TITLE: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

AUTHOR: Tahereh Mafi

Rating: ★★★★★

PAGES: 320



GENRE(S): Contemporary

The publisher kindly sent me a physical copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi - The Contented ReaderIt’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.



A Very Large Expanse of Sea is a breathtaking, heartwarming book and I absolutely love it with my whole heart.

The characters. My goodness, I love each and every one of them. Shirin is strong and cautious. She’s defensive and in her own bubble to avoid the insensitive comments of those around her. I absolutely love watching her character develop throughout the book. She is consistently strong, but she grows stronger through each new realization and experience.

Ocean is just incredible. He demonstrates the good in the world. He highlights hope. His character is incredibly important and shows the characteristics more people need to have.

Obviously, Shirin’s brother Navid and their group of breakdancing friends need to be mentioned. They’re supportive and understanding. They add an element that is beneficial for Shirin.

I think this novel is incredibly timely. With the state of the world as it is, I think everyone could learn from this book. Tahereh Mafi’s writing is astonishing. She wows me with every word. I was completely and utterly consumed by this book and desperately want more.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea is loosely based on Tahereh Mafi’s life. She’s dreamed of this book for so long. It’s a beautiful book and I hope everyone loves it as much as I do!

I highly recommend A Very Large Expanse of Sea to EVERYONE. I sincerely think that everyone can learn something from this book. It’s time we stop judging and start learning. It’s time we get to know people for who they are and not judge them for their beliefs or opinions. This book definitely shows how important this is.

Something fluttered against my heart. I felt my armor begin to break.

Favourite Quote

About The Author

Tahereh Mafi Author Photo - The Contented Reader

Tahereh Mafi is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of books for children and young adults. She was born in a small city somewhere in Connecticut and currently resides in Southern California with her husband, fellow author Ransom Riggs.

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A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi - The Contented Reader

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Avid reader and tea drinker. I read and review young adult books on my blog, The Contented Reader!


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