by Daniel Nayeri


A National Indie Bestseller
An NPR Best Book of the Year
A New York Times Best Book of the Year
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
A Booklist Editors' Choice
A BookPage Best Book of the Year
A NECBA Windows & Mirrors Selection
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year
A Best of the Year




"A modern masterpiece."—The New York Times Book Review


"Supple, sparkling and original." —The Wall Street Journal




"This book could change the world."—BookPage


"Like nothing else you've read or ever will read."—Linda Sue Park


"It hooks you right from the opening line."—NPR




★ "A modern epic."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review


★ "A rare treasure of a book." —Publishers Weekly, starred review


★ "A story that soars." —The Bulletin, starred review


★ "At once beautiful and painful."—School Library Journal, starred review


★ "Raises the literary bar in children's lit." —Booklist, starred review


★ "Poignant and powerful." —Foreword Reviews, starred review


★ "One of the most extraordinary books of the year." —BookPage, starred review


A sprawling, evocative, and groundbreaking autobiographical novel told in the unforgettable and hilarious voice of a young Iranian refugee. It is a powerfully layered novel that poses the questions: Who owns the truth? Who speaks it? Who believes it?


"A patchwork story is the shame of the refugee," Nayeri writes early in the novel. In an Oklahoman middle school, Khosrou (whom everyone calls Daniel) stands in front of a skeptical audience of classmates, telling the tales of his family's history, stretching back years, decades, and centuries. At the core is Daniel's story of how they became refugees—starting with his mother's vocal embrace of Christianity in a country that made such a thing a capital offense, and continuing through their midnight flight from the secret police, bribing their way onto a plane-to-anywhere. Anywhere becomes the sad, cement refugee camps of Italy, and then finally asylum in the U.S. Implementing a distinct literary style and challenging western narrative structures, Nayeri deftly weaves through stories of the long and beautiful history of his family in Iran, adding a richness of ancient tales and Persian folklore.


Like Scheherazade of One Thousand and One Nights in a hostile classroom, Daniel spins a tale to save his own life: to stake his claim to the truth. EVERYTHING SAD IS UNTRUE (a true story) is a tale of heartbreak and resilience and urges readers to speak their truth and be heard.

Everything Sad Is Untrue: (a true story)

SKU: 9781646140008
  • 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.

  • ISBN-13: 9781646140008
    Publisher: Levine Querido
    Publication date: 08/25/2020
    Pages: 368
    Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.30(d)
    Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

    Young Adult - Juvenile Fiction | Biographical | General
    Young Adult - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Multigenerational
    Young Adult - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emigration & Immigration
    Young Adult - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | Middle East

    -Family life    -Schools
    -Storytelling    -Refugees
    -Middle school students    -Iranians
    -Oklahoma    -Families
    -Autobiographical fiction

    - Cultural Region | Middle Eastern
    - Ethnic Orientation | Middle Eastern
    - Geographic Orientation | Oklahoma
    - Cultural Region | Mid-South
    - Cultural Region | South
    Expertly CuratedExpertly Curated Lists
    Michael L. Printz Award
    Middle Eastern Juvenile Fiction
    Top Juv Fiction