The Authentics

Finished The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian.  I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

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?”

I wanted to love this book, and there are a lot of great things here.  I love Daria’s heritage and the way that she identifies herself proudly as part of that heritage.  I love her relationship with her parents (she and her dad get along so well; she and her mom have a more contentious relationship) and that she has a group of friends who feel more like family.  (I am less enamored of the fact that they call themselves “The Authentics,” as in they actually have named their group of friends and it is something they all say about themselves as a group and they say it OUT LOUD. But sure, fine.  I was probably super pretentious as a teenager, too.)

SPOILERS BELOW:

She learns that she’s adopted, which throws her life into complete upheaval.  It’s so interesting and it means that basically her entire life is not what she thought.  Her parents aren’t her parents and (really just as importantly) her culture isn’t her culture.  I would’ve loved a book that focused on these things.  That is important and real and messy and honest.

Here’s what the book focused on: her birth mom has a stepson and Daria and Enrique briefly date.

NOT EVERY BOOK HAS TO HAVE A LOVE STORY. (And also, speaking as an adopted person but not necessarily for every single adopted person, I call absolute shenanigans on the fact that, when she first meets Enrique, she tells him that his stepmom is her biological mom but barely talks to him about her. I will tell you now that if I had first met a member of my birth mom’s family before contacting her, I would’ve pumped them for information like nobody’s business but also never said exactly who I was and what my relationship was.  THAT IS HOW YOU RUIN LIVES AND MAKE SURE THE BIOLOGICAL FAMILY HATES YOU.)

This is not a horrible book at all but it was not for me.

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