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?
What begins as an English class assignment transforms into a messy but fulfilling journey of self-discovery for a Beverly Hills teen in this first YA title from screenwriter and novelist Nazemian (The Walk-in Closet). The project is simple: the students must present the stories of how they got to where they are today, but 15-year-old Daria Esfandyar gets startling results from a genealogy test she takes with her friends, learning that she is half Mexican and not fully Iranian as she thought. Struggling with her sense of self after determining that she was adopted, Daria buries the hurt and betrayal she feels toward her parents and sets out to find her biological mother. She finds the woman's stepson first and romantic sparks fly. Nazemian raises thought-provoking questions about what "authenticity" means; Daria and her friends, aka the Authentics, pride themselves on keeping it real. Daria's struggles will resonate with readers who have felt like they don't know where they belong or who they want to be, and certainly with the children of immigrants who feel caught between worlds. Ages 13 up.