Thursday, January 31, 2019

REVIEW: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi - 4.5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 8:00 AM
Title: A Very Large Expanse of Sea
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: October 16th 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading Format: Owned Hardback

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi is an extremely powerful story about Shirin and her life as a Persian-Muslin a year after 9/11 happened. She has just started at a new High School and the reader gets to see just how bad Muslim Americans were treated as a result of that terrible day.

Shirin is a VERY powerful character. She is such an angry force to be reckoned with and she has every right to be angry. She is treated so horribly just because of how she dresses and her religion. But her angry behavior has negative effects too. Shirin has built such a huge wall around herself that when someone does finally want to be let in to get to know her she doesn't know how to truly do that. She is suspicious and weary and so confused and you can feel so much of that while reading.

Ocean is the person who wants to be let into Shirin's world. He is a beautiful, All-American, white boy but he seems genuinely interested in her. But his interest is about to cause some serious problems in his world. 

Shirin just wants to live her life, listen to her music, do her school work and breakdance with her brother and his friends. Is that seriously so much to ask? I really enjoyed this book for many reasons but one of the main reasons was I simply enjoyed the blast from the past. They were talking about AIM(AOL Instant Messenger) and original iPods. I even had to google when the first iPod even came out. 

Throughout reading the book I couldn't help but wonder what kind of person Shirin would have been if she wasn't targeted every day because of her race/religion. She was so defensive and angry in the book but she was also this extremely strong female lead that I love reading about. It was also weird to me seeing how she got the brunt of the hate whereas her brother seemed like a normal kid. I know it was because of her Hijab, that one representation of her religion caused people to act extremely out of character and it was so shocking getting to see that time period through her eyes.

While I was reading this book I kept remembering something that I read where the author said this book meant a lot to her and you could definitely feel the emotions coming off the page from how much of her heart the author put into the story. That's not to say her other books didn't spark emotions in me but this book was REAL. I think everyone should read this book so they can FEEL how horrible it was to be a Muslim in America after 9/11.

In the end, this book sparked a lot of emotions in me. I wish I could have reached through this book to hug Shirin and tell her that not everyone is a horrible bigot. Yes, 9/11 was a scary time but we became a scary nation when we started attacking people who LOOKED LIKE a group of people who harmed us. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

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