Click here for the full story by Allie Oakes. Photographed Exclusively for A&U by Tommy Wu.
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Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?Abdi: This is the story I’ve been wanting to tell since I started writing because it’s the most personal story I can think of, and one I don’t feel has ever been told. It’s about the fear and shame I felt as a queer immigrant kid who moved to the U.S. at the height of this country’s AIDS epidemic. And it’s also the story of the way I was able to overcome that fear and shame thanks to people who allowed me to see and accept myself for the first time. I was inspired to write this in honor of so many artists, activists and friends who have allowed me to have the life I have now. ACT UP inspired me. Madonna inspired me. All the friends and teachers who accepted me as a teen
Click here for full review. Text below:Like a Love Story isn’t the first YA to touch on the AIDS Crisis, as readers of David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing,
Check out the Teen Readers Council review here, or read below: THE AUTHENTICS by Abdi Nazemian is a powerful story of identity, self-discovery and friendship. Protagonist Daria Esfandyar and her three best friends call themselves “the Authentics” because, unlike everyone else in their Beverly Hills high school, they know who they are and don’t try to hide it. Daria, for one, is incredibly proud of her Iranian American heritage. But after being assigned a genealogy project at school, Daria realizes that she may not be as authentic as she once thought. As she begins to discover who she really is, Daria is forced to question everything she once thought was true about her family, her friends, and herself. I loved reading about the interactions between Daria and her friends as she navigates through this tumultuous time in her life. Her friends are all compassionate and supportive, but also deeply flawed,