A - E, Allgemein, D, Reviews

Review: Darius the Great Is Not Okay (Adib Khorram)

Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 27 on My Book List 2022

For Fariba Bahrami, love was an opportunity, not a burden.
I swallowed away the lump in my throat. „I love you, Mamou.“

I thought long and hard about how to start my review of “Darius the Great Is Not Okay” because it’s not easy to put everything I thought and felt into words. It’s actually pretty challenging but I’ll try to do it anyway because I really enjoyed this book and had a great, interesting, educational or all of the above(?) time with this story. I guess you can already see that I’m struggling to put my reading experience into words and this is mostly due to the fact that Adib Khorram addressed so many important topics in this book yet still managed to pull it off somehow. I think if you’re set on it you could describe the story with one sentence: Darius visits his Persian grandparents in Iran and makes a friend named Sohrab. But what this sentence won’t be able to convey are all the different layers this story actually entails.

„Did you ever think that you wouldn’t get picked on so much if you weren’t so…”
Dad worked his jaw back and forth.
“So what, Dad?”
But he didn’t answer. What could he possibly say?

One of the main topics in this coming-of-age novel is definitely the rocky relationship between Darius and his dad Stephen Kellner. The mere fact our MC always thinks of his father as the Übermensch and even uses his full name instead of just “dad” gives the reader a very good impression of how distant those two actually are. It really made me extremely sad to read about their interactions and to see how Darius’s dad didn’t get that he was hurting his son with every single word he uttered and with every action he took. The worst thing about their situation is that as a reader you get that Stephen only wants to protect his son from harm but apparently is incapable of telling Darius how he feels. Those two are clearly not the best at communicating and this leads to a lot of hurtful moments and misunderstandings between Darius and his father. Though admittedly some of the things like Stephen’s constant criticism of Darius’s weight clearly were no misunderstanding and only added to their already existing tensions.  

”Maybe Dad was right. Maybe I would always be a target.
Even for things I couldn’t help. Like being from America. Like having a foreskin.
Those things were normal back home, but not in Iran.
I would never fit in. Not anywhere.“

Another theme of this book is the bullying Darius is subjected to at home and even in Iran. In America there’s a boy named Trent Bolger who’s a bully and makes his life even harder than it is and in Iran there are two boys Sohrab and Darius play football with that pick on him at first. Add to that Darius’s constant feeling of being in the middle of two cultures and not belonging to either of them and you can see that Adib Khorram truly did his best to tackle a lot of serious topics. The interesting thing is that they all complete each other and work together so well. Darius exploring his roots and identity as a Persian who lives in America are at least as vital to his development as him spending some time with his grandparents and the rest of his family.

”I had never been surrounded by my family before. Not really. When Dayi Jamsheed started herding us together into a big group photo, my eyes started burning. I couldn’t help it.
I loved them.”

But that’s not all. The reason why Darius and his family are even visiting Iran is because his grandfather is very ill and will most likely die soon. So this adds another layer to the story and a very well done and bittersweet grief rep I couldn’t help but notice. And yes, you can already grief for a person even if the person is still alive. Take it from a graduate grief counsellor.  Illnesses and diseases can take away the people you love long before they actually die. In Darius’s case it’s even worse because he’s only getting to know his grandfather and knows that he will be gone soon. The author tackled this topic in a very sensitive and careful manner and I think he did it more than just well.

”Standing in that temple, staring into the fire that had been burning for hundreds of years, I felt the ghosts of my family all around me. Their soft presence raised the hair on my arms and tickled at my eyelashes.
I wiped my eyes and stood there, lost in the fire.
I knew that Babou was going to be one of those ghosts soon too.
No one had to say it out loud.”

Yet another theme he addressed was Persian culture with all its little and bigger cultural quirks and I absolutely loved to learn about it! Honestly, the way Persian food was explained and described caused my mouth to water and it was very interesting to read about cultural habits and Persian history. I kinda had to laugh when the reader was introduced to taarofing because I realized that Persian and Romanian culture aren’t all that different after all, at least not when it comes to this. My in-laws are masters at taarofing and it took me a while to get the hang of it. *lol* By now I can taarof the hell out of everybody as well, though, so beware of me and my taarofing skils. ;-P

”Darioush. You remember what I told you? Your place was empty?”
“Your place was empty for me too,” he said. “I never had a friend either.”

Anyway! Let’s continue to talk about the book and the strong focus on Darius’s friendship with Sohrab instead. And let me tell you, I adored the fact that there was such a strong friendship representation in this story without it turning into anything romantic in the end. I think the potential was definitely there but it didn’t happen and I appreciated that the author decided to focus on all the other topics first. It rounded the entire story off and made room for a potential exploration of Darius’s sexuality in the next book. So kudos to Adib Khorram for tying up all the loose ends in the first book while still giving Darius time and room to explore this important part of himself in the second instalment. And I’m convinced this will happen in book two!

”You really love Sohrab. Huh?”
“He’s the best friend I ever had.”
Dad looked at me for a long moment. Like he knew there was more. But he didn’t ask.

Whether it will happen with Sohrab or another boy/girl/non-binary person, etc. I don’t know but I’m definitely ready to accompany Darius on this journey. His friendship with Sohrab made me cry near the ending and broke my heart into tiny little pieces and I don’t know how they’ll come out of everything that happened in those last couple of chapters. I really hope they’ll find a way to stay in contact and to continue to be best friends. This said the last topic I have to talk about is the depression representation we experience first-hand through Darius’s POV and I think just like any other serious topic that was tackled in here, it was also done very well.

„Suicide isn’t the only way you can lose someone to depression.”
Dad looked at me again. There were no walls between us.
“And it kills me that I gave it to you, Darius. It kills me.”

I was so relieved when this subject was finally addressed and though the relationship with his father might still be strained for a while I think them talking about it will help them in the long-run. Depression is a mood disorder that accompanies you your entire life and sometimes it will be extremely strong and sometimes it will feel like it’s not even there or entirely gone. Darius and his father both take medicine to keep it in check and apparently this is frowned upon in Persian culture.

I’ve never explored depression from a Persian POV before but it was very interesting to hear how it is viewed in this culture. I can only speak about what I read in this book and what I found out when I did my online research (yes, this book actually made me look up depression in Persian culture!) but as it seems mental illnesses are viewed as a familial flaw because familial reputation and relationships are very important aspects of Iranian culture. So if you’re unhappy and depressed it reflects negatively on your family which seems to be the reason they don’t even want to acknowledge its existence. I found this to be a pretty tough stance because it’s not in a depressed person’s power to be “happy”. I couldn’t help but wonder how high the suicide rate might be if mental illnesses like depression don’t get the right treatment. I mean as we all know untreated depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and death. So I looked up the statistics and according to wiki suicide it’s a growing concern in Iran and “mental disorders” are actually stated as the main reason for men (41%!) attempting to end their lives! For women it’s on second place with 31% – And to give you an even better picture: In 27% of the cases the person concerned already had a long medical record. (compare Wikipedia on “Suicide in Iran”, just in case you also want to dig deeper.)

”You’re okay,” he murmured.
“No. I’m not.”
“I know.” He rubbed my back up and down. “It’s okay not to be okay.”


Sorry for that long excursion but I really like it when books make me think and force me to do some digging and “Darius the Great Is Not Okay” obviously caused me to do both. All told, I really enjoyed this story. Adib Khorram has a way of telling a tale while including a lot of intriguing topics and explaining Persian culture throughout the entire book without it ever getting boring or feeling like a chore. You might say he effortlessly included it in his story and gave it room to be explored. Add to that Darius’s struggles, his friendship with Sohrab and the way he connected with his family and roots and you have a wonderful coming-of-age story that even caused me to cry at the ending. “Darius the Great Is Not Okay” is a beautifully crafted book and I’m already very excited to pick up the sequel!

trigger warnings: depression, racist comments, bullying, grief, fatphobic comments, depression being criticized (challenged)
Allgemein, Sassy Antics

SASSY Saturday

SASSY Saturday

Hey there my lovelies!

Welcome back to another round of my montly blog meme „SASSY Saturday“!

How does it work? Well, that’s easy! 😉

All you have to do is to follow those three golden rules:

1. Credit the creator of this tag (The Sassy Library Fox) and link back. (so I can see all your amazing answers!)
2. Answer the 5 questions below!
3. AND enjoy doing the blog meme! 😛

„SASSY Saturday“ is planned to be a monthly meme but if you want to do it more often feel free to go for it! This meme was created to get to know other bloggers, their new obsessions and to reflect on your own last month! Above all it was created to have fun though! 😉 If you want you can also use the banner I created! This said let’s head to the good part:

S – Series you loved this month

I watched a lot of seriers at the beginning of the month because I had holidays, was ill and couldn’t do anything except of watching TV. Guess it also helped that all of them were pretty short ones. XD

Wednesday: Now this series was quite the surprise! I didn’t expect the dark academia and mystery vibe it had going and I absolutely loved that Wednesday went to a school full of vampires, werewolves, etc. Plus, can we talk about the amazing soundtrack? It added so much to the atmosphere of the show and I was such a happy camper. I’ve to admit that I guessed the culprit, though. My inner Sherlock had a field day with this series and I can’t wait to watch season two. ❤

Emily in Paris – Season 3: I’ve watched up until season 2 and decided I might as well finally catch up on „Emily in Paris“ and even though I enjoyed it, it didn’t quite hit the mark as much as the first two seasons. Emily’s life is still one hell of a confusing mess and this time around her friends lives weren’t any better. I mean I really enjoyed the series but boy, WHAT WAS THAT ENDING?! I have thoughts, guys! Thoughts! And if anyone of you watched it please talk to me! XD

The Witcher: Another series I finally decided to continue. I loved the first season and this one was at least as good as the first one. ❤ Henry Cavill is the perfect Witcher and this series works so well with him. I’m very curious what the next season will hold and how everything is going to continue.

A – Author you discovered

Adib Khorram – „Darius the Great Is Not Okay“

I read a lot of already known to me authors in January so the only new author turned out to be Adib Khorram! I totally enjoyed to read „Darius the Great“ though! It was a really interesting book with a lot of info about Iran and Persian culture and I really liked how the author managed to include all this info into his book. It was very effortlessly and just went along with the plot. I’m definitely planning to read another book of Adib Khorram soon. =)

S – Song you couldn’t get enough of

Jimin feat. Taeyang – VIBE

Leave it to BTS to provide us with a constant stream of music even though they are technically taking a break right now. *lol* But yeah, all the members have some solo projects going on that should last us until they return from their military service and I’m not mad about it. XD Quite the contrary! I love to see all the different sides of my boys and I’m enjoying eveything they throw our way. 😀

S – Surprise – Something that totally caught you off guard

That despite everything and all the illness going on a the beginning of the month I actually managed to read a lot! And that one of my favourite libraries has a focus on LGBTQIA+ books now! I’m so happy about this because as you know I read a lot in this genre and to see completely new releases making their way into library shelves isn’t just very satisfying but also makes me immensely happy because I can actually borrow and read them! Before that I always had to buy them because I knew my library wouldn’t have them but now I can save a lot of money and space. ❤

Y – Your fave blog post of another blogger


Sammie always talks about very interesting topics and this was no exception to the rule! I loved to read her take on science in fiction and I absolutely agree that we can learn a lot when themes like this are tackled in books. And I have to say it here: I actually like algebra but I can totally see how it’s not for everyone. *lol* If you don’t know Sammie’s blog yet, please take a look at it! It’s amazing! 😉


What do you think about „SASSY Saturday“? Would you like to join the fun? Who is an author you discovered last month and what surprised you in January? Which kind of series did you watch and were they good? Any recommendations for me?

Talk to me and let me know! 😉

And as always, stay healthy and safe!



The Sassy Library Fox

Allgemein, Bookish Fox Knowledge

January Wrap-Up

Wrap Up

Dare I even say it?! Well, I guess I’ll just have to get it out: January was actually a pretty good reading month for me!  😀 I know, right?! OMG! Who would have thought I’d say that about the start of the new year?! I certainly wouldn’t. *lol* But it is the way it is and I read 5 books I enjoyed immensely. Okay, not all of them, but most of them! There was only one 3 paws read and that’s because I always read Becky Albertalli’s books even though they are kinda hit-and-miss for me. XD I never know how I’ll come out of it at the end.

As for the life stuff: 2023 already started pretty bad on the health front. I mean I was ill the entire Christmas holidays and went ill into 2023. After two weeks and when work started again we actually thought we’d be over it but then my hubby relapsed and was ill for another two weeks. Thankfully my kid and I were already immune against the virus because we had it too during the holidays. So there was that at least. Still, I had to keep things running while my hubby was out of commission so to speak and it wasn’t easy. *sighs*

Plus another one of my courses ended and I had to get the paper work done to apply for the next and last one while still studying for the current one. They give a maximum of 7 days to finish one course and to start with the next one and this time is always so stressful because you have to finish the former course while applying and getting everything on track for the next one. And if you want to do the exam you’re already in the next course but still need to finish the old one and for a time both overlap and it’s really all just one huge stressful mess. *lol* Kinda glad this was the last time I needed to apply for a new course but also sad that my educational sabbatical will be over in 5 months. =(

Anyway! Let’s talk about the nice things of life instead and focus on my reading statistics for January!

Books read: 5 (5 books & 0 webcomic, I did pretty well in January as it seems? Guess it helps to have a library deadline for books you absolutely want to read. *lol*)

Pages read: 1.909 (I’m pretty sure that’s a strong start into the new year. XD)

Average rating: 4,3 (I had two 5 paws reads and one 4,5 paws read so this month was pretty amazing! )

Books that were on my reading list: 3 (from 2020, 1 from 2021 and 1 from 2022. I’m amazed about the fact I actually read 3 books from my TBRs!)

January Reads:



The Silvered Serpents: 4 Pfoten,5

I knew this book was going to hurt and that’s why I procrastinated and never was in the right mood to pick it up. But at the end of the year I finally wanted to finish it because it had been on my „currently reading“ on Goodreads since March 2022 and I wanted a clean slate for 2023. So I didn’t quite manage to finish it in the old year but it was the first book I finished in 2023 and it was as painful as I thought it would be! Maybe even more so! T_T I swear every time I read a couple of chapters this book killed me. Laila and Severin were the death of me and Hypnos and Enrique weren’t any better. Like uff!! Add to that all the other things that happen and you’re on an emotional rollercoaster that hurts. Big time. Still, this was great and I loved every second of it. XD I can’t wait to read „The Bronzed Beasts“!

Kate in Waiting: 3 Pfoten

As I already said at the beginning of my Wrap-Up Becky Albertalli’s books are always a hit-and-miss for me. I never know if I’ll love them or if I’ll dislike them so I pick them up and hope for the best while I keep in mind that there is always the possibility that it won’t work for me. I guess in some ways „Kate in Waiting“ worked better for me than some of her other books, yet at the same time it wasn’t as amazing as „Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda“. Maybe it’s a case of „It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.“ (Yes, shamelessly quoted Taylor Swift here!! *lol* ) I dunno! All I know is that I was through it very fast, that it was enjoyable to read but that it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. If you want to read my full review you just have to follow the link above. 😉

The Hidden Oracle: 5 Pfoten

I absolutely loved this book!!! ❤ And I adore Apollo as a narrator! He’s so funny but he’s also in so much pain and I loved to see that other side of him. I think he already changed a lot in the first book and I can’t wait how much more he’s going to change during the entire „The Trials of Apollo“ series! I loved how he cared about his children and knew them all by name and how he started to defy his father Zeus. Meg and him had a great friendship arc and I lived and breathed for his interactions with Percy. *lol* Plus we got to see a lot of Will and Nico in this one and I hope this trend will continue in the other books! I need my Solangelo!!! XD

This Savage Song: 5 Pfoten

„This Savage Song“ has been on my TBR for a very long time. I think I put it on my 2020 TBR list but never got around to reading it. I always borrowed it from my library and then was forced to give it back unread, so this time around I decided to read it even though I just had one week to do so. Well, turns out I didn’t even need 7 days. I was done after 5. *lol* This was AMAZING!!! Capital letters! I never thought I’d get so obsessed with this series but OMG! I loved and adored the two MCs and the world building was excellent! Also after the halfway mark the book picked up pace and I couldn’t put it down anymore. It felt like watching one of those super fast paced action movies and it was awesome! Can’t wait to read the second one!

Darius the Great Is Not Okay: 4 Pfoten

This book was such an interesting and fascinating read! I think I’d definitely call it a coming-of-age story but it also has a very educational aspect because you learn so much about Iran and Persian culture while you read it. I loved that! It’s always so interesting for me to hear about other cultures and the way Adib Khorram explained things was very perspicuous. Plus he tackled a lot of topics like bullying, depression and father-son-troubles. Definitely a book I can recommend.


This said: How was your January? Did you read many books? Were you ill during the holidays or were you lucky enough to enjoy them? =) Which kind of books did you read last month and can you recommend me any? Also did you already read the ones I read and if „yes“ did you enjoy them? What’s been going on in your life?

Talk to me and let me know! 😉

And as always take care and stay healthy and safe!



The Sassy Library Fox

Allgemein, Book Tags

Top Ten Tuesday:  Books on My Winter 2022-2023 To-Read List

TTT was created by The Broke and Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl (click here for upcoming TTT topics!).

Today’s Topic is: : Books on My Winter 2022-2023 To-Read List

1.) „Queen of Air and Darkness“ by Cassandra Clare

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2.) „Call Down the Hawk“ by Maggie Stiefvater

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3.) „Solitaire“ by Alice Oseman


4.) „Winter“ by Marissa Meyer

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5.) „The Hidden Oracle“ by Rick Riordan


6.) „Spellslinger“ by Sebastien de Castell


7.) „Here’s to Us“ by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

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8.) „This Savage Song“ by Victoria Schwab

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9.) „Darius the Great Is Not Okay“ by Adib Khorram


10.) „The Bronzed Beasts“ by Roshani Chokshi

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So what about you? Which books are on your Winter 2022-2023 To-Read List? Do we have any books in common or did you actually read some of them already? And if yes, did you enjoy them? =) Do you already have reading plans for spring?

Talk to me and let me know!

And as always take care and stay healthy and safe! ❤



The Sassy Library Fox