A Very Large Expanse Of Sea by Tahereh MafiA Very Large Expanse Of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse Of Sea

byTahereh Mafi

Hardcover | October 16, 2018

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Longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature!

From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Shatter Me series comes a powerful, heartrending contemporary novel about fear, first love, and the devastating impact of prejudice.

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.

Tahereh Mafi was born in Connecticut and graduated from a liberal arts college in California. She is the author of the Shatter Me series.
Title:A Very Large Expanse Of SeaFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:320 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.05 inShipping dimensions:8.25 × 5.5 × 1.05 inPublished:October 16, 2018Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062866567

ISBN - 13:9780062866561


Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is the book I’ve been waiting for! Not only did this book tell a beautiful story, it captured the reality of living in a post 9/11 world as a Muslim so vividly. Mafi out did herself with this book, it’s funny and sad and beautiful and anger-inducing all rolled into one. I could not recommend this book highly enough if I tried.
Date published: 2019-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is the book I’ve been waiting for! Not only did this book tell a beautiful story, it captured the reality of living in a post 9/11 world as a Muslim so vividly. Mafi out did herself with this book, it’s funny and sad and beautiful and anger-inducing all rolled into one. I could not recommend this book highly enough if I tried.
Date published: 2019-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from THIS BOOK IS A WHOLE MOOD I LOVED IT!! That was so beautiful. It’s the kind of story i’ve been waiting for. I don’t think I have enough words to express how much I loved it!! I love Tehereh Mafi’s writing, it’s fast paced with an easy flow like poetry with complex, related characters. I literally got a headache from all the ugly sobbing I did and it solved the huge book slump I was suffering. I wish there was more. Especially more of Shirin and Ocean. This book had the most realistic description of a Muslim teenager I have seen!!
Date published: 2019-03-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great story I liked this story. I thought that 9/11 would play a bigger role in the story. The terrorist attack set the scene for the racism that Shirin experienced, but it wasn’t really part of the story. I liked that being Muslim wasn’t the only part of Shirin that was prominent in the story. Though people around her only saw her hijab when they looked at her, she was just like any girl. She liked music and she fell in love. She fought with her brother and didn’t agree with her parents. These aspects of her personality are universal, and didn’t have anything to do with her being Muslim. I loved the romance in the story. It was slow and apprehensive, but it was real. However, I didn’t like the ending. It was abrupt and it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I still liked the rest of the story. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2018-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Magical Piece of Literature THIS BOOK WAS REAL AND BEAUTIFUL AND BROUGHT TO LIVE RACISM AND BIGOTRY THROUGH THE SHARP EYES OF AN AMERICAN-MUSLIM TEENAGER AND HOLY GOD. I finished it DAYS AGO and I’m still reeling at the message, the beautiful characters, their stories and just all the HOPE that made A Very Large Expanse of Sea. Basically, I’m in love. Things I ADORED about this book: 1. It took me a little time to warm up to the characters in A Very Large Expanse of Sea. The beginning of the book itself was a little stiff, and I was scared that I wouldn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped. This was also my first book by Tahereh Mafi, and I was a little nervous about whether her contemporary writing would be as good as I’d heard her fantasy books were. 2. But, as what happens with all good books, I decided to read just a few more pages, and then, without thinking about it, I’d read a few more chapters and within half the day, I’d finished more that three quarters of this MARVELOUS book and I regret NOTHING. 3. There were so many beautiful things about this book (that cover included) but most of all, I loved Shirin, the main character. I see how some people might find her jaded, but to me, she was just real. I understood her through Tahereh’s writing, through her actions and I LOVED her strength, determination, and REASONING in wearing the hijab despite everything she went through. 4. I also LOVED Shirin and her brother, Navid’s relationship. WE DON’T SEE ENOUGH GOOD BROTHER-SISTER FRIENDSHIPS in YA, unless one of them is dead and the other mourning and Shirin and Navid were the ABSOLUTE BEST. 5. Ocean was probably the whole reason I found the book stiff in the beginning. I knew I would grow to love Shirin and Navid, but Ocean was just strange. He eventually became better, and I love that he was never influenced by ‘public opinion,’ and I ended up liking him too. A Very Large Expanse of Sea is a magical piece of literature, fictitious and yet, so real. Tahereh Mafi’s writing made me think and feel and this book has become one of my all-time favourites.
Date published: 2018-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant I loved reading this book! The story is refreshing and encompasses so much: identity, loneliness, growth as a person, social issues, young romance. Shirin is a young girl who is angry most of the time because of the way she is treated. As we read her story, we get inside the head of so many young women who cover their heads. They have the freedom to choose how to dress - and yet their choice is reviled. As I read about the experience of this young Muslim woman, I respected her and began to understand the choices she had made. What I love about this character, though, is that she grows and develops during the story. She learns to see others for who they are and, as a result, grows as a person.  This novel is honest. It forces you to see the experience of a Muslim teenager living in America. It encourages you to look at preconceptions - your own as well as those of others. A Very Large Expanse of Sea is a story I would recommend not only to teens, but also to older readers who are looking to understand the experience of young people from another culture living in a western society. 
Date published: 2018-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved everything about it! A Very Large Expanse of Sea is a breathtaking story about the post-9/11 life of a Muslim Hijabi teen. Shirin wants nothing more than to be invisible and just get through high school as fast as possible. After the 9/11 attacks, Shirin has had a hard time opening up to her classmates. There is nothing that makes her feel more uncomfortable than the piercing stares and rude questions from her classmates, but what finally did the trick is when two boys attacked her after school and tried to strangle her with her hijab. Now Shirin tries to fade into the background and has put up massive walls around herself, because its better to keep everyone out than to go through that pain again. But when her biology lab partner is determined to learn more about her and actually takes a interest, Shirin can't help but open up a little, and once those walls come down, it is much harder to build them back up. This story is so precious, I admire the author so much for writing this book because you can definitely tell it hit home for her, and you can see just how much of her soul she poured into this novel. Everything about this story seems so real, from the emotion, to the character development, and even the ending. Shirin is a wonderful main character. In the beginning of the novel you can tell how hurt she was from her past experiences, but she still had so much strength and determination to be the person that she wanted to be. I loved her from the beginning because she didn't try to be the typical high school girl that dressed and acted like everyone else to try and be friends with everyone, Shirin decided to take her own path and didn't lose out on who she really was. As the story progresses, Shirin goes through tons of character changes, both emotional and physical. As she gets closer to Ocean, she opens up more and more, and even though her brain is telling her not to keep opening up to him, her heart is telling her that its time to let someone in and actually feel love once more. Any girl that has been hurt in the past can definitely relate to Shirin's feelings and how hard it is for her to open up to Ocean. At the same time, Shirin joins the breakdancing team with her brother and her brother's friends to take her mind away from the constant pain of high school and actually do what she loves. Throughout the story, we also get to watch her grow as a dancer, as she masters more moves and becomes more confident with dancing, and her physical appearance. The pace of the story is absolutely perfect. The book is short enough to read in one or two sittings depending on how much time you have, but trust me when I say that you will not want to put the book down after starting it. I've been going through a bit of a reading slump, and was pleasantly surprised that I couldn't put this book down and ended up finishing it in a day, its just one of those books that's captivating and brings you joy when reading it, so it leaves you wanting more. I just wanted to talk about the ending quickly. While I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone, I will say that its not your typical happily ever after ending, but this made me like the ending even more. The ending is incredibly realistic, as was the rest of the story, and it fits so perfectly that the character got a happy ending, but not a happily ever after ending, because those are so rare in life and I think books just use them way too much. Overall, I absolutely loved this book from beginning to end. I loved the characters, the pace and the setting. Tahereh did such an amazing job with the writing, you can really feel the emotion and hard work she put into this novel. I will definitely be forcing my friends to read this novel. I finished it in one go because I could not put it down.
Date published: 2018-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must-Read Story for All I confess at first I wasn't sure A Very Large Expanse of Sea would be a book for me. It's not the type of book I would normally pick up but in the end I'm so glad I did. It's a story full of feels and ripe with meaning. A Very Large Expanse of Sea was profound and 100% unforgettable. I felt a mixture of emotions while reading it. It was jaw-dropping to hear all the racist remarks and learn of all the awful things people did/do without consideration. I don't think I've ever wanted to punch someone (the bullies) as much as when I was reading this particular story. I'm in awe of Shirin's strength. Despite how poorly people treated her she persevered. She may not have had the best attitude or the greatest reactions every time but she always held onto her sanity. No one could break her. Her energy was spent on what made her happy: music and break-dancing. I really enjoyed Shirin's interaction with her brother (and his friends). Even though they've grown apart he doesn't fail to look out for her. At all the important moments he's there to give her advices and even cover for her. It's the most wonderful sibling dynamic. I can't really comment on the cultural accuracy but her parents seem to be portrayed in an authentic light too. Shirin's relationship with Ocean was really beautiful. One of the best, most tortured romance I've read. She had on a hard shell but it was so sweet to see him slowly crack through it. I loved seeing the connection between Shirin and Ocean deepen. Their relationship was all at once intense and tender. Tahereh Mafi does a wonderful job at bringing out Shirin's thoughts and addressing the issues at hand. For example, Shirin's physical appearance was a big topic of discussion in A Very Large Expanse of Sea. "I dressed the way I did not because I was trying to be a nun, but because it felt good- and because it made me feel less vulnerable in general, like I wore a kind of armor every day." (ARC, p. 49). We are all different people with different preferences/tastes. No one person should judge and make another feel less and/or uncomfortable with how they dress. "Different women felt comfortable in different outfits." (ARC, p. 49). Amen to that! A Very Large Expanse of Sea is a must-read. It's a journey- delicate and tough, that every person should experience. I cannot stress how important and meaningful this book is. Read it. Please. *I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and not affected in any way.
Date published: 2018-10-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Tahereh Can Do No Wrong! A Very Large Expanse of Sea the story of a Muslim American teenager in 2002, just after 9/11. Shirin's character is loosely based on Tahereh's own teenage self and her book is a fictionalized autobiography, as Shirin also loves to breakdance and shares many experiences that the author suffered through in an America that became deathly afraid of terrorism and anyone that seemed "different." As a proud hajib-wearing Muslim teenager, Shirin's strength is so admirable and I found her character incredibly inspirational. She's a bit abrasive because she speaks her mind but she's also incredibly proud to be herself, even if being herself makes it harder for people to accept her as she is. I've read a few #ownvoices books this year and this one is the best one I've read. Although I'm not a Muslim American teenager, I feel like this book would have been really helpful to read in a post 9/11 world, not only for Muslim teenagers who experienced the world looking at them differently, but also for non-American teenagers to read and understand why so many of the racist assumptions about Muslim people are so, so wrong. It's always interesting to see an author depart from the type of writing that has made them famous. A Very Large Expanse of Sea is NOTHING like the Shatter Me trilogy, but in the best possible way. Tahereh has demonstrated that she can do no wrong when it comes to writing a brilliant story. Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2018-09-08

Editorial Reviews

“A masterfully constructed novel. The characters are beautifully developed and authentic. [Shirin’s] voice is fierce, funny, vulnerable, and honest. Mafi’s novel challenges readers to ponder their own beliefs, assumptions, and actions. And, also reminds us of the captivating bliss of first love.”