just the struggles of growing up trying to find an identity for yourself. They are beautifully woven into the story in a way that makes them a part of the story, and not just a plot point. There were a couple of moments where I was getting emotional because the story just got so - meaningful. I wouldn't call it sad necessarily, because while this isn't the happiest of books, you get this sort of striving for nostalgia feeling that makes everything seem a little bittersweet.

I've seen this book marked in LGBT+ categories on Goodreads and I think this is more up to interpretation. There is definitely the ability to make a case for a relationship deeper than friendship between Darius and Sohrab, but there is nothing blatantly stated. You can kinda perceive what you want about the relationship, it's fairly open-ended. I could also see a super cute sequel to this book with more development of the relationship. This book was more of a personal journey for Darius, not a romance, so I'm happy with how Khorram decided to write it.

Overall, I loved this book for teaching me about Iran and Persian culture, for showing me a world outside of my own, and for giving me an emotional and touching story about a boy trying to find himself.