Summary: 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? (Via Goodreads.com)
Release Date: August 8th, 2017
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
The Authentics was a 2017 release that I was oblivious about until the week of its release. I stumbled upon a blurb from Adi Alsaid about The Authentics on Twitter and it intrigued me enough to request a copy from my local library. The Authentics follows an Iranian-American teen, Daria, who begins to struggle with her identity after she discovers some unexpected news about her heritage. The novel was absolutely mesmerizing, I highly recommend reading The Authentics whenever you have the ability to do so.
After finishing The Authentics, I felt that I learned a lot from it. I had never read a book about an Iranian-American before, so it was interesting to learn about their culture and the pride they take in their identity. I have never identified strongly with any particular culture or country, so it was refreshing to read about an individual that does. It was amazing to see the pride that Daria takes in her heritage and how impactful it was to learn that her heritage was not what she had always assumed it was.
Whenever I started The Authentics, I was nervous that I was not going to enjoy the novel because I did not initially like the writing style of Abdi and his characterization of Daria. It appeared that the writing style was going to make Daria the cliche annoying teenager. However, I was pleasantly surprised that after the first few chapters the writing style was able to seamlessly capture the challenges of being a teenager and Daria's identity crisis without anyone or anything being annoying. Since I am a teenager, I was able to identify with some of the challenges that Daria faced and the writing style actually represented them in a positive and relatable way. Many Young Adult novels tend to degrade the significance of particular teenage problems, but I am glad that Adbi was able to frame them in a positive light, unlike other YA authors. Some challenges seem to be the end of the world to us and authors should respect that, especially when they are supposedly writing for us.
I also enjoyed the relationships in The Authentics. Daria is a part of a group of friends who refer to themselves as The Authentics and they are a great support system for her and each other. While they are hesitant to reveal everything to each other, they are always there for each other and they genuinely care for one another. I also loved Daria's relationship with her family. While some of those relationships are strained, it a realistic portrayal and caused an interesting dynamic. I also enjoyed her venture into romance, it was an interesting relationship to say the least, but I am glad where they ended things.
The Authentics was a refreshing novel that dealt with ethnicity, identity, and family. I absolutely loved The Authentics and I am excited to read Adbi's past and upcoming works. I also plan to read other books featuring Iranian-Americans in the future. I highly recommend reading The Authentics, it was a fantastic novel that I hope to see more love for, I have barely seen anything posted about it on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. If you have read The Authentics, please let me know in the comments below what you thought of it and also let me know in the comments if you plan to add it to your TBR.