Kirkus gave Abdi’s YA debut novel THE AUTHENTICS a starred review. Read it here, or below:
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)