Everything Sad Is Untrue: (a true story) (Hardcover)

Staff Pick Badge
Everything Sad Is Untrue: (a true story) Cover Image
Usually Ships in 2-7 Days

Staff Reviews

Bookseller: Tim
Title: Everything Sad Is Untrue: (a true story)

Comments: "[Sam] gasped: ‘Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue?..."

What a beautiful blurring of the lines between memoir and mythology! The author is telling you his actual life story. But right now he's only eleven, and trying to convince his classmates (and you!) that he really is descended from kings and heroes in Persian folklore. They really did (just barely!) escape the Iranian secret police to come to Oklahoma. The funny and fantastical narration, full of childlike sincerity, pathos, and comedy, feels like a cross between "The Princess Bride" by William Goldman, "Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights" by Salman Rushdie, and, of course...Scheherazade telling her tales in "1001 Nights"

This is my favorite book I've read in 2020, hands down.

— From Tim


At the front of a middle school classroom in Oklahoma, a boy named Khosrou (whom everyone calls "Daniel") stands, trying to tell a story. His story. But no one believes a word he says. To them he is a dark-skinned, hairy-armed boy with a big butt whose lunch smells funny; who makes things up and talks about poop too much.

But Khosrou's stories, stretching back years, and decades, and centuries, are beautiful, and terrifying, from the moment his family fled Iran in the middle of the night with the secret police moments behind them, back to the sad, cement refugee camps of Italy.and further back to the fields near the river Aras, where rain-soaked flowers bled red like the yolk of sunset burst over everything, and further back still to the Jasmine-scented city of Isfahan.

We bounce between a school bus of kids armed with paper clip missiles and spitballs to the heroines and heroes of Khosrou's family's past, who ate pastries that made people weep and cry "Akh, Tamar!" and touched carpets woven with precious gems.

Like Scheherazade in a hostile classroom, Daniel weaves a tale to save his own life: to stake his claim to the truth. And it is (a true story).

It is Daniel's.

About the Author

Daniel Nayeri was born in Iran and spent a couple of years as a refugee before immigrating to Oklahoma at age eight with his family. He is the publisher of Odd Dot, an imprint of Macmillan, making him one of the youngest publishers in the industry. He has served on the CBC diversity committee and the CBC panel committee.

Praise For…

"A distinctive voice. A rare treasure of a book." -Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A story that soars. Readers will be transported."-The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

"Like nothing else you've read or ever will read."-Newbery Medalist, Linda Sue Park

"Poignant and powerful. A story of heartbreak and resilience." -Foreward Reviews, starred review

"A modern epic." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

? "A journey as intimate as it is epic. A remarkable work that raises the literary bar in children's lit."-Booklist, starred review

? "At once beautiful and painful, this timely story is highly recommended for middle grade readers."-School Library Journal, starred review

? "One of the most extraordinary books of the year."-BookPage

Product Details
ISBN: 9781646140008
ISBN-10: 1646140001
Publisher: Levine Querido
Publication Date: August 25th, 2020
Pages: 368