Title: The Authentics
Author: Abdi Nazemian
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Imprint: Balzer + Bray
Date published: August 8, 2017
Page Count: 299
A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: The Authentics is a fresh, funny, and insightful novel about culture, love, and family—the kind we are born into and the ones we create.
Daria Esfandyar is Iranian-American and proud of her heritage, unlike some of the “Nose Jobs” in the clique led by her former best friend, Heidi Javadi. Daria and her friends call themselves the Authentics, because they pride themselves on always keeping it real.
But in the course of researching a school project, Daria learns something shocking about her past, which launches her on a journey of self-discovery. It seems everyone is keeping secrets. And it’s getting harder to know who she even is any longer.
With infighting among the Authentics, her mother planning an over-the-top sweet sixteen party, and a romance that should be totally off limits, Daria doesn’t have time for this identity crisis. As everything in her life is spinning out of control—can she figure out how to stay true to herself?
– MY REVIEW –
This book’s lovely cover is, of course, the first thing which caught my eye! I really enjoy pastels, and when you add in some flowers (roses in particular), I’m usually sold. The cover really appealed to me, and drew me in enough to read the synopsis! And it was the synopsis which then convinced me, because this sounded very much like a book I had never read before!
If you have been following me for a while, you will know that I try to read as many diverse books as possible. I don’t do this simply for the sake of reading diverse books. Or because it’s a trend or anything. I read diverse books because I genuinely want to absorb as many different types of stories as possible, and because I believe that all voices have the right to be heard! I’m also very tired of the dominance of white characters in books. It’s not a realistic representation of the real world.
Another main thing which drew me to The Authentics is that it’s told from the perspective of an Iranian (or Iranian-American, if you want to be exact) character! I realized that I’d never read anything about or narrated by an Iranian (whether living in Iran or not) before, and I was really shocked and ashamed of myself. I like to learn and experience as many perspectives and cultures as possible, and the fact that I know almost nothing about Iran or its people is shameful for me.
For example, I did not know that Iranians used to be Persian? Or are Persian? See, I still don’t really understand it. But maybe it’s similar to how Romanians used to be Wallachians? Anyway, I didn’t know there was even a connection between the two words, and that was quite embarrassing.
I really enjoyed reading about Daria, her friends, and her family dynamic. While I did not really connect with Daria, I still enjoyed her interactions with others, and again, found it very interesting to read about how an Iranian-American might experience high school in America. I for one, really hated high school and am quite glad that those years are behind me, so I did really feel for Daria when she encountered class presentations, or was being humiliated by some of her peers. Reading about Daria and her family, as well as their relations to other Iranians in Los Angeles, was also quite eye-opening!
And due to being Romanian and am immigrant myself, I definitely saw some parallels between Iranian and Romanian social gatherings. For us, the whole respecting your elders is definitely a thing as well. Having to interact with other Romanians in the city, whether you like them or not simply because they are your fellow country people is also important (to my parents). I think that I felt the closest to Daria when it came to these things, because I have adopted the North American way of thinking, where if someone bothers me or is being cruel or hateful, I will cut them out of my life, whether they are Romanian (or even blood relations) or not!
I really enjoyed Nazemian’s writing, as well as his pacing! The writing pulled me right in, and even if certain parts of the book were a little less interesting for me, Nazemian’s turns of phrase, and the manner in which he puts thing, kept me reading. I guess I could say that I really enjoyed his use of language! The plot also kept me intrigued and wanting to keep reading (even when I went into a bit of a reading slump). Overall, I will definitely agree with whoever wrote the little blurb at the beginning of the synopsis in that The Authentics truly is a “fresh, funny, and insightful novel about culture, love, and family—the kind we are born into and the ones we create.”
– ABOUT THE AUTHOR –
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THANK YOU FOR READING MY REVIEW! HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT DID YOU THINK? AND IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET, DO YOU WANT TO, OR NOT? HOW COME? LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!