My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Publication Date: August 8th, 2017
Publisher: Balzer +Bray
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 11+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Family, Culture, Contemporary Romance, LGBT
Daria Esfandyar is Iranian-American and proud of her heritage, unlike some of the “Nose Jobs” in the clique led by her former best friend, Heidi Javadi. Daria and her friends call themselves the Authentics, because they pride themselves on always keeping it real.
But in the course of researching a school project, Daria learns something shocking about her past, which launches her on a journey of self-discovery. It seems everyone is keeping secrets. And it’s getting harder to know who she even is any longer.
I don’t remember ever reading a novel about an Iranian American heroine and I’ve finished more than a thousand books. That is a problem. There should be more books like this one.
And it’s not as though the author mentions this about Daria and then moves on. Not at all. He talks about Iran and how there are disparities between Iranians and Persians. He even talks about Iran’s history, although briefly.
He sure could have given the reader more historical background, since culture is so important to Daria and the rest of her family, but I’m satisfied with what I was exposed to. Actually, this book celebrates all cultures, all religions and all ethnicities.
And all families. See, Daria is not who she thinks she is. All this time, she thought her family had no secrets, but a school project pushes her to dig into her family’s past, making her discover buried secrets.
If I had to make a complaint about how the author went about the whole family issue, I’d have to say that the feelings were authentic, but the way Daria found out the truth felt much planned. I could say the same about some of the events following the discovery. There were surprises, but there is no mystery. Plus the romance was completely unnecessary.
But that doesn’t change the fact that this is a beautiful coming-of-age story about the definition of family and acceptance. Daria’s parents slowly grew inside my heart. They went through a lot together. As much as I understand Daria’s anger at not being told the truth, I also understand her parents’ decision.
SPOILERS: These books always make me ask myself whether I would tell the truth about the adoption, if I’d been in the parents’ shoes, and always, I don’t know what the right answer is. I feel like there is no right or wrong answer here. It’s not so easy, as proven by THE AUTHENTICS. Books that make you think are the best.
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