BookBrowse has a new look! Learn more about the update here.

Reviews of A Good Country by Laleh Khadivi

A Good Country by Laleh Khadivi

A Good Country

by Laleh Khadivi
  • Critics' Opinion:
  • Readers' Opinion:
  •  Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
  • May 23, 2017
  • Paperback:
  • Sep 2018
  • Rate this book

  • Buy This Book

About This Book

Book Summary

A timely novel about the radicalization of a Muslim teen in California - about where identity truly lies, and how we find it.

Laguna Beach, California, 2010. Alireza Courdee, a fourteen-year-old straight-A student and chemistry whiz, takes his first hit of pot. In as long as it takes to inhale and exhale, he is transformed from the high-achieving son of Iranian immigrants into a happy-go-lucky stoner. He loses his virginity, takes up surfing, and sneaks away to all-night raves. For the first time, Reza - now Rez - feels like an American teen. Life is smooth; even lying to his strict parents comes easily.

But then he changes again, falling out with the bad boy surfers and in with a group of kids more awake to the world around them, who share his background, and whose ideas fill him with a very different sense of purpose. Within a year, Reza and his girlfriend are making their way to Syria to be part of a Muslim nation rising from the ashes of the civil war.

Timely, nuanced, and emotionally forceful, A Good Country is a gorgeous meditation on modern life, religious radicalization, and a young man caught among vastly different worlds. What we are left with at the dramatic end is not an assessment of good or evil, east versus west, but a lingering question that applies to all modern souls: Do we decide how to live, or is our life decided for us?



1
Laguna Beach, California, Fall 2011



They told him it was the best, there was nothing better. After they started, at twelve and thirteen and fourteen, his friends tried to convince him to try it. Rez, dude, they'd say, it's no big deal. You don't puke. You don't pass out. No one can even tell. It's like daydreaming, like that second just before you fall asleep, but for hours, they said, for the whole of eighth grade, their eyes glazed with the shine of the newly converted, and by tenth grade they gave up and now, start of junior year, it was habit to make fun of him every time there was occasion, every time they circled up to light and puff and smoke, these friends.

If he wanted, it could have happened last night, or even two weeks ago when Johnson's parents were in L.A. at an industry party and Johnson opened his house to anyone with a six-pack or a girl or a bag of weed. At midnight Rez found them in the laundry room, empty beer bottles and half-...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Readers who seek to understand another person's life experience – whether similar or vastly different to their own – will not be disappointed in A Good Country, and they may find their world view is changed and challenged by this powerful story too...continued

Full Review (506 words)

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Kate Braithwaite).

Media Reviews

Booklist
Starred Review. Engrossing ... Khadivi's carefully crafted, masterful novel illustrates how the perfect storm of teenage cruelty, racism, and tragedy can create an extremist.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. A brilliant novel about a young man's reckoning with a flawed and violent world.

Library Journal
Starred Review. Brilliantly channeling the minds of angst-filled teenagers with barely formed worldviews who seesaw between brash self-confidence and deflating insecurities, Whiting and Pushcart Prize winner Khadivi (The Walking) has written an important, smart, timely novel that rivals such standouts as Karan Mahajan's The Association of Small Bombs or Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Publishers Weekly
This is a heartbreaking coming-of-age story about the world we live in now.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book



Where Do Terrorists in the US Come From?

As detailed in Lalehi Kadivi's novel, A Good Country, the Boston Marathon Bombing took place on April 15, 2013. Three people were killed and over 260 others were injured including at least 16 who lost limbs. Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tzarnaev, two brothers aged 24 and 19, had manufactured home made bombs contained in pressure cookers which exploded near the marathon finish line. Tamerlan died in the subsequent manhunt, but his younger brother Dzhokhar was tried for his part in the atrocity and has been sentenced to death by lethal injection. Both brothers originate from the Chechnian region of Russia and immigrated to the United States as children in 2002. Their family claimed political asylum.

Along with this very real terrorist attack, ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked A Good Country, try these:

  • Your House Will Pay jacket

    Your House Will Pay

    by Steph Cha

    Published 2020

    About this book

    In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it's been since the unrest of the early 1990s.

  • The Parking Lot Attendant jacket

    The Parking Lot Attendant

    by Nafkote Tamirat

    Published 2019

    About this book

    A mesmerizing, indelible coming-of-age story about a girl in Boston's tightly-knit Ethiopian community who falls under the spell of a charismatic hustler out to change the world

We have 8 read-alikes for A Good Country, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start
discovering exceptional books!
Find Out More

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman and a Thief
    A Gentleman and a Thief
    by Dean Jobb
    In the Roaring Twenties—an era known for its flash and glamour as well as its gangsters and ...
  • Book Jacket: Early Sobrieties
    Early Sobrieties
    by Michael Deagler
    Dennis Monk is sober now, and he expects some applause. Or at least some recognition that he's ...
  • Book Jacket: The Coin
    The Coin
    by Yasmin Zaher
    A popular choice for book jackets in recent years, perhaps especially in the historical fiction ...
  • Book Jacket: The Night of Baba Yaga
    The Night of Baba Yaga
    by Akira Otani, Sam Bett
    When Yoriko Shindo gets into a brawl on a busy street in 1970s Tokyo, she has no idea what the ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
The 1619 Project
by Nikole Hannah-Jones
An impactful expansion of groundbreaking journalism, The 1619 Project offers a revealing vision of America's past and present.
Book Jacket
Lady Tan's Circle of Women
by Lisa See
Lisa See's latest historical novel, inspired by the true story of a woman physician from 15th-century China.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Very Long, Very Strange Life of Isaac Dahl
    by Bart Yates

    A saga spanning 12 significant days across nearly 100 years in the life of a single man.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

L T C O of the B

and be entered to win..

Win This Book
Win Smothermoss

Smothermoss by Alisa Alering

A haunting, imaginative, and twisting tale of two sisters and the menacing, unexplained forces that threaten them and their rural mountain community.

Enter