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Everything Sad Is Untrue

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The story of a boy who flees Iran as a small child, detours through a refugee camp in Italy, then winds up in middle school in Oklahoma, where he is met with both curiosity and suspicion.


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The story of a boy who flees Iran as a small child, detours through a refugee camp in Italy, then winds up in middle school in Oklahoma, where he is met with both curiosity and suspicion.

30 review for Everything Sad Is Untrue

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    I sometimes listen to audiobooks when I am exercising or running . So if you recently saw me with my hands covering my face as I was working out, it wasn't to wipe the sweat from my eyes. It's because I was weeping while listening to this book and needed to get it together before going back to my run. This is the best book I've read in a long time. It may be because I have never read a book that so accurately described my own life. It may also be because Nayeri is a phenomenal writer or because I sometimes listen to audiobooks when I am exercising or running . So if you recently saw me with my hands covering my face as I was working out, it wasn't to wipe the sweat from my eyes. It's because I was weeping while listening to this book and needed to get it together before going back to my run. This is the best book I've read in a long time. It may be because I have never read a book that so accurately described my own life. It may also be because Nayeri is a phenomenal writer or because there is so much raw emotion in this book. It's supposed. to be YA and that is a genre I generally avoid because I find it cheesy--this was the opposite. I don't usually cry while running.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    I was fortunate enough to pick up four Levine Querido arcs at ALA in January. FOUR. Truth: I was only supposed to take one, but I kept chatting with the rep there, and we'd talk about this book and that one, and he could tell I was so sincerely excited that he'd say, "Okay, here, take this one too ..." and so I did. This is the second one I've read, and while it's an unrealistic commitment for a school librarian who's got to stay on top of every genre and every reading level to say that I'm goin I was fortunate enough to pick up four Levine Querido arcs at ALA in January. FOUR. Truth: I was only supposed to take one, but I kept chatting with the rep there, and we'd talk about this book and that one, and he could tell I was so sincerely excited that he'd say, "Okay, here, take this one too ..." and so I did. This is the second one I've read, and while it's an unrealistic commitment for a school librarian who's got to stay on top of every genre and every reading level to say that I'm going to read EVERYTHING Levine Querido publishes, I'm going to say that I will be paying very close attention to all of their releases and will read many of them. I run a book club at my school. At the beginning of every year, I'll ask the kids what books they like to read, and I usually get answers like, "Mysteries," "books that keep me turning pages," or "anything with lots of action." But one year, a girl said--a 12-year-old--"I like books that make me think about things in a new way." I wanted to hug her, because, YES. I like a lot of books, but the ones I LOVE, the ones that are the reason reading is both my vocation and my avocation, are the ones that *make me think about things in a new way*. And after reading two Levine Querido books (the other one was Apple: Skin to the Core, by the phenomenal Eric Gansworth), and knowing what they have on the horizon, I feel like ... those are the kind of books they are publishing. On to Everything Sad is Untrue. This was not a fast, easy read for me, so I suspect it will not be fast and easy for many middle schoolers, the audience for whom this book is intended, and to whom, as a school librarian, I need to "sell" it. But, most things that offer a rich reward take a bit of effort. And the best rewards don't just come at the end; you reap them throughout the whole process of earning them. If you're preparing for a marathon, the joy isn't just, or even mostly, about crossing the finish line, it's about the training--looking back on it, you realize that even when you were sweating, and felt like maybe you'd rather just be sitting on the couch eating a cookie, you were really having the time of your life. (Full disclosure: I've never even run a 5K, so I'm guessing here.) I have to say I'm not sure how this metaphor will work to sell this book to my middle schoolers. What might work, however, is poop. There's a LOT of poop in this book, and if there's one thing middle schoolers love, it's a good poop story. Be patient, I'll tell them, and you'll be rewarded with SO MUCH POOP. (And also a fair amount of blood, which is also popular among the pre- and young teen crowd.) So this is the story of Daniel, an Oklahoma immigrant from Iran by way of a palace in Abu Dhabi and an Italian refugee camp, but it is also the story of Scheherazade, which also means it is a story about stories. (Daniel, by the way, is the same Daniel who wrote the book, so this story is as true as a book gleaned from the memories of a child can be, which could begat a really interesting conversation or dissertation about memoir, trauma, truth, and fact.) Daniel, as narrator, puts himself in the role of Scheherazade, teller of tales, and puts the reader in the role of the King. "Every story," writes Nayari, "is the sound of a storyteller begging to stay alive." Daniel tells his stories to his classmates, and his stories of ancient Persia and his own early life in Iran are equally fantastical and unbelievable to them--tales of carpets made of emeralds and rubies, and stories of elegantly appointed bathrooms featuring bowls you squat over instead of toilets. The cover of the book is gorgeous, featuring an Oklahoma cylone with the swirling colors of a gorgeous Persian rug. Objects from the novel, such as Daniel's grandfather's prize bull and an Aladdin-like palace, spin around inside it. The cyclone is not only emblamatic of Oklahoma and Persia but of Nayeri's narrative style, which circles around, considering and then reconsidering the same stories and themes. Towards the end of the novel, Daniel's teacher, Mrs. Miller--whom he loves--tells him he has "lost the plot," and he replies she is "beholden to a Western mode of storytelling that I do not accept." She laughs, and Western readers, much like Mrs. Miller, will, at this point, be all in for the remainder of what to them feels like a very strange ride indeed. I loved this book for so many reasons. I loved learning about Persian culture. I loved reading a book in this (for me) unusual, swirling, cyclone-like style. I loved the gorgeous writing. I loved Daniel, his humor, his humility, his vulnerability, his compassion, his recognition and acceptance of the flaws in himself and in others. I love that I feel like I have a new friend. I love, as my student once said, that this book has given me the gift of thinking about things in a new way. I'll end with one of my favorite quotes from the book (and I have many), in which the narrator directly addresses the reader and discusses the interaction between the reader and an author: "What you're doing now is listening to me, in the parlor of your mind, but also speaking to yourself, thinking about the parts of me you like or the parts of me that aren't funny enough. You evaluate, like Mrs. Miller says. You think and wrestle with every word." This is a book in which every word is well worth thinking and wrestling with.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    sometimes I think about the Booklist review for this book, "Nayeri challenges outright what young readers can handle, in form and content, but who can deny him when it’s his own experience on display? He demands much of readers, but in return he gives them everything." and then I shed a tear !

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    "Mrs. Miller says I have 'lost the plot,' and am now just making lists of things that happened to fill space. But I replied that she is beholden to a Western mode of storytelling that I do not accept and that the 1,001 Nights are basically Scheherazade stalling for time, so I don't see the difference. "She laughed when I said this. "It was one of those genuine laughs you get and for a second you see the person they are when they're not a teacher. Like the same laugh she might have at a movie or so "Mrs. Miller says I have 'lost the plot,' and am now just making lists of things that happened to fill space. But I replied that she is beholden to a Western mode of storytelling that I do not accept and that the 1,001 Nights are basically Scheherazade stalling for time, so I don't see the difference. "She laughed when I said this. "It was one of those genuine laughs you get and for a second you see the person they are when they're not a teacher. Like the same laugh she might have at a movie or something. She said, 'That was a wonderful use of beholden.' "And I said, 'Thank you.'" This exchange between 12-year-old-Iranian-refugee-turned-American-citizen (in Oklahoma, yet!) Khosrou and his teacher on p. 300 of a 351 page book about says it all. There are definite YA tropes here, most noticeably the hero getting teased / bullied / taunted / beat up / questioned as an outsider. That and lots of talk about poop (always a winner in YA books). What sets it apart is the way it echoes the 1,001 Nights and really lacks much of a plot. Instead, we get lots of characterization through storytelling -- about Khosrou's great, great grandparents, great grandparents, grandparents, Mom and Dad, step-dad, sister, friends, enemies (as you'd expect), but also about heroes from Persian literature. There's even a six-page stretch where the Shiite-Sunni split is explained in kid-friendly terms, something I'd share with my students if I still taught world religions, including the Islam unit. Rating it is tough, though. It's good, it's entertaining, it has elements that might intrigue young readers, but the loosely interconnected stories and anecdotes (and lack of plot) might lose more than one young reader, making it one of those YA's that might appeal more to adult readers of YA than to the young adults themselves. At least ones that are reluctant readers. That said, if you have students who are immigrants and / or ESL students well enough along to read full-blown YA books, by all means hand them a copy. They'll surely empathize with Khosrou's long and difficult journey -- not to mention his pride in his heritage.

  5. 4 out of 5

    jacq

    This book is unlike anything I’ve read recently (or ever?). Nayeri’s narrative voice is so beautiful and sincere, and the way he weaved stories from his childhood in Oklahoma to the family lore and folklore he heard growing up in Iran and as a refugee was masterfully done. There was a little too much discussion of blood and poop for my taste, but otherwise I really liked it. I can tell that this is a book that’s going to stick with me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus This autobiographical novel gives the readers the impressions of the world that Khosrou, who goes by Daniel in the US, has about his experiences leaving Iran as a small child and eventually settling in Oklahoma. It's not an easy transition for a lot of reasons, and there are stories of living in Iran, family history, and Iranian legends, intermingled with Daniel's modern day problems in middle school. It was fascinating to see every day life in Iran-- visits to gr E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus This autobiographical novel gives the readers the impressions of the world that Khosrou, who goes by Daniel in the US, has about his experiences leaving Iran as a small child and eventually settling in Oklahoma. It's not an easy transition for a lot of reasons, and there are stories of living in Iran, family history, and Iranian legends, intermingled with Daniel's modern day problems in middle school. It was fascinating to see every day life in Iran-- visits to grandparents, the parents careers as a dentist and a doctor, favorite foods-- in contrast to the problems that Daniel faces with his new classmates, who make fun of him because he is different. The family history if painful and filled with many challenges, from a great grandmother who was married very young, to marital problems, to the mother's conversion to Christianity at a wedding in England that eventually caused her to leave Iran, since it was illegal to participate in that religion. There are other problems in the US; the family struggles financially, and the mother has a difficult relationship with Ray, who is abusive but also helpful to the family monetarily. Daniel talks to his father, who has stayed behind in Iran, and is somewhat wistful for him, and is glad when his father finally comes to Oklahoma to visit. Strengths: I have had a handful of students from Iran, and aside from Dumas's 2016 and It Ain't So Awful, Falafel , Rosenblatt's 2017 The Lost Boys and Homayoonfar's 2019 Taking Cover: One Girl's Story of Growing Up During the Iranian Revolution , there aren't many middle grade books with Iranian characters. This has a little bit of everything; mentions of Scheherazade and the 1,001 Nights, Iranian history, daily life, food, and the difficulties Daniel faces in Oklahoma. Many of my students don't understand how difficult it can be to move to a new country, and books can be a great way for them to understand the challenges newcomers can face. The swirling cover is certainly representative of the way the stories and language flow poetically throughout this book. Weaknesses: There's a fine line between authors telling the story they need to tell and telling a story that readers need to read. This book lacked a central plot and linear progression of events, and young readers may struggle to understand what is going on. Other reviewers have mentioned that there is a lot of talk about poop and blood, and that this might be appealing to younger readers, but the mentions are not usually done in a funny way. This is almost more of a Young Adult Book, given the free flowing style and the range of difficult family dynamics presented. What I really think: Certainly an interesting book, and I'm debating. I was hoping that this would be a bit more like Varadarajan and Week's Save Me a Seat or Yang's Front Desk.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This is the book I will be gifting to everyone I know in the coming months. This is not a typical memoir. The way Nayeri weaves his own story among his family's and Persian mythology is beautiful and poignant, and hearing it all come from his younger self is such a fascinating choice. Nayeri's musings on what makes a myth and, perhaps even more importantly, what makes a storyteller, are not to be skimmed over. This is a book to revisit and cherish.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    I'm re-writing my rage reviews because I have a lot of time to waste right now. But anyway, there was not really anything I liked about this book. To start, this is basically a memoir of an 8-year-old boy (this author) who immigrates from Iran to the US with his mother. I'm from Iran and I thought that this, being a book representing me, would be something I enjoyed. Nah. I absolutely HATED this, every single aspect of it. Things I Liked: -the cover -the font -the type of paper, it was soft but kind I'm re-writing my rage reviews because I have a lot of time to waste right now. But anyway, there was not really anything I liked about this book. To start, this is basically a memoir of an 8-year-old boy (this author) who immigrates from Iran to the US with his mother. I'm from Iran and I thought that this, being a book representing me, would be something I enjoyed. Nah. I absolutely HATED this, every single aspect of it. Things I Liked: -the cover -the font -the type of paper, it was soft but kinda like cardstock at the same time -that's it Things I Disliked: -Something I hated was the narration style. Other people who reviewed this book have said that this book has "inspiring and interesting" narration, but no. I'd like to recommend that everyone reads Sofia's review of another book, which pretty much sums up how I feel about the narration in this. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... -It didn't have chapters. It was just book, book, book and more book with no chapters separating it at all. That made it hard to get through. -It didn't even have a plot! The author would tell a random story about their great grandmother, and then the next page they'd start with a story about how someone stole their baseball cap in 1st grade. (I'm serious.) Overall, I just couldn't get into this book and I had to DNF it 100 pages in.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Clay

    This is my 2020 Newbery and I can't understand how the National Book Award committee left it off its longlist. Daniel (Khosrou) Nayeri's fictionalized memoir is loosely structured as an Iranian immigrant's middle school responses to his teacher's prompts, but it has an age-defying, transporting, epic quality worthy of and modeled on Scheherazade. Deft language. Imaginative structure. Diversity. Iran to Italy to Oklahoma, his-Christian-covert-mother-under-a-fatwa-for-converting immigration story This is my 2020 Newbery and I can't understand how the National Book Award committee left it off its longlist. Daniel (Khosrou) Nayeri's fictionalized memoir is loosely structured as an Iranian immigrant's middle school responses to his teacher's prompts, but it has an age-defying, transporting, epic quality worthy of and modeled on Scheherazade. Deft language. Imaginative structure. Diversity. Iran to Italy to Oklahoma, his-Christian-covert-mother-under-a-fatwa-for-converting immigration story (can you imagine?). Fictionalized Persian refugee memoir and history. Humor, pathos, beauty. All here in spades, granted with some adult touches/flavor, but I used to really like that when I was a kid. Thank you, Khosrou-Daniel, so much. Highly over-the-moon recommended. Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef4AB... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e31Pb... Full Documentary Short: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXNuh...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kaveh

    Nayeri's book is not just a memoir, it's rather a beautiful story that has one foot in the reality of his immigration with all its funny and sad moments and one foot in skillful storytelling with a sweet dash of Persian poetry and folklore.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jillian Adams

    "But what you believe about the future will change how you live in the present" Such a world of learning in the book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eti

    In a word: Distinguished. Put this on your mock Newbery list immediately.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Liz Star

    This is one of the best books I have read—ever. I accidentally borrowed the audio version from my library app. Little did I realize the audiobook is narrated by the author himself. There is no better way to consume this story, these stories, than to hear Hosro Daniel Nayeri read it himself. If I could both rewind and fast forward time, to hear Mr. Nayeri narrate a second book about his patchwork memories—the foundational truth of a refugee—I would in an instant.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ampersand Inc.

    Saffron (5/5): Wow…This is hands down the best book I have read all year, Nayeri is a phenomenal story teller…you are laughing, crying and sometimes at the same time. Brilliant! Laureen (4/5): Debut author Daniel Nayeri is garnering rave reviews in the US media and this will help in the Canadian market. It’s listed as a middle grade novel, but I think it’s actually skewed for a more advance and perhaps older reader – maybe YA? It’s 1989 and the author is sharing his memories of childhood from his e Saffron (5/5): Wow…This is hands down the best book I have read all year, Nayeri is a phenomenal story teller…you are laughing, crying and sometimes at the same time. Brilliant! Laureen (4/5): Debut author Daniel Nayeri is garnering rave reviews in the US media and this will help in the Canadian market. It’s listed as a middle grade novel, but I think it’s actually skewed for a more advance and perhaps older reader – maybe YA? It’s 1989 and the author is sharing his memories of childhood from his early days in Iran until his world fell apart. Daniel and his mother and older sister had to flee Iran because his mother had a death fatwa on her – she converted to Christianity. The trio were in refugee limbo for a while before eventually settling in Oklahoma, USA. Nayeri stands before his new classmates like a deer in the head lights and has to explain who he is and how he arrived there. The story is filled with funny passages, descriptive references to Persian fables and legends, back stories of his beloved family members and his long and dangerous journey to the USA.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    This is a stunning and beautifully-written novel that belongs on every middle-school student's must-read list. It is equal parts poetic, soulful and heart-breaking. I particularly enjoyed the weaving of Persian folklore with the narrative of Daniel's family history and his own story as a refugee.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Equally heartbreaking and funny, Daniel’s story is one that stays with you. Beautifully written, with Persian folklore woven seamless throughout the book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susie Finkbeiner

    When I first heard of this book by Daniel Nayeri I knew it would be good. What I didn't know was how powerfully it would hit. I desperately needed the hope that Daniel's writing offers. Turns out, I also needed to remember that there's a cost for joy, and that it's always worth it. I couldn't wait to get to my local bookstore to buy the book (which I'm still going to do #shoplocal), so I borrowed the audiobook (which the author reads). It's worth a listen. I can't wait to read it with my eyeball When I first heard of this book by Daniel Nayeri I knew it would be good. What I didn't know was how powerfully it would hit. I desperately needed the hope that Daniel's writing offers. Turns out, I also needed to remember that there's a cost for joy, and that it's always worth it. I couldn't wait to get to my local bookstore to buy the book (which I'm still going to do #shoplocal), so I borrowed the audiobook (which the author reads). It's worth a listen. I can't wait to read it with my eyeballs soon. Friends, please read this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    This is not only the best book I’ve read this year, this is one of the most beautifully told stories I’ve read in a while. I’ll have a more full musing coming on Instagram later, but I just want you to know that Nayeri’s work is a gift—as it always is—and this memoir made me sob and laugh and has enriched my own life by the sharing of his.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Nayeri writes a memoir that is both fiction and nonfiction, both true and untrue, merging memories of his life growing up in Iran and becoming a refugee to his eventual life in Oklahoma with stories and legends about his ancestors in the style of Scheherazade and 1,001 Nights. It's not only about the things that happened, but also finding the truth of those people and events, which is not necessarily reached by an examination of facts. It's written as one long narrative, with breaks but no chapt Nayeri writes a memoir that is both fiction and nonfiction, both true and untrue, merging memories of his life growing up in Iran and becoming a refugee to his eventual life in Oklahoma with stories and legends about his ancestors in the style of Scheherazade and 1,001 Nights. It's not only about the things that happened, but also finding the truth of those people and events, which is not necessarily reached by an examination of facts. It's written as one long narrative, with breaks but no chapters, which seems appropriate as stories and events merge into one. Captivating. Review from e-galley.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    This book blew me away. Nayeri is a consummate storyteller and an unbelievable artist. I'm not sure what kid I'd give this book to - it's heartbreakingly sad and can be challenging to follow. But, wow. Just - wow.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Amazing

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Wow. From the first line I was yanked into Nayeri's book by his gorgeous storytelling and distinct style. This middle grade novel is an all-to-mostly true story, following Daniel Nayeri and his family from Iran to Dubai to Oklahoma. The writing is so beautiful, and I was amazed by how Nayeri so perfectly wove these vignettes together; however, it is also a challenging book, as immigrant stories often take very tragic twists and turns. While it can be a fraught reading experience, Nayeri balances Wow. From the first line I was yanked into Nayeri's book by his gorgeous storytelling and distinct style. This middle grade novel is an all-to-mostly true story, following Daniel Nayeri and his family from Iran to Dubai to Oklahoma. The writing is so beautiful, and I was amazed by how Nayeri so perfectly wove these vignettes together; however, it is also a challenging book, as immigrant stories often take very tragic twists and turns. While it can be a fraught reading experience, Nayeri balances the terrible moments with funny, sardonic descriptions of his new life. To be honest, I considered giving up on the book at one point, just because it is devastating to read about the constant struggle of Nayeri and his family as refugees, but I pushed through because I cared so much for these people that I didn't want to disrespect them by stopping. I'm glad I did continue, and I will never forget this wonderful, tragic, hilarious story. If you are the parent of a middle grader reading this, I suggest you read it as well and discuss it together because this is an important book. Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing me with a ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Wes F

    What's the perspective of a recent asylum refugee & his family? Well, Nayeri's debut book/memoir gives you an idea and has some insights to share, though not in a straightforward way. Nayeri tells his (& his family's) story in a very interesting & creative manner--writing from his younger person perspective, based on the need to tell/write stories about his life in his English class. Nayeri intertwines the story of 1001 Arabian Nights into his recalling, acting as the main character, Scheherazad What's the perspective of a recent asylum refugee & his family? Well, Nayeri's debut book/memoir gives you an idea and has some insights to share, though not in a straightforward way. Nayeri tells his (& his family's) story in a very interesting & creative manner--writing from his younger person perspective, based on the need to tell/write stories about his life in his English class. Nayeri intertwines the story of 1001 Arabian Nights into his recalling, acting as the main character, Scheherazade, who is telling the king stories to keep herself alive. As Nayeri settles into life as an American in Oklahoma, he recalls life & events growing up in Iran, including slight memories of his grandfather, as well as others he & his family met along the Refugee Highway. Borrowed from the library; read on my Kindle.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Jeziorski

    I listened to an ALC from Libro.fm that was free for librarians. This review is based on the audio copy. I loved this book for its mix of Persian stories, refugees’ struggles, and adjustment to living in a new place. Daniel comes to America from Iran, via Dubai and Italy. The book seems to be centered on stories he tells in his English class at school. He’s quite a storyteller, and the voice at times jumps around between past and present, fiction and his life. I enjoyed it—it’s heartbreaking at I listened to an ALC from Libro.fm that was free for librarians. This review is based on the audio copy. I loved this book for its mix of Persian stories, refugees’ struggles, and adjustment to living in a new place. Daniel comes to America from Iran, via Dubai and Italy. The book seems to be centered on stories he tells in his English class at school. He’s quite a storyteller, and the voice at times jumps around between past and present, fiction and his life. I enjoyed it—it’s heartbreaking at times.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Bunnell

    This memoir with a dash of creative license is wonderful and engaging. I can totally picture the young author telling these stories to his Oklahoma classmates, with just enough details about poop to give it true middle school boy authenticity. I'm also happy it was the first book for a new publishing company. Nicely done, Levine Querido.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    This was good, but there’s no way it’s middle grade. I don’t believe the narrator is 12 (no matter how many languages he speaks) and I can’t imagine there are very many real kids who can handle this level of narrative complexity. (I get what he was going for, but I, for one, could have really used some chapter breaks!) If it was YA (or even adult), it’d be great!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Juliaruth

    What wonderful story telling. The audio was really good. Stories within stories. A boys remembrance Of a childhood as a refugee. Leaving behind family and grasping for memories made up and real.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Susan Gras

    I couldn't get into this book. It's not my kind of book. I'm not sure I'm going to finish it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carissa

    This is a book of a lifetime. Daniel draws the reader into his adolescent world, maintaining the voice of a preteen as he tells and retells the stories of his youth. At times, I laughed out loud. Other times, I cried big wet, inconsolable tears. Throughout the book, I felt I was sitting with a friend, drawn in to the rich stories of his youth and Persian culture. Daniel's words have stayed with me long beyond the last page. I learned not only about his culture but about love and heartbreak, cour This is a book of a lifetime. Daniel draws the reader into his adolescent world, maintaining the voice of a preteen as he tells and retells the stories of his youth. At times, I laughed out loud. Other times, I cried big wet, inconsolable tears. Throughout the book, I felt I was sitting with a friend, drawn in to the rich stories of his youth and Persian culture. Daniel's words have stayed with me long beyond the last page. I learned not only about his culture but about love and heartbreak, courage, acceptance and strength. This is a story not only about Daniel but about the strength and courage of his mother, a true hero who pushed her children forward with unstoppable force. I've already pre-ordered it to give as gifts.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Joulwan

    Wow, wow, wow. This author/protagonist has SUCH a strong voice. I was hooked from the first paragraph. It's hard to read and beautiful and sad and hopeful and funny. This novel is a gift, and I'm so happy I read it.

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