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A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi – Review

Welcome guys! Today, I bring to you my review of A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi. I read this over the weekend after a friend of mine kept recommending it to me. This was an honest, painful, and cute read.

Book: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Rating: ★★★★★

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.


Quote: “If the decision you’ve made has brought you closer to humanity, then you’ve done the right thing.”

*Shirin. I really loved Shirin’s character. She was strong, fierce, and unapologetic for her beliefs. It was painful to read about the racism and bigotry that she faced and it was sad to see her try to be so strong while still feeling so much pain inside.

*Her parents and Navid. I loved Shirin’s parents pride in their Persian heritage and all the food that they cooked, as well as the Persian sentences that they sprinkled through-out the story. I adored Navid and his bluntness and how he also embarrassed Shirin. I also loved his over-protectiveness and love for his sister.

*Story. I loved the message that Ms. Mafi was sending with this book. This is a book about acceptance, about not hurting other people because they have feelings as well. It’s a book about tolerance and about other people’s differences. There’s also a romance that was cute, though I didn’t really like Ocean.


Quote: “I wondered, for the very first time, if maybe I was doing this whole thing wrong. If maybe I’d allowed myself to be blinded by my own anger to the exclusion of all else. If maybe, just maybe, I’d been so determined not to be stereotyped that I’d begun to stereotype everyone around me.”

*Ocean. I didn’t really like Ocean. I don’t know, he just didn’t click with me. Maybe because he was so naive. But I thought the romance was still cute.


Quote: “I understood too well what it was like to feel like you were defined by one superficial thing-to feel like you would never escape the box people had put you in.”

Overall, I really enjoyed this. I loved the message that was being sent and Shirin was an amazing and strong character. I would recommend this and I really hope you enjoy it if you read it!

One sentence summary: A cute contemporary romance with an important message.

Overall, 4.5 stars rounded to 5

★★★★★

Have you read A Very Large of Expanse of Sea? What did you think? Have you read any other by Tahereh Mafi? Let’s chat in the comments!!

2 thoughts on “A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi – Review

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