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The Authentics
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The Authentics
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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...
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...
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Description-

  • 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?

About the Author-

  • Abdi Nazemian is the author of The Authentics. His novel The Walk-In Closet won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Debut Fiction. His screenwriting credits include the films The Artist's Wife, The Quiet, and Menendez: Blood Brothers, as well as the NBC television series The Village. He has been an executive producer and associate producer on numerous films, including Call Me by Your Name, Little Woods, The House of Tomorrow, and Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood. He lives in Los Angeles with his fiancé and two children. Find him online at www.abdaddy.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 12, 2017
    What begins as an English class assignment transforms into a messy but fulfilling journey of self-discovery for a Beverly Hills teen in this first YA title from screenwriter and novelist Nazemian (The Walk-in Closet). The project is simple: the students must present the stories of how they got to where they are today, but 15-year-old Daria Esfandyar gets startling results from a genealogy test she takes with her friends, learning that she is half Mexican and not fully Iranian as she thought. Struggling with her sense of self after determining that she was adopted, Daria buries the hurt and betrayal she feels toward her parents and sets out to find her biological mother. She finds the woman’s stepson first and romantic sparks fly. Nazemian raises thought-provoking questions about what “authenticity” means; Daria and her friends, aka the Authentics, pride themselves on keeping it real. Daria’s struggles will resonate with readers who have felt like they don’t know where they belong or who they want to be, and certainly with the children of immigrants who feel caught between worlds. Ages 13–up. Agent: Mitchell Waters, Curtis Brown.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from June 15, 2017
    Fifteen-year-old Daria is determined to fight against her mother's party-planning for the extravagant Sweet 16 she doesn't want, but the battle she is not prepared for comes when she discovers family secrets that turn her world upside down. Daria is proud of her Iranian culture but wants no part of the posh Beverly Hills Persian community. She finds solace with the Authentics, her small, diverse group of friends who have proven to her that they are real, and she nurses resentment toward the Nose Jobs, a group of pretentious Persian princesses led by her former best friend, Heidi. When Daria begins researching her family history for a school project, she makes some unexpected discoveries that challenge her senses of herself and her family. She loses trust in her parents and turns to her friends, but even they fall short of her standards of complete honesty. Having fallen for a Mexican guy her parents would never approve of adds excitement and romance but also brings her crisis to a boiling point. The ferociously authentic Daria is a memorable protagonist, narrating in a trenchant, self-aware past tense that carries readers through her personal cultural minefield. Her gay brother and his husband are but one small detail that celebrates the complexity of and diversity within modern American Islam. Full of surprises both cultural and emotional, and narrated in the strong voice of a memorable protagonist, this is a tale of integrity, identity, family, love, and sacrifice that is sure to satisfy. (Fiction. 11-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    August 1, 2017

    Gr 9 Up-When a DNA test shows that Daria, proud Iranian American, isn't Iranian at all, a search for her identity leads all kinds of unexpected places. Daria keeps her discovery a secret while seeking out her birth mother and butting heads with her mother over her Sweet 16. None of her closest friends know how to help. While the voices of underrepresented populations are welcome and well wrought, the same cannot be said for the plotting of this novel. The first half is enjoyable, but the book never recovers from an unearned and uncharacteristic dramatic moment of rebellion from the main character. The rest of Daria's clique, who call themselves the Authentics, are well characterized, and two of the girl members of the group bring a different dynamic to their interactions. The boy, however, with his friend zone plot, is more two-dimensional, and while the conflict with the pretty girl former-friend is culturally specific, it feels cliched. VERDICT Charming but ultimately flawed. Worth adding to large collections, but not a priority buy.-L. Lee Butler, Hart Middle School, Washington, DC

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from June 1, 2017
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* Daria despises the pretenses of the so-called Beverly Hills Persian princesses, which include nose jobs, lavish sweet sixteen parties, and ignoring the current state of Iran. That's why Daria and her friends call themselves the Authentics. Daria is proud to own her Iranian heritage, just as the other Authentics embrace their own unique identities. Things begin to unravel when Daria receives the results from a DNA kit that reveal she is actually half Middle Eastern and half Mexican. Dismayed, Daria secretly begins an investigation to find her birth parents. In the sequence of surprises along the way, Daria continually reevaluates the meaning of identity and authenticity. Author Nazemian weaves a network of diverse supporting characters that further explore these themes, such as Daria's older brother and his Chinese American husband, who are expecting their first child, and Daria's birth mother's attractive stepson. Nazemian keeps it all real by focusing on the strength of emotional bonds that transcend all external differences. Daria's mother, for example, could easily be a Persian princess stereotype, but she is ecstatic about her gay son and the arrival of her first grandchild. As with the novels of Benjamin Alire Saenz or Randa Abdel-Fattah, Daria's thought-provoking journey will resonate with teen readers of all backgrounds.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

  • Booklist (starred review) "As with the novels of Benjamin Alire Saenz or Randa Abdel-Fattah, Daria's thought-provoking journey will resonate with teen readers of all backgrounds."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "The ferociously authentic Daria is a memorable protagonist"
  • Melissa de la Cruz, New York Times bestselling author "A beautiful and compelling story about identity, race, and family love. A must read in an age where #weneeddiversebooks more than ever."
  • Adi Alsaid, author of Let's Get Lost and Never Always Sometimes "A charming and touching examination of everything that makes us who we are."
  • Publishers Weekly "Will resonate with readers who have felt like they don't know where they belong or who they want to be, and certainly with the children of immigrants who feel caught between worlds."
  • Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) "Surprisingly powerful...will appeal to any reader searching for identity and belonging, particularly those whose lives include two different cultures."

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