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Book Review: A Very Large Expanse Of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

*I am reviewing this book which I was gifted for free by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. *
A Very Large Expanse of Sea
Title: A Very Large Expanse Of Sea
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3/5 stars
Book Summary:
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.

Book Review:

Like many people, I read the Shatter Me series in its heyday and although I was not the biggest fan, I still loved Tahereh Mafi's writing and wanted to read more by her. Enter A Very Large Expanse Of Sea. It had been getting lots of good reviews and the plot sounded right up my street so I decided to read it. I can safely say that I really enjoyed A Very Large Expanse of Sea and can't wait to see what Tahereh Mafi writes next. 

One of the reasons why I liked the book was obviously the writing. Mafi is such a great writer, her writing is lyrical and tells so much of the story itself. It flows so well and has Shirin's voice shine through. I think that it highlights Shirin as a character so much, with her sharp nature and she is often trying to protect herself. I think that this leads to a different main character that we often see in YA and I, therefore, thought that it was really well done. I do sometimes think that Shirin was a little bit cold at times and this did affect me to some extent. 

As well as Shirin I really enjoyed Ocean as a character and think that they complement each other really well. He was sensitive and compassionate and I think that their relationship helped Shirin and Ocean in their own separate ways which were nice. Their romance was also quite cute which is always nice for a YA book to have a good romance. 

I also think that Tahereh Mafi draws a really honest portrayal of what it was like to be a teenager after 9/11. This is something that Tahereh Mafi herself went through and can put on the page. I think that the issues are dealt with head-on and I respect her so much for writing about it. 

The Verdict:

A Very Large Expanse Of Sea is an honest and raw portrayal of what means to be a teenager in the 2000s. Tahereh Mafi is a great writer who will dominant YA for many years to come. 

Have you read A Very Large Expanse Of Sea? Did you like it? If not, do you want to? Let me know in the comments below. 


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