To be published on August 8, 2017
by Balzer and Bray
Synopsis adapted from Goodreads: Daria Esfandyar is Iranian-American and proud of her heritage. 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. As everything in her life is spinning out of control—can she figure out how to stay true to herself?
Hooray for another YA coming-of-age story featuring diverse characters! Recently I’ve also read and loved Saints and Misfits, That Thing We Call a Heart and now … The Authentics. These three books all feature relatable and engaging protagonists who have close relationships with their families and all three explore issues of cultural identity and conformity.
Daria, who is Iranian-American, is assigned a genealogy project for school. She chafes at the cultural expectations of female beauty in “Tehrangeles” and has a group of friends who call themselves the Authentics to distinguish themselves from the fakeness at their high school.
When Daria, who in some ways has never felt she fits in to her family or her community, discovers a secret that her parents have been keeping, her ongoing quest to figure out who she is and where she fits in takes a very unexpected detour.
At fifteen, Daria is a character who seems on the younger side of YA, but she’s smart and funny and I know a lot of YA readers will relate to her. I loved her family and the way her aunt, her mom and other community members were all very different representations of Iranian-American women. All in all, The Authentics is a story that makes some interesting points about family, identity, and culturally-specific ideals of female beauty. Without spoilers, I’ll just say there were issues I wished the book had gone into a little more, but I still highly recommend it.
Have you read this or any great YA coming-of-age stories recently?