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!!

I Found You by Lisa Jewell – Review

Welcome back friends. It’s Monday, and today I bring to you my review of I Found You by Lisa Jewell. I finished this last week Wednesday and though I guessed how the stories were woven together, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. There was one aspect that wasn’t fully resolved, but it wasn’t something that detracted from the story.

Book: I Found You

Author: Lisa Jewell

Rating: ★★★★★

Summary: ‘How long have you been sitting out here?’
‘I got here yesterday.’
‘Where did you come from?’
‘I have no idea.’

East Yorkshire: Single mum Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement she invites him in to her home.

Surrey: Twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Two women, twenty years of secrets and a man who can’t remember lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell’s brilliant new novel.

Quote: “Because deep down inside, she was scared. Scared of being alone, scared of being an outsider. Scared that she had all of her chances of happiness; and blown each and every one of them.”

*Story-lines. I really loved the three story-lines. It was interesting to read about the history of the characters and how it tied to the current mystery. I was also curious to see how Lily’s story fit in with Alice’s and the backstory.

*Characters. I really liked Alice. Her far-from-perfect life and the constant mistakes that she makes made her more down-to-earth and a loving person. I originally liked Lily, but as the story continued, I began to dislike her bossy and somewhat entitled attitude. ‘Frank’ was okay, and at the end, I felt so much for him.

*Plot. A man who has lost his memory, a woman whose husband has gone missing, and a tragic backstory that is uncovered slowly makes for a great plot. Though I guessed how everything fit together before the big reveal, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. The suspense was great, and the end was okay.

*Slow. It was a little slow, but I liked the tension.

Quote: “But when it is just me. Alone. With myself—there is no sunshine.”

*Legal Aspect. A person gets kidnapped/attempted murder in this book, and the kidnapper/failed murderer isn’t arrested or prosecuted. There’s no mention of a possible trial, or any charges and I find it very hard to believe that it was ignored. It irked me but it didn’t detract anything from the story.

Quote: “Do you see now why I know something bad has happened?”

In the end, I really enjoyed this, I would recommend it, and I hope you like it if you read it. The mystery was a little slow, and I guessed the big twist before it happened, but the slow revelation of what was really going on was amazing. This is one of my favorite reads of the year.

One sentence summary: An intriguing mystery with a slow build-up and a great, yet predictable, ending.

Overall, 5 stars!


Have you read I Found You? What did you think? Have you read any other books by Lisa Jewell? Let’s chat in the comments below!