A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

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ARC kindly provided by Edelweiss and HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

Tahereh Mafi has a special place in my heart ever since I first read The Shatter Me series. So when I heard about this book coming out I was so over the moon. It’s a story about the life of a Muslim girl a year after 9/11. The book was beautiful and heartbreaking. I was glued to the pages this book was so good ! It’s a really quick read, and Tahareh’s prose is so whimsical and poetic, in a different way than Shatter Me, but just as beautiful. Tahareh says this book is the most personal story shes written putting a lot of herself into it.

This story takes place in 2002, a year after the horrors of 9/11. This story follows Shirin, a sixteen year old, Muslim girl born in America who has always wears her hijab.She is in her sixth high school, because her family moves around a lot. Her father always working towards getting a better paying job,works his way towards that goal by excepting better offers in different cities.She is faced with a lot of racism,including actual assaults against her. She has had enough with the world and tries to blend into the background.She tries to put on a brave face, but these words hurt her deeply.

“I was stuck in another small town, trapped in another universe populated by the kind of people who’d only ever seen faces like mine on their evening news, and I hated it.”

Her life starts to drastically change when she meets Ocean, a boy who is genuinely kind to her. Ocean is super sweet,and I loved him to pieces. He is sensitive and kind, which is a nice change for a male character in YA. He is swoonworthy and adorable, he stands up for Shirin and doesn’t care about societies opinion about her. The towns prejudices, don’t sway his feelings for her, he fights hard for there relationship.

This book made me feel so many different emotions. Anger from the extremely cruelty Shirin has to face on a daily basis, and the racism directly towards her. To feel joy and hopeful for her as she spends more time with Ocean, to be town a lot of heartbreak again. I wanted to reach into the book, hug Shirin and tell her everything will get better. This is a hard book to read, because of all the tough subject matter. It is also a powerful read that I think everyone should pick up and read.

“It gives the bullies all the power. It would mean they’d succeeded at making me feel like who I was and what I believed in was something to be ashamed of.”

Overall this book was amazing, heartbreaking, and really important.Read this book. I swear you won’t regret it.I loved this book!


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