Very Large Expanse of Sea – Read It and Rate It

A Very Large Expanse of Sea
by Tahereh Mafi
Historical Fiction
Realistic Fiction

Review #1
* * * * Stars (Great!)
“A Very Large Expanse of Sea” tells the story of a teenage Muslim American girl dealing with racism and Islamophobia after 9/11. The story follows the protagonist, Shirin, and takes place in 2002. Shirin is tired of being stereotyped and is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She endures many comments as a result of her race, religion, and the hijab she wears every day. As an escape from the troubles of the world, Shirin spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother. Shirin’s world turns upsidedown when she meets Ocean James. He is one of the few people who truly tries to get to know her. This terrifies Shirin. Will she be able to handle the racist comments coming at her? Will her romance with Ocean last? Read the book to find out!

Shirin is a compelling protagonist since she is vulnerable and fierce at the same time. My favorite part about her was her love for break-dancing. The romance between Shirin and Ocean is beautifully woven into the story. The conflict and tension during the time after 9/11 make this novel even more interesting. This book is exceptional – Mafi is not afraid to cover topics like racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and other harsh issues during 9/11. Mafi’s writing is raw, capturing the intricate emotions of a teenager caught between her identity and the world’s perception of her. If you want a book that will stick with you after you close it, read “A Very Large Expanse of Sea.”

For high school teens.

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