Book Review by Aarene Storms: The Authentics

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian

15-year-old Daria Esfandyar has always been proud of her Iranian-American heritage. So proud, in fact, that she is no longer friends with Heidi (aka one of the "Nose Jobs") and now hangs out with a group of friends who pride themselves on keeping things real.

But, what is real?

While researching her family tree for a school project, Daria learns that she isn't exactly "pure" Iranian. And this discovery leads to other revelations, which lead to disclosures that nobody saw coming.

If you're looking for ethnic and cultural diversity, here's your book: characters include a gay couple (Daria's brother and his husband), another gay couple (Caroline has been "out" since age 13, her girlfriend is still closeted) immigrant families (Iranian, Mexican, Chinese), religious variety (Muslim, Catholic, agnostic) ... the list goes on.

With all that, Daria shouldn't have to work so hard to figure out what she really, authentically is.

But, she does.

This is a quick, heavy-handed read without much depth. Many plot points depend on coincidence and contrivance, and Daria's selfishness was not endearing. If readers missed any of the Points About Being Authentic™, fear not: Daria sums up the entire Message of the Book™while presenting her school project in the penultimate chapter.

The events may not have happened; still, the story is true.  --R. Silvern

Aarene Storms, youth services librarian
Richmond Beach and Lake Forest Park Libraries, KCLS


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