BLOG TOUR: Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Adib Khorram (August 28, 2018)

I let Dad hold me, like that tiny potato-sack version of myself, sleeping on his chest when I was a baby.

“You’re okay,” he murmured.

“No. I’m not.”

“I know.” He rubbed my back up and down. “It’s okay not to be okay.”

This book has been on the top of my TBR for months. So when Penguin Teen contacted me about being a part of the official blog, I jumped at the chance. DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY has everything: a diverse main character, an accurate description and portrayal of mental illness, and realistic family dynamics.


The 411: The son of a Persian woman and a Caucasian man, Darius has never felt like he belonged. He doesn’t speak Farsi. He’s not athletic or fit enough to please his seemingly alpha-male father. The only thing he appears to have in common with him is their daily ritual of taking their medication for depression. Darius would rather master the perfect pot of tea than be the captain of the football team and because of this, he feels even more isolated from his family, his school, and his community.  When his maternal grandfather’s health begins to decline, Darius’ family makes the  trip to Iran to visit before he passes. It’s there where he meets, Sohrab, the teenage neighbor to his grandparents. Soon, they’re spending their days together, playing soccer, eating faludeh, and talking for hours on a secret rooftop overlooking the city’s skyline. Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab.


DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY tackles a bunch of big issues: the stigma of mental illness, racism, fatphobia, sexual identity…and they’re all covered with a subtlety that feels perfected over the years vs. a debut novel. Sometimes books need to hit you over the head with the message and sometimes the strength of the moral is in the quiet. And that’s where DARIUS lives.

Darius’ struggle with the feeling of not belonging felt overwhelmingly real and personal. I am not biracial, but an international adoptee who grew up in a largely white area and has often felt the sting of not belonging or being in between. Sohrab and Darius’ friendship melted my little heart. I loved seeing Darius feel a part of something for the first time. A place where he intrinsically fit in just because of the person he is. I hope everyone finds their Sohrab. And I hope that everyone has their moment when they are Darioush to someone.

DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY is such a feel-good novel that I have a feeling will touch hearts everywhere. I’m incredibly excited to see where Khorram goes from here. We need more Dariuses in our lives.


Adib Khorram is an author, a graphic designer, and a tea enthusiast. If he’s not writing (or at his day job), you can probably find him trying to get his 100 yard Freestyle (SCY) under a minute, or learning to do a Lutz Jump. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri. This is his first novel.

Thank you Penguin Teen for my copy of DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY and the bag of Earl Grey Tea—it was the perfect accompaniment to this heartwarming novel.

BLOG TOUR: Star-Touched Stories, Roshani Chokshi (August 7, 2018)

When you look up “beautiful writing” in the dictionary (just go with it…), there’s just a picture of Roshani Chokshi. I have read all of Roshani’s books and there’s something about her writing voice that lends itself so well to the fantasy genre. The way she introduces the world is always just perfectly lyrical and descriptive and flowy and I could wax-poetic all day.

But don’t just take my word for it—keep reading for a brief synopsis and exclusive excerpt from STAR-TOUCHED STORIES.


The 411: STAR-TOUCHED STORIES is a collection of three short stories set in the universe of THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN and A CROWN OF WISHES.

Death and Night: He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold: Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Gauri and Vikram’s new reign presents itself, she will have to battle her insecurities and maybe, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword: There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?


ExCLUSIVE EXcerpt

Night’s dance thrummed with purpose. Her grace sharpened into a lathe, and with it she sculpted the promise of tomorrow from nothing but shadows. She was potential incarnate. When she shaped shadows to every sleep-creased fold in the earth, she was balancing time, wiping slates clean, allowing any beginning to take shape. When she frosted night over the world, dawn whispered the lyrics of every tomorrow: here is a thing not yet started, here is a thing of magic. My own halfhearted attempts of invention paled before her. She was the beginning of all ideas.

And before her, I was humbled.

Her laughter was still ringing in my ears when I arrived back to the palace. Gupta was meditating upside down and cracked open an eye when he saw me.

“Oh no,” he said, paling. “Not a single insult? My sherwani jacket is practically around my head.”

“I can see that.”

My hounds ran up to me, snuffling my palms with bemused expressions. I scratched their ears absentmindedly.

“What did she do to you?”

She had laughed at me. And made me laugh at myself. And she had been freely honest. People always threw their honesty and last secrets at me, as if by expelling them in a dying breath, they could shorten their time in the less savory parts of my kingdom. But she had given her honesty without expectation. And her honesty was a gift.


About the author

ROSHANI CHOKSHI is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes, and Aru Shah and the End of Time. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. Her short story, “The Star Maiden,” was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.


Thank you so much to St. Martin’s Press for including me on the blog tour and for my galley.