Claire L has reviewed A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi.
Shirin—a high schooler who practices Islam and wears a hijab—has moved schools once again. Her parents both had difficult lives growing up in Iran, so they have worked hard in America to give Shirin and her brother Navid a better childhood than they had. Shirin never had problems with other people until 9/11. But, Shirin learned to ignore everyone in order to protect herself. And, she plans on doing the same at this new school. To keep her school life interesting and more positive, Navid decides to start a breakdancing crew—a dream Shirin has shared with her brother forever.
I absolutely loved A Very Large Expanse of Sea. I am so impressed with Tahereh Mafi's writing because I would go from laughing out loud to crying in the matter of a few sentences. There was great dialogue; both charming, thoughtful, and difficult to read. But, the book felt balanced. Just when you would be getting really emotional over a hateful action that occurred, it would switch to something lighter (like a breakdancing moment). This book is powerful. It deals with prejudice and stereotypes towards religion and some of the impacts they can have on people. I have read books that made me sad, but this book really made me think and feel something. I felt empowered reading this book because Shirin is such a strong character (even though she had her worries). Because I enjoy Tahereh Mafi’s writing style, I suspected I would love this book. While A Very Large Expanse of Sea is a different genre from her Shatter Me series, it still features a strong female lead and Tahereh’s signature writing voice. I can definitely say that A Very Large Expanse of Sea is one of my new favorite books.
- Claire L