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YA Review: Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram

Title: Darius the Great Deserves Better

Author: Adib Khorram

Year Published: 2020

Category: YA fiction (LGBTQ)
Pages: 352
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map)USA (OR)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Darius Kellner is having a bit of a year. Since his trip to Iran, 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, varsity soccer practices, and an internship at his favorite tea shop, things are falling into place.

Then, of course, everything changes. Darius's grandmothers are in town for a long visit, and Darius can't tell whether they even like him. The internship is not going according to plan, Sohrab isn't answering Darius's calls, and Dad is far away on business. And Darius is sure he really likes Landon . . . but he's also been hanging out with Chip Cusumano, former bully and current soccer teammate--and well, maybe he's not so sure about anything after all.

Darius was just starting to feel okay, like he finally knew what it meant to be Darius Kellner. But maybe okay isn't good enough. Maybe Darius deserves better. 
Review: I was pleased to see that a second Darius book had come out a few months ago, but somehow it has sat on my TBR shelf since then. I am glad I finally read it because I really enjoyed the first book, Darius the Great is Not Okay.

It took me a bit to get into this book, but I think that was poor timing on my part. I started it the day I drove to Los Angeles (2 hours away) to pick up my daughter at the airport so I wasn't really focused on reading. And I read less when my daughter is home. But, today I devoted time to this book and finished most of it over just a few hours. It was nice to read about Darius again.

Darius is in a better place in this book having come out to himself and his family, he's playing soccer, he's found a new best friend, a boyfriend, and a job that he likes at a tea shop. The tea. It's a big deal in this book. They make tea, drink tea, sell tea, do tea tastings, and more. I'm not a tea drinker, but it almost made me want to be.

Mental health plays an important role in this book as it did in the first and it is handled with care and respect. The characters acknowledge the depression, talk to one another about it, and handle it the best they can in the moment. Darius also talks about sex (is he ready? Does he want it?), friendship, dating, bullying, helping his little sister, and his ability to doubt himself. 

This book isn't plot driven and normally that would bother me, but Darius is a character that I like spending time with and seeing him figure life out is a great read.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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