The Authentics

288p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062486462.
Gr 9 Up—When a DNA test shows that Daria, proud Iranian American, isn't Iranian at all, a search for her identity leads all kinds of unexpected places. Daria keeps her discovery a secret while seeking out her birth mother and butting heads with her mother over her Sweet 16. None of her closest friends know how to help. While the voices of underrepresented populations are welcome and well wrought, the same cannot be said for the plotting of this novel. The first half is enjoyable, but the book never recovers from an unearned and uncharacteristic dramatic moment of rebellion from the main character. The rest of Daria's clique, who call themselves the Authentics, are well characterized, and two of the girl members of the group bring a different dynamic to their interactions. The boy, however, with his friend zone plot, is more two-dimensional, and while the conflict with the pretty girl former-friend is culturally specific, it feels clichéd.
VERDICT Charming but ultimately flawed. Worth adding to large collections, but not a priority buy.

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