ARC Review: A Very Large Expanse

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A Very Large Expanse Of Sea

Author: Tahereh Mafi // Published: October 16, 2018



It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.






Buddy read with Hamad


“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.”


Tahereh Mafi has had a special place in my heart ever since the Shatter Me series. When I heard about this book coming out I was so over the moon. A story about the life of a Muslim girl a year after 9/11. I’m going to probably pour my heart and soul into this review.

Islamophobia has always been something that scared me. I’ve always been afraid of what others might think about me. I live in a country where I can wear my Hijab (Headscarf) and live comfortably. Where I’m not questioned about why I’m wearing that scarf around my head. I can wear what makes me happy, and It’s completely my choice. I’ve been to only one country where people seemed racist towards me, and although it wasnt a nice feeling, it was nothing compared to what others have been through.

I quite enjoyed the book. The beginning was more explaining Shirin’s life so far. Including the many times she moved schools and what her life was like with the fact that she wore the Hijab. The comments that people made towards her hurt. I couldn’t fathom being in her place and being called names like that. I highly doubt I’d be able to stay as strong as she was in this book. What I noticed most is the fact that all the hate that she was so used to getting just made her angry. Constantly. She wouldn’t so much as give anyone a chance. This upset me a little bit. She closed herself off because she was so used to the usual questions and assumptions. And she spent a lot of her school life alone.

I loved the idea of the breakdancing! I just wish there was more focus on it in the book. It was considered Shirin’s distraction. Whenever school life got too hard there was always breakdancing to go back to. I would have loved to read more about it. I loved that it proved that even if a girl wears a Hijab it doesn’t stop her from pursuing something that she is passionate about.

I loved Shirin’s brother, Navid and his friends. I loved how involved her brother was in her life. That he included her in his activities even if most of them were with his friends. He didn’t feel embarrassed about having her around. He stood up for her a lot of the time. His friends included.

One thing that I didn’t find necessary was the romantic relationship. I wasn’t interested in it at all. Ocean was great and everything but I just wasn’t invested (I did like his name though) I spent a while thinking that the book was an actual autobiography. It wasn’t one exactly. Was more of a contemporary type story (Sammira understood my predicament 😂) The Islam rep was a bit strange and off for me. Everything was so different than the way I was raised and used to. It was still a really great read though. I loved that there was someone I could sort of relate to. Someone else who experienced a similar situation. Someone that knew what it was like to be discriminated against.

I definitely do not regret reading this. I’m still super happy I got to read this early. I just really want to see what other readers think about this book.






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Tahereh Mafi is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Shatter Meseries. She was born in a small city somewhere in Connecticut and currently resides in Santa Monica, California with her husband, fellow author Ransom Riggs. She can usually be found over-caffeinated and stuck in a book. Shatter Me is her first series, with television rights optioned by ABC Signature Studios; Furthermore, her first middle grade novel, is on shelves now, and Whichwood, its darker companion, will be on shelves November 14, 2017.



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Have you added A Very Large Expanse Of Sea to your TBR?


5 thoughts on “ARC Review: A Very Large Expanse

  1. Blessedly Bookish says:

    I’ve been intrigued by this book since the beginning. I don’t usually reach for contemporary books and when I do they seem to be fluffy romances to get me out of a book slump, however this is such a unique subject matter.


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