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In this companion to the award-winning Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Darius suddenly has it all: a boyfriend, an internship, a spot on the soccer team. It’s everything he’s ever wanted–but what if he deserves better? Darius Kellner is having a bit of a year. Since his trip to Iran this past spring, a lot has changed. He’s getting along with his dad, and his best friend Sohr In this companion to the award-winning Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Darius suddenly has it all: a boyfriend, an internship, a spot on the soccer team. It’s everything he’s ever wanted–but what if he deserves better? Darius Kellner is having a bit of a year. Since his trip to Iran this past spring, a lot has changed. He’s getting along with his dad, and his best friend Sohrab is only a Skype call away. Between his first boyfriend, Landon, his varsity soccer practices, and his internship at his favorite tea shop, Darius is feeling pretty okay. Like he finally knows what it means to be Darius Kellner. Then, of course, everything changes. Darius’s grandmothers are in town for a long visit while his dad is gone on business, and Darius isn’t sure whether they even like him. The internship isn’t what Darius thought it would be, and now he doesn’t know about turning tea into his career. He was sure he liked Landon, but when he starts hanging out with Chip–soccer teammate and best friend of Trent Bolger, epic bully–well, he’s just not so sure about Landon anymore, either. Darius thought he knew exactly who he was and what he wanted, but maybe he was wrong. Maybe he deserves better.


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In this companion to the award-winning Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Darius suddenly has it all: a boyfriend, an internship, a spot on the soccer team. It’s everything he’s ever wanted–but what if he deserves better? Darius Kellner is having a bit of a year. Since his trip to Iran this past spring, a lot has changed. He’s getting along with his dad, and his best friend Sohr In this companion to the award-winning Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Darius suddenly has it all: a boyfriend, an internship, a spot on the soccer team. It’s everything he’s ever wanted–but what if he deserves better? Darius Kellner is having a bit of a year. Since his trip to Iran this past spring, a lot has changed. He’s getting along with his dad, and his best friend Sohrab is only a Skype call away. Between his first boyfriend, Landon, his varsity soccer practices, and his internship at his favorite tea shop, Darius is feeling pretty okay. Like he finally knows what it means to be Darius Kellner. Then, of course, everything changes. Darius’s grandmothers are in town for a long visit while his dad is gone on business, and Darius isn’t sure whether they even like him. The internship isn’t what Darius thought it would be, and now he doesn’t know about turning tea into his career. He was sure he liked Landon, but when he starts hanging out with Chip–soccer teammate and best friend of Trent Bolger, epic bully–well, he’s just not so sure about Landon anymore, either. Darius thought he knew exactly who he was and what he wanted, but maybe he was wrong. Maybe he deserves better.

30 review for Darius the Great Deserves Better

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kai

    I’ve not cried this much since...well, since Darius the Great is not Okay I just finished one of my most anticipated books of the year, the sequel to one of my all-time favourite books. And now I can breathe again. I was so scared. Writing a sequel to a beloved, special book is a frightening and difficult task but Adib pulled it off. This book is set a few months after Darius' family's return from Iran, where they visited Darius' grandparents. Now that school has started again, Darius is part of t I’ve not cried this much since...well, since Darius the Great is not Okay I just finished one of my most anticipated books of the year, the sequel to one of my all-time favourite books. And now I can breathe again. I was so scared. Writing a sequel to a beloved, special book is a frightening and difficult task but Adib pulled it off. This book is set a few months after Darius' family's return from Iran, where they visited Darius' grandparents. Now that school has started again, Darius is part of the soccer team, grew several inches, got a haircut and a boyfriend. His name is Landon and they met at the tea shop that Darius is interning for. Things have changed but they're still the same. Darius has somehow become an ever bigger tea nerd, he's still the loving and protective older brother to Laleh, and he still struggles with depression and self-confidence. This isn't a plot-driven book, so for the first few chapters I kept wondering what this was all about. And really, it's a coming of age novel. There are so many things on Darius' mind: his boyfriend wants to have sex but Darius isn't sure he's ready yet, his parents are overworked and struggling to keep the family afloat, his sister is having a hard time at school, his schoolmate Chip is really cute but Darius is in a relationship and anyway, Chip's best friend is a dick who keeps calling Darius homophobic slurs. Moreover, Darius grandpa in Iran is dying and Sohrab, Darius' best friend, keeps ignoring his Skype calls. And that's just the start of it. There were a few things that I found middle irritating, like the constant mention of Darius' testicles. I mean, yeah, they were almost busted during soccer training but at one point I had simply heard enough about them. Then again, they're pubescent teenagers who spend a lot of time thinking about their genitals so I guess it's not entirely unrealistic. Also, Darius has his signature expressions like "Um" and "Yes. No. I don't know." I read this book in one sitting so I found them somewhat repetitive. And I wanted to see more of Sohrab. He's going through something major and I wanted to hear more about his circumstances (Yes, this is my way of saying I need a Sohrab spin-off novel). As you see, it's just minor stuff though - I'm nitpicking and don't have anything important to criticise. Here is an (incomplete) list of things that I loved: - Darius relationship with his father is very warm and loving which is balm for my heart after the hard time they had in the first book - Darius' soccer teammates have his back and are super supportive when Darius introduces his boyfriend and shows up wearing nail polish. As someone who was bullied in school for being gay before I even knew I was gay, this broke my heart - in a good way. Men-only team sports are filled to the brim with toxic masculinity and thrive on homophobia, and to see Darius thrive in his circle of friends gave me hope. - Sohrab!! While we don't get to see much of him, he's the most supportive best friend Darius could have. - Darius' queer grandmas opening up to Darius about their past - Darius using gender neutral pronouns for people whose gender identity he doesn't know - Darius explaining that just because some has a queer best friend doesn't mean they can't be homophobic - Laleh being Laleh - the mental health representation - the discussion of homophobia, racism, depression and body issues I could go on. I also love how Adib Khorram manages to write novels that aren't super sad but still make me cry like a baby. I cannot explain what it is that makes me so emotional, it just does. I'm glad this book exists. And now that we've had a sequel, why not make it a trilogy? What will Darius decide on once he's finished high school? What happens with Chip? Will we see Sohrab? Are his grandmothers going to join him at the Pride parade? I need to know. Thank you to PRH International for the eARC! Find more of my books on Instagram

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    Wow I need a hug I loved this book SO MUCH. I have grown so attached to Darius and his entire family and I would love nothing more than to read book, after book, after book following them moving through life together. I wish I had something more profound to say other than just screaming "I REALLY, REALLY LOVE THIS BOOK AND YOU ALL NEED TO PRE-ORDER IT AND READ IT WHEN IT COMES OUT," but this book turned me into the best kind of happy/sad mush and that is all I can currently muster. I honestly th Wow I need a hug I loved this book SO MUCH. I have grown so attached to Darius and his entire family and I would love nothing more than to read book, after book, after book following them moving through life together. I wish I had something more profound to say other than just screaming "I REALLY, REALLY LOVE THIS BOOK AND YOU ALL NEED TO PRE-ORDER IT AND READ IT WHEN IT COMES OUT," but this book turned me into the best kind of happy/sad mush and that is all I can currently muster. I honestly think I loved this even more than the first book ( Darius the Great is Not Okay ), and I REALLY loved that book. This series is just great and if you haven't read it yet: YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO. TW: death of a parent/loved one, depression, racism, homophobia, being pressured into sexual acts when you're not ready, coming out

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tucker (TuckerTheReader)

    darius the great deserves a better cover ------------- darius the great deserves a release date | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram darius the great deserves a better cover ------------- darius the great deserves a release date | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram

  4. 5 out of 5

    may ➹

    [pointing to Darius] that’s my emotional support soccer gay

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

    My favorite contemporary of all time is getting a sequel and the announcement made me burst into spontaneous tears. HOW WILL I SURVIVE UNTIL I CAN READ THIS?????

  6. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    4.5 stars, rounded up. Adib Khorram's new novel, Darius the Great Deserves Better , is a beautiful, heartwarming, and emotional story about family, friends, love, identity, sexuality, mental health, self-esteem...and tea. Lots of tea. Darius Kellner, the protagonist of Khorram's terrific Darius the Great is Not Okay , returns, and it is so good to have him back. When the novel opens, things are going well for Darius. He has a boyfriend, Landon, an internship at a fancy tea shop, he plays on 4.5 stars, rounded up. Adib Khorram's new novel, Darius the Great Deserves Better , is a beautiful, heartwarming, and emotional story about family, friends, love, identity, sexuality, mental health, self-esteem...and tea. Lots of tea. Darius Kellner, the protagonist of Khorram's terrific Darius the Great is Not Okay , returns, and it is so good to have him back. When the novel opens, things are going well for Darius. He has a boyfriend, Landon, an internship at a fancy tea shop, he plays on his school's varsity soccer team, and he's even developing a strong friendship with Chip, one of his teammates, who used to bully him. He also has been keeping in touch with Sohrab, his best friend that he met when his family visited Iran. But even though he should be happy, things keep causing him to feel unsettled. His dad has to travel a lot for business and he seems to be struggling emotionally, his sister is having trouble at school, he's still getting bullied by his nemesis, Trent, and sometimes he just worries that everything is going to come crashing down. While Darius likes Landon a lot, he isn't sure he's ready to take their relationship to the next step, so he's worried Landon may want to end things. And as much as he loves working at the tea shop, he just doesn't know if he'll ever get the hang of knowing the right things to look for when tasting teas. It's enough to keep his depression at the forefront of his mind. Darius needs support and love, but his needs come at a time when his family is in the midst of stressful and sad situations, too. With his father out of town, his mother working long hours, and his grandmothers staying with the family (and he's not even sure if they like him), Darius keeps reaching out to Sohrab, but even Sohrab isn't available. Suddenly he starts relying a little more on Chip, but he can't quite figure Chip out all the time, which is unsettling, too. It's a lot for one teenager to deal with! I love the vulnerability that Khorram gives Darius, and I definitely identified with many of the emotions he felt throughout the book. I've been in the place where you should be happy but your anxiety that things might suddenly change, or your worry that people really don't feel the way you think they do about you, overtakes you. When you couple that with familial discord and trying to become comfortable with your sexuality and your first relationship, it's enough to overwhelm anyone, and Khorram shows you both the good and troubled sides of Darius' personality. I enjoyed Darius the Great Deserves Better so much. It's such a beautifully told, engaging, emotional story, but Darius is so likeable that you can't help but root for him and those around him. There's so much to think about in this book, and Khorram never gets too heavy-handed or creates too much unnecessary drama. While as in real life, so much angst could be avoided if people would just communicate with one another, I think Darius' occasional inertia was true to his character. Khorram said he wrote a sequel because he felt as if Darius had more to say. I think he still does, and I hope that a third book is out there somewhere on the horizon. But regardless, I'd read whatever he writes. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html. Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Vitor Martins

    “I am happy,” I said. “I’m just depressed too.” My depression was part of me. Just like being gay was. A part, but not the whole.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Lanz

    After learning tons about Perisan culture in Darius the Great is Not Okay, I was overjoyed to read a second novel following Darius and his family! ~★~ What is this book about? ~★~ Upon returning from their visit to Iran, Darius is forced to adjust back to life in America. He misses his best friend Sohrab, as well as his mother’s family that they had to leave behind. Now Darius is a part of the Varsity soccer team at school, he’s getting along great with his dad, and he has a boyfriend. Just w After learning tons about Perisan culture in Darius the Great is Not Okay, I was overjoyed to read a second novel following Darius and his family! ~★~ What is this book about? ~★~ Upon returning from their visit to Iran, Darius is forced to adjust back to life in America. He misses his best friend Sohrab, as well as his mother’s family that they had to leave behind. Now Darius is a part of the Varsity soccer team at school, he’s getting along great with his dad, and he has a boyfriend. Just when things begin to seem normal again, Darius is put to the test. He’s not sure he enjoys his job, his grandmothers that don’t seem to like him are staying with Darius’ family, and he begins questioning everything when a teammate catches his eye despite him being in what he thought was a happy relationship. ~★~ Having loved book one immensely, I had high expectations and a good feeling I’d enjoy this one, too. Thankfully I was right; Adib Khorram delivered what was a powerful novel surrounding family, friendship and love along with the struggles of teenage life. The family dynamic was one of my favourite things about this book. It made me so incredibly happy to see Darius and his father make an effort to bond after their tense relationship in the past. Darius doing everything to comfort his little sister was also really heartwarming. The exploration of Darius’ romantic relationship was done especially well. His constant questioning and self exploration was very refreshing to read about, especially considering a lot of YA books don’t spend as much time on these things. The way Darius and his father's depression was handled was also really great! I couldn’t have asked for more from this sequel! I’m so happy to have read it, and can’t wait for those who enjoyed the first book to get their hands on this one!

  9. 5 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    It's not often Contemporaries get sequels, and I was so so softly glad to be back with Darius. 😭💛 Book one was so gentle and introspective, emotional with really deep character arcs. I got attached to Darius and his struggle with depression and fitting in and connecting with his Iranian roots as he visited for the first time and fixing his relationship with his dad. The sequel is set back in the US, and mostly follows Darius' family as they go through a rough time. Obviously his grandfather is dy It's not often Contemporaries get sequels, and I was so so softly glad to be back with Darius. 😭💛 Book one was so gentle and introspective, emotional with really deep character arcs. I got attached to Darius and his struggle with depression and fitting in and connecting with his Iranian roots as he visited for the first time and fixing his relationship with his dad. The sequel is set back in the US, and mostly follows Darius' family as they go through a rough time. Obviously his grandfather is dying in Iran and they can't be there; his parents are in financial struggle, Darius has a boyfriend but he's really anxious about being physical and feels pressure, his little sister is dealing with racism in her third grade class. It felt like a slice of life: not fast paced and not packed with taunt scenes. Again, so introspective. I did feel Darius didn't have a huge arc because he already had it in book one, but plenty of characters around him did. Also it was just...wholesome. It's just void of toxic masculinity. Darius' family hug and kiss foreheads all. the. time. Darius' soccer team is so supportive and sweet. Blows your mind when it shows a world like this. :') There is a "sort of" love triangle, but it's so natural and honestly realistic. There's no cheating, just confused teen feels and I appreciated it. Chip also had a great arc. I did wish it had more cohesion to the plot, or just...a plot. I loved it, but sometimes the repetitive scenes of dishwashing or doing homework dragged.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lance

    "Ghorbanat beram is one of those perfect Farsi phrases you can't quite translate into English. The closest thing is: I would give my life for yours. Sometimes it was just hyperbole. But for Sohrab, it was literal." "And it didn't feel like Sohrab either, who felt like the kind of person I could count on for anything. Who knew me inside and out. Who accepted all my flaws and still made me wish I could be better." "How do you explain the fear that someone you love might stop loving you all of a "Ghorbanat beram is one of those perfect Farsi phrases you can't quite translate into English. The closest thing is: I would give my life for yours. Sometimes it was just hyperbole. But for Sohrab, it was literal." "And it didn't feel like Sohrab either, who felt like the kind of person I could count on for anything. Who knew me inside and out. Who accepted all my flaws and still made me wish I could be better." "How do you explain the fear that someone you love might stop loving you all of a sudden?" “You deserve people in your life who make you happy, Darius. No matter what. Just remember that. Okay?” 5 stars. Darius the Great Deserves Better is the much-needed, absolutely almost-perfect finale to what is now one of my favorite YA duologies of all time. If you notice, the color palatte for this book's cover matches that of Darius the Great is Not Okay but inverted: I think that is incredibly indicative of the contents of this book. While the cover of the novel seems to suggest that the "love triangle" is the focus point of this novel, that is far from the case. Instead just like the previous book in this duology, this is a character study novel that feels far more slice-of-life than driven by any sort of external plot. But unlike the previous book, this novel is about Darius maturing and discovering new facets of himself in a space he knows well. This novel's progression and general elements are ultimately tied to Darius' character arc. Whether it'd be prose, the pacing, and especially the themes, Darius' personality permeates each and every aspect of this novel. Khorram's prose remains reflective of Darius' character voice: lots of short, staccato phrases and sentences that are indicative of how Darius himself processes the world. It's interesting. The writing itself is very sparse, with lots of line breaks and empty space on the novel's pages; But it is in that emptiness (coupled with the metaphors used) that Darius' character voice becomes richer and more developed. Whether it'd be the way he views events occurring or his thoughts on certain people or subjects, the way the writing is formatted and done allows the reader to immerse themselves in Darius' head. This novel, and its predecessor, is one of the finest examples I can think of in regards to development of character voice. This book also contains discussion of so many important topics deftly woven into Darius' everyday life. There are conversations ranging from homophobia, bullying, racism, to mental health and more. What I love about this book is that it shows how these various issues impact Darius, as well as his family's, everyday lives without it coming across as shoehorned. This book shows how seemingly vague, intangible concepts such as having a queer friend not being an excuse for blatant homophobia or the way young kids of color are forced to confront racism at such early ages can severely impact someone's everyday life. It is apparent that the discourse had in this book around these subjects come from a genuine place and it was amazing to see that, particularly for a story about a young gay man of color. Here's the thing: Darius is one of the handful of protagonists that I truly see myself in. He's a gay, chubby boy trying to navigate first love and what he wants for himself in life with a best friend in an entirely different country. It's impossible for me to untangle my personal experience from him as character and thus, the book itself. Watching Darius go through his growing pains as well as voice so many of the thoughts that I have had at one point or another was incredibly comforting. So many of his thoughts about wishing his best friend was closer, about not liking the way his body looked, and especially about his fears about coming out felt like Adib Khorram had reached into my head and put my thoughts on page. It's a wonderful thing to find a character who you identify with so much; so thank you, Adib Khorram for writing Darius. Some spoilery thoughts: (view spoiler)[I liked how Khorram handled Darius' experience with first love and the loss of it. Rather than demonize Landon (Darius' ex-boyfriend), the narrative makes sure to point out that Darius and Landon want different things. The way this novel ends with Darius saying "I'm okay." BE STILL MY HEART. Darius not knowing what romantic love feels like and being unsure about it. The scene at Laleh's school and the anger Darius felt at the racism and bullying his younger sister already had to deal with. Lastly, the potential for the Chip and Darius romance and the way Khorram ensured that they dealt with Chip being a complicit bystander in Trent's bullying of Darius. It was refreshing and even though a part of me wants more, it makes sense for the ending to be the way it is. (hide spoiler)] Conclusively, one of the best contemporary YA series I've ever had the joy of reading. Sometimes you read books that find their way into your heart without you even expecting them to; Darius the Great Deserves Better and the previous book are two of them. Thank you to Adib Khorram for writing two books that made me feel just a little bit more okay far after I turned the last page.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Helia (Rose Quartz Reads)

    DARIUS THE GREAT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST BOOKS I'VE GENUINELY SEEN MYSELF IN AND IT'S GETTING A SEQUEL I'M CRYING To know that an Iranian writer can write a book about an Iranian kid and his experience living between two cultures, and that the book was popular enough to warrant a sequel? It means everything to me. I'd been invisible prior to reading that book and I didn't even know it. I can't wait to see Darius again. 29/12/2019 Edit: We have a cover!! Thank you for all the likes

  12. 4 out of 5

    Angela Staudt

    Thank you PenguinTeen for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I love Darius. I didn’t think I could love him anymore than I already do, but I proved myself wrong. Heck, I love the whole family and I freaking loved this entire book. I loved seeing Darius’s growth from the first book and throughout this book. His love for teas is like no other and it was all those simple moments of him talking about or making tea, that I realized how much I cherished this book. I enjoyed seeing Darius make ne Thank you PenguinTeen for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I love Darius. I didn’t think I could love him anymore than I already do, but I proved myself wrong. Heck, I love the whole family and I freaking loved this entire book. I loved seeing Darius’s growth from the first book and throughout this book. His love for teas is like no other and it was all those simple moments of him talking about or making tea, that I realized how much I cherished this book. I enjoyed seeing Darius make new friends, but also keeping in touch with Sohrab. His relationship with his little sister Laleh, and his relationship with his dad. I know this is a contemporary book, but it was so much more than that. We start off with Darius getting his dream internship/job, he has a cute boyfriend, he is doing amazing at soccer, and he is making lots of friends. Soon his dad has to leave for work and his grandmother’s come to stay to help out around the house. He starts to doubt if he really wants to be in the tea business, he loves tea, but does he want that to be his job? He doesn’t know how he feels about Landon, his boyfriend, he always seems to want more than what Darius is willing to give. I really cherished how well this was written especially the moments between Landon and Darius. Not to mention the moments with his teammates from soccer and how they all have his back no matter what. What I truly loved about this book was the discussion of SO many important topics like homophobia, mental health, racism, and body issues. They are woven so intricately throughout this entire book and were written so deeply and well. I had so much anger and sadness reading about the racism in this book and homophobia. My heart ached for Darius and Laleh and I wanted to flip out on all the bullies. I seriously need more books about Darius. I have questions that need answered, so of course this needs to be a trilogy. I want to know more about Sohrab and how he is doing, I NEED to know more about Chip and especially Chip and Darius’s friendship. I want to know how his father is doing and what Laleh is like as a young teenager. So, lets all hope that there is going to be another book. Darius is the greatest.

  13. 5 out of 5

    ;3

    4.5 darius is MY crybaby gay rep

  14. 4 out of 5

    Vicky Again

    I just finished and this was truly such an amazing way to end my weekend. I have so many feelings. Words are hard, but I can safely say that I love Darius as a character, and I loved this sequel. I want to take the whole series and start rereading immediately--that is how much I loved this. It's definitely a different time of Darius' life than what we saw in Darius the Great Is Not Okay. You absolutely could pick this up without reading book 1--but why would you want to? Nonetheless, Darius is no I just finished and this was truly such an amazing way to end my weekend. I have so many feelings. Words are hard, but I can safely say that I love Darius as a character, and I loved this sequel. I want to take the whole series and start rereading immediately--that is how much I loved this. It's definitely a different time of Darius' life than what we saw in Darius the Great Is Not Okay. You absolutely could pick this up without reading book 1--but why would you want to? Nonetheless, Darius is now at school, has a kind of boyfriend, is working at his favorite tea shop, is on the soccer team who supports him, has a good relationship with his dad, and is in a very different headspace and environment than in Darius the Great Is Not Okay. I adored the things we did get to see from book 1--Darius' love of teas & Star Trek, his love for his sister Laleh, his friendship with Sohrab--and I loved seeing what changed. He forges a lot of new relationships, breaks off old ones, and manages to create/find a space more welcoming for himself. It keeps that kind of slice-of-life approach to Darius as the first book, where the reader gets to see this time frame of Darius' life and what growth he went during this time. There is no concrete end goal, it just is. And this might be disconcerting, but it's wonderful and meaningful and real, and I'd highly recommend. It felt like it had a purpose and wasn't just fluff or unnecessary. We got to explore romance and relationships for Darius overtly and not just in subtext like the first book. He's currently dating Landon, but they might not be a perfect fit for each other. Darius is good friends with Chip and isn't sure what he feels towards him. I know some people call this a love triangle, but I wouldn't personally use that term for this. It's so much more complicated than just trying to decide between two guys, and Darius himself isn't really trying to decide, but is more navigating his relationship with Landon and dealing with what isn't clicking, while Chip is in the background. It's messy and real and it's Darius. I don't know what else I can say. There is absolutely nothing that I disliked about this book. I loved every moment, and I wish it would never end. I cannot recommend this enough, and although I know Darius isn't for everyone, this series is so dear to me and I'll love it enough for all of us.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Peyton Reads

    This novel was even better than the first one and I'm itching for a third installment in this series. After two books, I have deeply connected with Darius and all I want for him is happiness. My favorite part about these books is the depression representation. It is the most accurate portrayal of the mental illness that I have suffered that I have ever come across. It makes me feel for Darius and his father, who also suffers from depression, even more. I also had a lot of fun with the love trian This novel was even better than the first one and I'm itching for a third installment in this series. After two books, I have deeply connected with Darius and all I want for him is happiness. My favorite part about these books is the depression representation. It is the most accurate portrayal of the mental illness that I have suffered that I have ever come across. It makes me feel for Darius and his father, who also suffers from depression, even more. I also had a lot of fun with the love triangle between three boys in this book. I really ship Darius with one of them and I'm hoping there's a third book so we can get all of the cute scenes between them. This book isn't plot heavy. It is very focused on Darius and his personal journey through depression, friendships, connecting to his culture, and his new found romantic relationships. Since I care so much for Darius, it didn't end up bothering me. This is a solid book although it isn't quite a five star read for me. I recommend it!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    I wonder what my assigned FBI employee must think when they see me come on here every other day in the middle of the night, just crying my eyes out, to throw yet another 5 star rating at a book. I love these books so much. I love each and every word within them. I love Darius. His story is the sort that just sucks you in so much that you will forget about your own life. I've said in my review for book 1 that my favourite aspect was Darius's voice, how well it fit his character, and how clear of I wonder what my assigned FBI employee must think when they see me come on here every other day in the middle of the night, just crying my eyes out, to throw yet another 5 star rating at a book. I love these books so much. I love each and every word within them. I love Darius. His story is the sort that just sucks you in so much that you will forget about your own life. I've said in my review for book 1 that my favourite aspect was Darius's voice, how well it fit his character, and how clear of a picture it painted of his mind, and the same thing can be said about this follow-up. I felt so close to him the entire time, kind of like he had put his head on my shoulder and told me all his thoughts and fears and hopes in person. And although this one feels distinctly different from its predecessor and tackled a plethora of different topics, namely the intersection of sexuality and ethnicity, and followed a more typical coming of age storyline as can be found in other YA contemporary novels, it felt fresh and engaging because it was Darius who was telling it. Even though it had been just a little over a week, I was so anxious and excited to meet all these characters again and observe them in a more casual, everyday sort of setting. But because many trademark aspects from the first book could also be found here, the change happened seamlessly and without any problems. And I liked how although it dealt with Darius coming out to those close to him, it did so in such a gentle and very confident manner, it felt empowering and reassuring to see him receive so much love for who he is, and for how kindly he treats those around him. I especially loved the portrayal of his friends on the soccer team, an environment that is stereotypically toxic and homophobic, yet here almost became a safe haven and continuously depicted his teammates as protectors to verbal abuse. As a whole, the book had just as many tender moments as I was hoping for, and one or the other tear was constantly trickling down my cheek. What I will say though, is that this book did not! Have! Enough! Sohrab! Hello!!! This was really weird both objectively because he was such a huge part in the other novel, and subjectively because I will die on the hill that him and Darius need to date. But this brings me to my next point, which is that I will literally go and buy 40 copies of this books if that means we get a third installment. Please. Please, I need it. I'm begging. It would be so perfect. And I feel like it would actually make sense, with how this book ends! I feel like there'd definitely be room for further exploration. Overall, this was such a wonderful treat, and I positively devoured it. I'm beyond ecstatic to have discovered both Darius and Adib Khorram this year. I will sit on this for a moment now and contemplate my rating, but this is my truest initial reaction, and all I can say is that this was a great book. * * * I would like to extend a formal letter of appreciation to Myself for waiting this long to pick up Darius #1 because I would have literally thrown myself into the depths of Hell if I'd had to wait any longer for this than I now have to. (But also... I am scared because I have high expectations and the synopsis doesn't exactly sound like what I wanted from this when reading the first book, which was mainly for Sohrab to come visit Darius in America but IT'S FINE.)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anniek

    I've been wanting a sequel ever since I first read Darius the Great Is Not Okay in 2018, and couldn't be happier that we were actually blessed with one. The first book was so special, and I can confirm this one is as well. It actually took me a while to get into this book. I reread book 1 first and dove in right after finishing that, and because of that, I had some trouble adjusting to the tone of voice. Because this book is set a few months after the first book ends, and Darius goes through a lo I've been wanting a sequel ever since I first read Darius the Great Is Not Okay in 2018, and couldn't be happier that we were actually blessed with one. The first book was so special, and I can confirm this one is as well. It actually took me a while to get into this book. I reread book 1 first and dove in right after finishing that, and because of that, I had some trouble adjusting to the tone of voice. Because this book is set a few months after the first book ends, and Darius goes through a lot of character development in between books that we never get to live through with him. For instance, he comes out to his family and gets his first boyfriend. I felt like Darius had gained a lot of confidence off page, and that altered his tone of voice a little. However, I got into the book really quickly and then it was just a really great read again. And I can only agree with the title: Darius the Great really DOES deserve better. This is one of the purest characters I've ever read about and I would gladly give my life for him. Actually, the ending left me craving another sequel. I want to know what happens with Sohrab! I want to know what happens with Darius and [redacted]!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I know nothing about this book and I'm so freaking excited for it !!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Darius the Great still had more to say and I'm so glad I was able to read them. This sequel is even more wholesome than the first one and Darius's relationship with his family and friends is still the purest thing on Earth. I enjoy reading him grow accustomed to his Teen Television Drama of a life, deal with Level Nine Awkward Silences, and figure things regarding passion and love out in his own. I honestly just wish there are still more books to come instead of having only a duology because I'm Darius the Great still had more to say and I'm so glad I was able to read them. This sequel is even more wholesome than the first one and Darius's relationship with his family and friends is still the purest thing on Earth. I enjoy reading him grow accustomed to his Teen Television Drama of a life, deal with Level Nine Awkward Silences, and figure things regarding passion and love out in his own. I honestly just wish there are still more books to come instead of having only a duology because I'm sure as heck that I'm going to miss everyone in this book so so much. Lol, not you Trent.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    "That's the thing about silences. Sometimes they keep coming back." CW/s: depression, death in family, financial struggles, homophobia (challenged), microaggressions/racism (challenged), mention of immigration. I'm was so excited for this book and it definitely delivered for me. Honestly looking back at Darius The Great Is Not Okay, it was definitely a 5 star read. I really loved it so getting to step back into these characters and their story, it was ah-mazing. This was takes qui "That's the thing about silences. Sometimes they keep coming back." CW/s: depression, death in family, financial struggles, homophobia (challenged), microaggressions/racism (challenged), mention of immigration. I'm was so excited for this book and it definitely delivered for me. Honestly looking back at Darius The Great Is Not Okay, it was definitely a 5 star read. I really loved it so getting to step back into these characters and their story, it was ah-mazing. This was takes quite a shift was the first book as the major themes have shifted slightly as Darius moves on with his life. There is a much larger focus on school and romantic relationships compared to the first one. I, obviously, expected this from the cover (because look, it screams relationships struggles) and I really enjoyed seeing how Darius dealt with some personal struggles and things that we very new to him. AND it starts immediately as there is a small time jump from the last book. I think throughout the book we look into how Darius is feeling, his insecurities and knowing what he wants in many ways. I really enjoyed this and it again demonstrated Khorram's ability to look at situations fully and explore the different emotions. He is a really talented writer at capturing the complexities of situations and thoughts. It is this and many other reasons that make you fall in love with Darius as you really follow, and therefore connect, to him through his journey. I also loved getting to know the new characters a bit more. The relationship side might have a few of the least popular tropes i.e. love triangle, some bit of miscommunication, bully-to-potential romance (?), but these are done in a top-tier way from the way the emotions are delivered. The one bit where Darius does a speech to Chip is so good, I'm so glad Darius said that and it stuff like this that make this such a good contemporary series. But this story doesn't just focused on romantic relationships. There is a lot more to this story. It looks at his family from his sister's trouble, his family living in Iran, his friendship with Sohrab, his grandmothers, the financial struggle to his dad's depression. And, also, his job, a little bit on his future and trying to fit in with his new soccer team (I had the international book and the amount of times I got confused with football and soccer was ridiculous). It was a lot and I always love the depth Khorram is able to provide. BUT, I will say, I felt like what we got was really good but in just a few things I would have liked more development as it happened quickly or it didn't feel like I got to see the change I would have liked to happen. I would have liked a little more in those departments. The writing was as addictive and as easy to read as the first book. It honestly makes for such a quick and entertaining yet emotional read. I could see the potential for a third book (yes I am biased). I could see something happening with a certain two characters that shall remain unnamed. ★★★★ Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. I loved the characters, writing and journey this book took. There were just those few things I would have preferred a little more on but I can't recommend this series enough. I love it. Please read it if you haven't.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Camryn

    So, like... this had no plot????????? On one hand, I dig it, since I write a lot of stories that don't have plot. But on the other hand, I'm very jealous, because I've written stories in this vein and get told to fix the fact that it has no plot! So it was something my brain kept dinging this entire story. I want to say that nothing happens, but that's not really fair, since things DO happen. It's just more episodic in nature. Darius is dealing with a new job and a position on the soccer team and So, like... this had no plot????????? On one hand, I dig it, since I write a lot of stories that don't have plot. But on the other hand, I'm very jealous, because I've written stories in this vein and get told to fix the fact that it has no plot! So it was something my brain kept dinging this entire story. I want to say that nothing happens, but that's not really fair, since things DO happen. It's just more episodic in nature. Darius is dealing with a new job and a position on the soccer team and his grandfather dying and his parents working more. A lot is going on! I honestly did start skipping around because it didn't feel like things were happening, but there were things that I thought were really important and poignant like: -The discussion around consent. I think we talk a lot about assault and rape but not necessarily how someone can pressure you into sex when you aren't ready for it, even if they love you, and I think this was something really important to show that we don't necessarily talk about a lot. -The conversation about micro aggressions and how they impact kids, even in school, with comments that adults might not think are a big deal (especially if they're white.) -I love the relationships Darius has with his family. He is so protective and caring when it comes to his little sister, I love how close he is to his father and the way they bond and are very affectionate and also talk about their shared experiences with depression, and how open he is with his mother. Also he has queer grandparents! -Sohrab! Loved him in the first book and glad that he is back here and how close he and Darius are. -The feeling Darius has about (view spoiler)[his grandfather's death. (hide spoiler)] There was a lot of, "I wish it would happen because waiting is worse" and "I'm glad that it is over" and he feels guilty and horrible for thinking these things, but I also felt the same way while I was in the hospital with my father for the last time, and felt shockingly seen, like the author saw me in my underwear or something. And the whole way of dealing with grief felt incredibly natural too; crying and then sharing funny stories and remembering. -I did like the way the author addressed the "former bully falls for the kid they used to torment" and was like "no you can't abuse someone for a long time and not expect them to have feelings about that???" Great, chef's kiss. I got the relationship stuff, but was not incredibly interested by it? The kinda sorta love triangle didn't seem like it needed to be there. I don't know if there's a nice way to say this, but I don't really think a second book was necessary, as much as I liked seeing Darius grow more. But I'm glad he's in a really good place with his family and in his life. Is it weird to be like, "oh, I'm glad you're alright" to a YA character?

  22. 5 out of 5

    daria ❀

    4.5 stars this book picks up post darius’s trip to iran and he has got a lot on his plate, from a new boyfriend to finally landing his dream job to being on his school’s soccer team to keeping in touch with sohrab. this book is definitely character-driven, so not much happens plot-wise. it’s really just a collection of joyful and sorrowful moments in darius’s life that we get to witness and experience alongside him. this book dove headfirst into discussions and depictions of homophobia and racis 4.5 stars this book picks up post darius’s trip to iran and he has got a lot on his plate, from a new boyfriend to finally landing his dream job to being on his school’s soccer team to keeping in touch with sohrab. this book is definitely character-driven, so not much happens plot-wise. it’s really just a collection of joyful and sorrowful moments in darius’s life that we get to witness and experience alongside him. this book dove headfirst into discussions and depictions of homophobia and racism. darius is still dealing with a relentless tormentor in trent bolger, while also beginning to develop a friendship with trent’s best friend and right-hand-man, chip. this relationship is a major part of the story and adib khorram raises a really important question: how can you call yourself an ally or a friend to someone if you also align yourself with their bullies and harassers? i really loved getting to watch darius’s familial relationships develop. he is doing his best to help his little sister, who is dealing with microaggressions from her classmates and even her teacher. his father is beginning to burnout from overworking and is falling into a depressive episode that darius is desperate to help him through. and darius is beginning to suspect that his mother is not comfortable with and does not approve of his being so open with his sexuality and identity as a young gay man. my one and only gripe with this book was the abundance of star trek references. i understand that this show is very important to darius and a way for him and his father to bond. however, these references happened so often and so frequently that they began to take me out of the story. this book was written with such love and care. it wraps you up and brings you close and refuses to let you go. i loved getting to follow along with this second part of darius’s coming of age journey. and if adib khorram wants to continue and give us even more darius… well, i personally wouldn’t mind at all.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cody Roecker

    This book hits me in every personal note that I've ever needed a book to hit - the queer rep, the depression rep, the heart of this book is so special to me. This book features one of the most beautifully and authentically written love triangles I've ever read. Everything about this book feels so necessary and raw and real and I loved every page

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nazanin

    AGAIN ANOTHER 5 STARS FOR THE SECOND BOOK! Always a pleasure to read about him! As a Persian I feel what he feels and about him being gay. Being gay as an Iranian is not easy and never will be. People will always see it as a bad thing, people there aren't even used to mental illness now they want to talk about being gay? It's just makes me laugh and sad at the same time. Anyways as for Chip in the first book I already knew he had a thing Darius it was so obvious. Myself I don't really like how b AGAIN ANOTHER 5 STARS FOR THE SECOND BOOK! Always a pleasure to read about him! As a Persian I feel what he feels and about him being gay. Being gay as an Iranian is not easy and never will be. People will always see it as a bad thing, people there aren't even used to mental illness now they want to talk about being gay? It's just makes me laugh and sad at the same time. Anyways as for Chip in the first book I already knew he had a thing Darius it was so obvious. Myself I don't really like how bullies fall for the person they bully or I don't know get pleasure from it somehow- moving on as for his mother not being comfortable around Darius and his boyfriend it's 💯 true. Persian moms usually ignore the issue till it's gone or make a face out of it giving up that loving face they always gave you till the end of time. My own mom is just like that. I remember doing something she didn't forgive me till 3 years always kept reminding me of it. They don't want less than perfect from you. Overall I want a book 3, I NEED A BOOK! I highly recommend reading the series it's amazing!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    Any book that makes me cry just talking about it with others will probably have my heart. With that said... I want a third book titled Darius the Great Conquers the World where he and Sohrab travel the world on a gap year and fall in love. Please and thank you. (Thank you to my podcast team for having me read this book and for making me want this very specific version of a third book lol).

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    This cover just murdered me and I said thank you

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tova

    Darius the Great deserves a better release date then just "2020", but I am so freaking excited about this news!!!!!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Adri

    4.5 Stars CWs: Incurred bullying, racism, xenophobic comments, homophobic comments, descriptions of anxiety and depressive episodes, some toxic relationships, explores early signs of what could be emotional abuse When I heard that this book was announced, I was so excited to have even more Darius content in my life, but I was also curious to see if a sequel to a contemporary YA story could hold up to the original. Now that I've read this book, let me just say: I am SO glad this story exists. Ri 4.5 Stars CWs: Incurred bullying, racism, xenophobic comments, homophobic comments, descriptions of anxiety and depressive episodes, some toxic relationships, explores early signs of what could be emotional abuse When I heard that this book was announced, I was so excited to have even more Darius content in my life, but I was also curious to see if a sequel to a contemporary YA story could hold up to the original. Now that I've read this book, let me just say: I am SO glad this story exists. Right off the bat, Darius' life is so different from how it looked in Darius the Great is Not Okay. Now he's out to his family, he has a boyfriend, he has a loving best friend, he has a promising internship at a local tea shop, and he's playing for his school's varsity soccer team. To see all of those positive things happening in his life is so important, because it shows that the good can coexist with the bad. Having all of these great things in his life doesn't mean Darius' depression is magically cured or that he doesn't struggle with body image or self-doubt. The presence of those struggles does absolutely nothing to negate the happiness he experiences and vice versa. So it's refreshing to see mental health normalized and destigmatized in that way, which I think is going to resonate so strongly for many readers. Darius' family life is also a key aspect in this story. The dynamic between him and his parents has definitely shifted for the better; their relationship is much stronger after their trip to Iran, and they are much more intentional in expressing their feelings and affection. It's almost cathartic to be able to see Darius' parents tell him that they love him and they appreciate him, and I am such a huge fan of that openness within their family. That said, it doesn't necessarily come naturally. It's hard-win, it's something they have to consciously practice, and being better communicators doesn't mean their family is now perfect. They all still have a tendency to keep the hard stuff to themselves and to doubt themselves, and I think it's so important to see them continuing to work through those issues as a family. The story also makes a point to explore the importance of having safe spaces in your life—whether they be people, places, or activities. Again, it's just really nice to see Darius finding his place in the soccer team, having a space that challenges toxic masculinity and encourages affirmative friendship, and finding a sense of belonging there. Then he's able to pass those lessons onto his younger sister as well, which is so important. That idea of safe spaces is also challenged, in a sense, when it comes to how Darius is navigating his budding friendship with Chip, who used to bully Darius by proxy before they became teammates. It raises the question of whether someone who's hurt you in the past can be absolved simply by being a friend in the present tense and how you go about gauging whether this person still has the capacity to cause you hurt. Being able to confront that trauma within a relationship is incredibly difficult but necessary work, so I appreciate the way that was handled. I was a little wary about the "love triangle" aspect of the story, and while I won't spoil anything, I will say that I was proud of Darius for where he landed in the end. His relationship with his boyfriend, Landon, and his friendship with Chip were both extremely fraught, and I think Adib Khorram played it perfectly in the end. All in all, I think both Darius books are revolutionary in their softness and their quiet affirmation. If you want to feel comforted, valued, and seen, then these are definitely the books for you. I absolutely love what this sequel accomplished and I'm so excited to see what Adib Khorram does next!

  29. 4 out of 5

    R

    what a perfect book to get me out of a slow reading slump. I read 100 pages each day I read it because it was just so easy to read. I absolutely adored the way depression was talked about in this book (as I did with its predecessor) and I really connected with Darius a lot in that aspect. I particularly liked when he said that you could be depressed and happy and the paint metaphor that was used to describe how the two states can coexist was fantastic. My haircut was called out tho and I did not what a perfect book to get me out of a slow reading slump. I read 100 pages each day I read it because it was just so easy to read. I absolutely adored the way depression was talked about in this book (as I did with its predecessor) and I really connected with Darius a lot in that aspect. I particularly liked when he said that you could be depressed and happy and the paint metaphor that was used to describe how the two states can coexist was fantastic. My haircut was called out tho and I did not appreciate that lol. Anyway, if you loved Darius the Great Is Not Okay, I think you're going to love this book too. It was a wonderful sequel and it touches on a lot of important things. The only issue I actually have is that I have a paperback copy of the first one and a hardback copy of this one so they'll look weird next to each other on my shelf rip.

  30. 5 out of 5

    TJ

    I enjoyed this book immensely more than the first! I still think the exploration of sexuality was a bit underplayed in the first one, but I appreciate that the author didn’t want to make a huge “deal” out of Darius coming out. The fact that this book opens with Darius being out and proud already was a nice surprise! I feel like Adib’s strengths as a writer were really amplified here, and many of the issues I had with the first book were toned down. I still found some of the Darius repetition and I enjoyed this book immensely more than the first! I still think the exploration of sexuality was a bit underplayed in the first one, but I appreciate that the author didn’t want to make a huge “deal” out of Darius coming out. The fact that this book opens with Darius being out and proud already was a nice surprise! I feel like Adib’s strengths as a writer were really amplified here, and many of the issues I had with the first book were toned down. I still found some of the Darius repetition and slang annoying, but it was nowhere near as bad here. I thought all the topics were handled extremely well in this book, and it felt very real. I’m also a sucker for a good love triangle, and I thought the ending was satisfying. I’m not sure if I need a sequel, but I maybe want one? 4.5/5 stars.

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